Brandon R. — April 21, 2021

As I sit here in my cell and reflect on my teenage years, I think back to how weed was the norm in high school. I would literally smoke every single day, cut class to smoke, and miss family events to smoke. I quit things I loved doing to smoke a little bit of weed. I really didn’t care about myself or others around me, and honestly, I didn’t think I had a problem. Nobody admits they have a problem when they’re in that deep and I was tired of hearing it was a ‘gateway drug.’ I should have listened…

Once I got into dabbing THC, it led to acid, Molly, and eventually alcohol. Noting else mattered at that time. My days were consumed with getting messed up to pass the time and hide the pain.

Since the age of 14, I’ve been in and out of the legal system. Help was in front of me the entire time, but I was too distracted to reach out for it. By the time I was ready to change, it was too late, and no rehab facility, therapist, or doctor was going to get me to do it. I hurt a lot of people, physically and emotionally. I destroyed relationships with family members and friends because of my substance abuse. It all comes down to you WANTING TO CHANGE. My drug habits were so bad, I couldn’t control my emotions and ended up getting arrested over and over again until I was 21 years old. Then I went to prison.

For me personally, I had to hit rock bottom. It was the only thing that was going to save my life. It didn’t matter what my family and friends said. Either I was going to change, stay locked up, or even worse, 6 feet under.

What I’m trying to tell you is that people love and care about you, no matter how much you tell yourself otherwise. There is a positive outcome after all of this, but you have to be the one to make it HAPPEN. Don’t listen to the negative influences you’ve surrounded yourself with. Drop those ‘friends’ of yours. They don’t care. Let your loved ones help you. That is why they’re there. You don’t need THC or other substances to feel happy or relaxed. FACE your problems head on, because I promise you that you’ll be 1000% stronger when you get to the other side.

Being in prison is not cool. I’ve meet a lot of people here who are never going home, because of a split decision they made while out of control. You can end your life theoretically by doing something stupid while under the influence. You need to make a change before it’s too late, because this is real; I’ve lived it.

To the parents who may be reading this, I can understand how hard it might be to watch your child turn into something they’re not and have no idea how to help them or what to do. My best advice (and this is from what my parents did for me) is to seek professional help. If they need a rehab facility, take them. I think seeing a therapist regularly to help talk through some of the issues is very helpful. A mentor is also helpful, especially someone who has had similar experiences who can talk to your child honestly. My parents did all of this with me, and I can tell you from going through it, all of the support helped me become the man I am today.

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