Confessions of a Teenage Drug Addict > My continuing struggle to quit drugs


"I am very happy to hear that you have chosen to tell your parents! That is a big step. Now comes the HARD part! I am positive that your parents will help you and love you more than you thought and support you in your decision." - Daryl, USA


DATE: Wednesday 20th June 2001 (9 days later)

GOR: Are you angry with me?

QUESTION: No, I am not. Why do you think that?

GOR: You look angry.

QUESTION: I am not angry. I promised you, remember? You rang me and told me what you did. I am not allowed to be angry. Maybe I am a little disappointed but not angry.

GOR: Yes, so would I be.

QUESTION: Do you want to tell me what happened?

GOR: Two of my friends wanted to take some drugs. They hadn't taken it for a while and were trying to stop. They didn't go to the lessons in the afternoon. They stayed in the toilets smoking.

QUESTION: What about you?

GOR: No, I learned. After school finished, they asked me to go and buy drugs for them at that house I know. They have never been there before and the owners don't like strangers. I couldn't stop myself. I bought two pills for myself too.

QUESTION: You have just taken two pills?

GOR: (nods)

QUESTION: Where did you get the money from?

GOR: My pocket money for this week. The money I use for the bus and lunch.

QUESTION: Tell me what happened next.

GOR: As I was about to take it, my hands started to shake. I couldn't stop it. Then I felt better after.

QUESTION: Why did you take drugs again?

GOR: I really needed it last night but I couldn't get it. Then today my two friends were talking about it and I couldn't stop myself.

QUESTION: Did you regret doing it afterwards?

GOR: Yes.

QUESTION: How long after?

GOR: Not straight away. About an hour. That was when I telephoned you.

QUESTION: What happened to your girlfriend? I thought you walked around with her after school?

GOR: She went home first. I didn't want her to know.

QUESTION: What I am worried about is that you are doing this so young. If you keep taking the drugs now what will you do when you are 17 or 18? You know the way it usually works as we have talked about it before. You will be bored with this "baby stuff" and will be moving onto harder drugs. Don't say you won't because I know you will...

GOR: I know, I know. I won't say that now because I know it is true. I know I said I won't before.

QUESTION: So, what is going to happen next time? What is your plan?

GOR: I won't go and get it for them.

QUESTION: I know this is a difficult time for you. Can you tell me what kind of temptations you have around you?

GOR: If someone is taking drugs in front of me or if I go into the toilets at school and I can smell the drugs I am tempted. It makes me want to take it. If I only see the drugs I think I can stop myself. But if I see someone taking it at school then that is hard work.

QUESTION: Did you ever take drugs at school?

GOR: Yes, I used to. After school around the back where there are no teachers. We played football in the playground there. Sometimes I went into the toilets to smoke or take drugs. If I remember rightly, I took drugs there 3 or 4 times.

QUESTION: What was it like taking drugs at school? There was more of a risk for you.

GOR: It was exciting because I was doing something I was not allowed to do. I was with my friends, sharing something with them which made me happy. Sometimes, when I have taken drugs I can't sleep. It was a problem when I was alone. I was lonely. All I could do was read cartoon books all night. I really missed my friends during those times.

QUESTION: I thought you told me before that you often chatted through the night with your girls?

GOR: I am not spending so much time talking to my girls because I am with my friends a lot and doing drugs.

QUESTION: What about the temptations around you now? You are trying to stop drugs, what is making it hard for you?

GOR: My friends. Sometimes they ask me to get drugs for them. Then they ask me to take it with them. They don't know I want to stop. I didn't tell them.

QUESTION: Why? Do you think they won't understand you?

GOR: What I am thinking is that it is better not to say. Because if I say it and can't do it then it is going to be bad.

QUESTION: Are there a lot of your friends still taking drugs?

GOR: Yes, most of my friends are taking drugs. But a few of us that have been together for a long time have agreed to stop it. Like me and Ton. But I am not sure if he can stop it or not. He is not strong enough. I think maybe his reason for taking it is different. Maybe he is being sarcastic to something.

QUESTION: Sarcastic to who?

GOR: To his parents maybe. Ton's parents are good - very good. I would say that they are too good. They worry about Ton too much. In the past he can't even cross the road by himself. He can't even go home by himself. He has to do everything in their eyes. If I was him I wouldn't be happy. I won't like it. Also, they give him lots of things. I think they love him too much. What does that mean? He doesn't understand the value of money. Everything comes easy to him.

QUESTION: You are sounding a little jealous.

GOR: I am. In some parts. Like he can get everything he wants. But, I know you can't live like this all your life. Who knows if your parents are going to be there all the time. They might die tonight or tomorrow. Who knows that? I am nearly 16 now and I believe I must be able to live on my own. I don't really mean without them, but without their help as much as I can. I think I am luckier than Ton because my parents trust me. They let me do things I want.

QUESTION: You said that Ton's parents are stricter than yours and that your parents trust you. What else is different?

GOR: I think maybe they don't love me too much. About the right amount. I want to say that they are like my friends sometimes. They understand me. They weren't very angry when they first found out that I smoked. My mum wasn't. My dad didn't say anything he just kept quiet. I think maybe because he understood as he started smoking when he was younger than me. I remember my mum telling me that my dad was worse than me when he was my age. He tried everything including drugs. He was also fighting a lot and had bad grades.

QUESTION: Did you know that before you started taking drugs?

GOR: Yes.

QUESTION: Do you think that knowledge made a difference?

GOR: Maybe, I am not sure.

QUESTION: Do you think it will be easier for you to quit drugs than Ton?

GOR: Yes, I think so. He doesn't have any responsibility. I have more than him because I have been working on my web sites. But, I need to control myself more and concentrate on my work and not play.

QUESTION: But, you are a teenager, this is the time to play and have fun.

GOR: Yes, I know, but I am nearly 16 and I think it is time for me to grow up.

QUESTION: OK. Let's get back to drugs. What else can I or other people do to help you?

GOR: When I am with my friends other people can't help me. Only I can do that. What I can do is be strong. That is the only thing I can do. And, I will try and think about my parents, my work and my future. For sure if I am not strong enough I am going to take drugs. I think I can be strong.

QUESTION: What else around you can help you stop?

GOR: I saw the adverts on tv and in the newspaper. They sometimes have pictures of people crazy on drugs. They go around killing people and doing bad things.

QUESTION: Did you see that picture in the paper today of a man on drugs that was holding a woman hostage with a knife around her neck?

GOR: Yes. It makes me scared. Scared that I might be like him. I don't want to be like that. I think it is possible if I keep taking drugs. That is why I want to stop. Sometimes I watched the adverts with my family. I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed. If I become like that man in the newspaper what are my parents going to say?

QUESTION: Some of the new anti-drug adverts on tv use pop stars and the slogan "Just say no". What do you think about this advertising campaign?

GOR: I don't think it works that much but it is probably the only thing they can do. Maybe it only works with people who haven't started taking it. I agree with what I see on the adverts and think drugs are bad. But, when I am with friends and in that mood everything changes. We forget everything. I just concentrate on my friends.

QUESTION: So, if this advertising campaign isn't working for people like you on drugs now, what can they do different?

GOR: Maybe show the pictures of people who have gone crazy by using drugs. Show why it is not good and what could happen to you. Say to them, if it is possible, don't even try. Some people who try it and don't like it then that is OK. The people like me who try with their friends and have fun with them, that is not OK.

QUESTION: All right, let's move on to what your school is doing to stop students taking drugs. What exactly have they done so far and is it working?

GOR: There aren't usually posters around the school about drugs. If they put posters up on the boards they just do it for one or two days on special days like World No Smoking Day. Sometimes, a student group at school called "Friends for Friends" do an anti-drug campaign.

QUESTION: Does that work?

GOR: Yes, it made me stop and think because they used a lot of pictures. For example, pictures of people who are very thin and lying on the floor with drugs all around them. It makes me wonder if I am going to be like that in the future. I thought about it a lot when I was looking at the pictures. Just then. But then, when I was with my friends I forgot all about it.

QUESTION: What about your lessons? Do the teachers teach you the dangers of drugs?

GOR: Yes, there is a subject where we learn that stuff. But only one or two lessons a year. I don't really agree with the way they do it. Every teacher always say that drugs are bad but they don't say in what way. They just say it is bad don't try it. If you just say it like that then teenagers won't understand it. You know what teenagers are like. If their teacher says don't try it, is bad, the teenagers are going to want to know why. So they try it. Also, some will just do it because their teachers don't want them to. I think they should explain it clearer.

QUESTION: What about visual aids during the lessons? What do the teachers use to get their message across?

GOR: They don't really show us anything. Just a few pictures in the book.

QUESTION: Between the teachers and the student group, who do you think are doing a better job?

GOR: The student group for sure. Because they do more. They sometimes talk in front of assembly and they also have a big noticeboard where they put up a lot of pictures about drugs. They are also teenagers like me so I think they understand my problems more. I can't find many adults that understand teenagers. Most of them don't understand teenagers.

QUESTION: OK, one last question. You are in a responsible position here being the editor of a web magazine. You have quite a few teenagers visiting your web site from abroad. Some of them might be thinking about taking drugs or are taking drugs now. Do you have any plans to help them too?

GOR: I can't do that while I am still taking drugs. I have got to quit it first. Drugs is a world problem. I think the lessons I have learned myself and the experiences I have been through will help other people in other countries. If I can quit so can they. But, I must quite first before I can tell other people not to do drugs.

DATE: Sunday 24th June 2001 (4 days later)

QUESTION: Were you going to tell me if I didn't ask?

GOR: Yes, of course.

QUESTION: What happened?

GOR: A friend of mine had a party. I went to his house on Saturday and slept there the night. One of my friends had a problem. He had an argument with his mother on Thursday night and ran away from home. He is now sleeping at my friend's house. He asked me if I could go and buy drugs for him. I said yes.

QUESTION: I thought you said you wouldn't do that again?

GOR: This was different. A friend of mine was in trouble.

QUESTION: OK. What happened next?

GOR: Can't you guess? I bought two pills for myself.

QUESTION: What about later?

GOR: During that day and Sunday, my friends kept taking drugs. I didn't always do it with them. I read my cartoon book or went outside to smoke a cigarette. But sometimes when I smelt it or they asked me to take it with them I couldn't stop myself.

QUESTION: How many times did you take drugs?

GOR: About 6 or 7 times.

QUESTION: You told me before I can't be angry but I should remind you about your mother and what will she think if she found out?

GOR: She knows already. I told her on Friday night after I went back home. I had a little problem at school. My homeroom teacher found cigarettes in my pocket. She told me that I had to get my mother to ring her. So, when I told my mum in the evening I decided to also tell her about taking drugs.

QUESTION: How did she react?

GOR: She didn't look surprised. I think she and my father had guessed for a long time. But, she asked me how long had I been doing it. I said since the summer holidays. She said that she had seen a change in me. She told me that she wanted me to stop and that if I couldn't she wanted me to tell her and then she would take me to the drug clinic.

QUESTION: Does this change things now?

GOR: Yes a lot. I feel much better. I didn't like lying to my mother and doing things in secret behind her back. It is like a big weight is off my shoulders.

QUESTION: But, will it change your decision to quit taking drugs?

GOR: For some people maybe. They might carry on taking drugs. But, for me I am still going to quit drugs.

QUESTION: What about your father? Have you seen him yet?

GOR: No. I am not looking forward to that.

QUESTION: Do you think he will be angry?

GOR: Maybe, I am not sure. I am hoping it will be better because I was honest with them. I was the one that told my mum I am taking drugs.

QUESTION: OK. Your plan for quitting drugs is not going smoothly. We both knew it wasn't going to be easy for you, but what can you do now to stop? You said before that you would concentrate more on work and spend less time with your friends.

GOR: I can't stop being with my friends.

QUESTION: Yes, I know. That is why I won't tell you to stop seeing them. But, I can't see how you can stop if your friends continue to take drugs. Drugs will always be around you. What can you do?

GOR: I will try and be stronger. If my friends ask me to buy drugs for them or take it with them I will say no. If they are taking it in the same room as me I will try and do something else. Let's see.

QUESTION: Can we try and set a realistic deadline for you stopping drugs? I can see this going on and on. You said that your mum will take you to a drug rehabilitation center if you can't quit by yourself. For how much longer will you try to stop before asking for help?

GOR: I will try and stop before my mid-term exams on 18th July. That is in about 3 weeks time.

QUESTION: OK. I wish you luck. If anyone can do it, you can.

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