This I Believe

Kristi - Taylor, Pennsylvania
Entered on January 23, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: addiction

I believe in saying no to drugs. I will explain, as a first hand witness what drugs can do to a person, their family, and environment. As an adolescent, my sister Ashlee, only one year older than I, became addicted to drugs. Before her addiction, she was a sweet innocent child. We always had fun together. She was my best friend. After she met a boy, she began to be mean to me. Our fun ended. I thought it was because she was maturing fast, as did my mother and the rest of the family. Later discovered, she was doing drugs and not going to school.

Ashlee was a fun-loving teen, who brightened up the grayest of days. She was the rainbow after the spring rain shower. However, when she turned fourteen we noticed a change in her attitude. Though her new boyfriend seemed like a nice kid at first, my opinion quickly changed. He was the jerk who got my sister addicted to marijuana. She wasn’t the sister she was before. She would come home late at night yelling at me to turn the night light off. She would argue with my mother over silly things like what she wanted for dinner. Her school performance weakened. She missed more and more days of school. After months of her constant absence the school took her to truancy court. The consigned her to foster care.

Ashlee’s absence from our bedroom at night really hurt. I realized how much I loved her and regretted many of the things I said to her. Mother and I knew she was getting help for her problem, but it was excruciating to see her empty chair at the dinner table. Our family was torn apart. The addiction took my sister and now it was taking our family over. Mommy and I tried to stop it, but as the days without her went by the pain grew and grew. Mother began to change. She smoked a pack of cigarettes a day to ease her nerves, not realizing that was making everything worse. Every night I would pray she was alright. She wasn’t allowed to have any contact with us for 2 months after she was taken into custody. My mother blamed herself. She believed she didn’t show Ashlee as much love as she should have. I thought it was my fault, since I was mean to her at times.

Ashlee’s addiction destroyed herself , our family, and her friends. Before the addiction she had many friends who loved her for who she was and not what she did. After she became addicted, her good friends no longer visited. Mother and I thought it was because she had a boyfriend and her friends didn’t like him. What mother wants to think her daughter was doing drugs? One friend that stopped coming around was Lindsey. I talked to Lindsey occasionally throughout Ashlee’s crises and she admitted her depression. She told me without Ashlee to talk to her life is falling apart.

Now Ashlee is a healthy drug free 18 year old. On her way to getting her GED and going off to a community college for a major in Criminal Justice. She has the occasional cravings for her previous addiction, but she will never do that to herself, friends or family again. We do not go a day without telling each other “I love you“. We plan on keeping it that way forever.