This I Believe

Toni - Whitinsville, Massachusetts
Entered on May 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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As a child I loved my parents and thought they could do no wrong. I always wanted to “hang out” with them and just have fun. As I grew up, I began to lose interest in them. I found my friends to be more fun, and wanted to spend my time with them. High school hit, and I realized they weren’t that bad but still enjoyed my friends more. I began to somewhat take advantage of them; I’d only want to hang out with my family when it was convenient for me.

I went through a very trying and difficult time my senior year of high school. I started hanging out with the “wrong crowd”. I strayed further and further away from my family and I kind of forgot about my real friends I’d had since 2nd grade. I stayed out late and partied a lot. My family began to talk to me about the changes they noticed in me, and I took their concern as wanting to ruin my fun. I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me what to do.

I continued in my rebellious ways. Then my grandfather died. This brought my world to a screeching halt. I felt the only way to deal with my problems were to turn to drugs. I began taking painkillers daily, before, during, and after school just to get through the day. I don’t think his passing was the only even to contribute to my problem, but it was definitely the majority of it.

The whole time I tried to hide my problem from my family; the sad thing is that they knew all along and wanted to help, but I refused to accept it. They would tell me they were worried about me, and thought I needed help. I would simply reply “I’m fine, leave me alone.” I even wanted to move out so I could “do what I wanted”. My life was quickly spiraling out of control; I didn’t ever go to school anymore or even get out of bed on some days. The only thing that mattered now were the drugs. All my dreams I’d had in my life and plans for college seemed pointless to me. Not going to school made it harder when I decided to apply to colleges, it showed I had a weak year which doesn’t look good at competitive schools.

Eventually my “friends” weren’t there for the emotion support I needed, the only people I had left to turn to was my family. But how could I? I had shut them out for so long. One night my mom heard me crying in my room and came in, I told her to leave, but she didn’t. She said “No, not this time.” She sat down and held me in her arms, told me everything was going to be okay and we would get through this together. I thought she was just telling me that to make me feel better, but she stuck by her word. I stopped doing drugs, started going to school again, started hanging out with my old friends again and started healing emotionally.

I believe that while “Other things may change us, but we start and end with family” – Anthony Brandt. Even after the hell that I put my family through they were there for me. They were willing to help me deal with all the trouble I’d single handedly gotten myself into, and I’m so grateful for that. It would have been so much easier for them to give up on me, but they didn’t. It certainly wasn’t easy but we did get through it in time.

At the end of the day, I feel all family is the only thing I have. My family saved my life, and if anything it brought us closer. Friends, High school, college, and work environments can all “change us” but when it comes down to it my family is always going to be my backbone. I believe family is all that truly matters to me.