Brian - wasilla, Alaska
Entered on April 1, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe people learn from their mistakes. Life lessons aren’t taught from books; they’re discovered on one’s own from trial and error.

The first twelve years of my life have been sheltered and influenced by my parents. I didn’t think on my own; I was guided and steered by their teachings of what they felt was right and wrong. And it worked, for a time at least. But then when I entered high school and became more independent, I realized I couldn’t live my life on their beliefs. I know what it sounds like; this is typical high school, teenage rebellion. And it is, but this is my own rebellion, and to me it’s much more than that. The biggest turning point from my immature adolescence was the first time I got caught drinking by my father.

It was my freshmen year, and I had just recently cut off all ties with my youth group. I was hot headed, and looking for trouble. My sudden cross over to what my friends saw as the dark side couldn’t go unseen. I could hear whispering behind my back; unfortunately, it was worse than I thought. Someone had slipped to a parent that I was getting into the drinking crowd, and suddenly it spread like wild fire through my old church. I could hear their accusations, that Cox boy is turning out just like his messed up older brother; it must be the parent’s fault. It wasn’t aimed just at me, but my parents as well; this I didn’t find out until after.

I came home from school like any other day. I walked up stairs to find my dad sitting on the couch. He looked very sullen; something was wrong. “What’s up dad,” I said, a little too cheerful. He didn’t look at me yet, just the carpet at his feet. “Brian,” he said, “I’m going to ask you once and I want the truth, no lies.” I had a feeling of what was coming. “Brian, have you been drinking?” He then looked up at me, and I will forever remember that it was not anger in his eyes, but tears. My father was crying. It took me by total surprise. Why is he sad? He should be furious. The lie I had ready melted away. I whispered a soft yes. It was out of my control.

The events that followed changed me dramatically. I found out that my drinking was not only hurting myself, but my parents too. They had suffered through betrayal with their first son and now their second as well. I had no idea it was like that. I learned from this experience that drinking at this age is immature, and irresponsible. I still believe that if I had not been drinking and heeded my father’s words, I would not be where I am today on my journey to becoming a man.