This I Believe

Casey - Rancho Mirage, California
Entered on January 8, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I ran my first red light at the age of 16. I only had had my license for 2 weeks, and can still remember my mom yelling “Casey Renee, get off that phone, you just ran a red light!” The call I had received informed me that an incredibly close friend had been sent away for alcohol abuse. He was no older than I, and had been my first friend after moving to Palm Desert, California four years prior. The fact that I watched him go through the slow descent into the horrible disease was just the beginning. I knew he was getting out of hand, but the fact that he was my best friend blurred my vision of right and wrong. Those 8 months without him were hard, and the fact that I blamed myself for part of his downfall, didn’t make anything easier.

Time went on. I got new friends and again witnessed them get into drugs. I constantly caught myself trying to figure out what people were using what. Watching movies, listening to music, even just hanging out with friends became about one thing, drug use.

I was curious, I can’t deny that. I wanted to feel all these new feelings and see all these new things. Here I was, hanging out with good friends; friends I respected, trusted, but were always high on something. I loved the people I surrounded myself with and learned to get over that fact that drugs were in, and that my friends knew that they were doing. I convinced myself that it was just a phase, like clothing styles, and lived with it. I put all the worried ways of thinking out of my mind and tried to have a good time. I tried to let them have a good time, disregarding that fact that I should tell them what they were doing was wrong.

As I slowly witnessed it become less of a phase and more of addiction, I realized that I was still doing nothing. Sure, I had been interested in drugs and had had a few experiences of my own, but I got over it until one of my very best friends got caught with drugs. He went through something I can’t even imagine going through.

I know now, I should have said something, done something. As I write this I still can’t determine exactly what it is that I would have, should have, done. We are all constantly learning how to handle these mini tragedies. One thing I can be certain of is, even if it meant losing them as friends, I should have stepped in. This is why I believe in tough love. I should have sacrificed being on their side, in favor of the right thing to do. It is what I would, upon reflection; want my ideal friend to have done for me. In this case and in others similar, the only love that is applicable is tough love.