Since about the age of about thirteen, I have been different than most kids. While most kids were playing with toys, I was smoking and breaking the law.
By the time I was in high school, I had done just about every drug that you can think of and had committed countless felonies. I did not care about school. I hardly ever went. And I did go, it was only to sell or buy drugs.
By the age of seventeen, I had gone to jail over five times. Most people had just given up on me. They looked at me as a failure and a criminal. They were right. I was a failure because I just did not care about anything but getting high. I did not care who I hurt as long as I got my way.
I guess seeing others in pain helped me feel better about my horrible life. I started using drugs to be happy. So why was I so sad? I had drugs but yet I still cried at night. I think this is because I knew that no one really cared.
I had friends, but they were only around when the drugs were around. The people who really cared about me had given up on me. I was almost eighteen when I hit the lowest point of my life. I was sitting in the jail cell for the sixth time. I knew that if I kept living this way, I would end spending my whole life here.
For some reason, this time something was really different. I really felt bad this time not because I was in jail but because something changed in me. My conscience. For some reason, I felt really guilty for what I did. Every wrong I had ever done was being thrown in my face, and it hurt. After spending a little time in jail, I got out and this time I knew things were going to be different. I am going to do the right thing all the time, not just when people are watching. And I am going to do the right thing because it is the right thing, not because I will get in trouble if I do not do the right thing.
I am starting to like the new me. I am almost always happy. And I do not need drugs to feel good about myself. I do great in school and will even be on the honor roll this year. My teachers actually like having me in class. Most of the people, who truly care about me, have forgiven me. They now even think that I have a good chance of being successful. I made a big change in my life, and I now think that everyone has the ability to change. They just have to believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.