I believe in second chances. I believe in having one more try. I believe in not giving up, no matter what happens.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine was a little lost. She was hanging around the wrong people, doing what she wasn’t supposed to. On occasion she would get drunk. She would even smoke sometimes. She even took pot once. She was slowly going in a downward spiral, and it hurt me to watch. I had to do something. I progressively got closer and closer to her, came to like her, and we began dating. Yet she was still going around with the same crowd and doing the same things. All of a sudden she broke up with me, saying that she wasn’t ready for a relationship just yet. Soon after, she had the brilliant idea of sneaking out of her house to see a friend in the middle of the night while she was grounded. I talked to her on the phone before she went and she told me she had done this before, but this time was different. This time she was anxious, worried about getting caught. I told her to stay home, play it safe. She went anyway. On her midnight drive she backed into a pole, and barely got her friend to wake up. When she came home, her parents were waiting. They had heard her going out, and she was grounded for longer. It was this little adventure that made her realize how she was acting. She was tired of disappointing her parents, and decided to change. And she was ready for a relationship. Soon after we got back together, and now she stays away from that crowd, and won’t even go near cigarettes or alcohol.
Life gave her a second chance, and she reformed herself and took that chance. She tells me now that if I hadn’t been there for her, she’d still be where she was, maybe even lower. It makes me feel good to know that I was a good influence on her, and I’m proud of her for picking herself up. But it makes me wonder about all the other people out there who have the same problem she had. People who take substances like alcohol or tobacco just to cope with what’s going on in their lives. They’re the ones who say, “It won’t happen to me!” and before you know it they’re in a car crash because of substance abuse. These people are like this because other people give up on them. When they don’t have a shoulder to cry on, they’ll cry in a rum bottle. My girlfriend was able to come out of her spiral because I didn’t give up on her. If there were others out there who didn’t give up on those people who need help, maybe there would be less D.U.I. around the country. All they need is a little TLC, and the occasional midnight adventure.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.