This I Believe

Victor - Los Angeles, California
Entered on June 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, hope, setbacks
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I believe that a person changes only if they themselves want to change. My brother Leonardo has had many issues since he was 12 years old. For 6 years he was in and out of placement, juvenile hall, and boot camp. That whole experience made him turn to drugs, marijuana being his drug of choice. He became an addict that just couldn’t go one day without rolling up a joint and smoking it. This didn’t affect only him but it also had huge effects on our family. Without weed, he would always be mad, always try to start problems with me and always get in arguments with my mother. The solution was just to encourage him seek help so he could just drop drugs altogether and learn to live without it. My mother and I tried getting him help and we were able to but he just did not want help, he wanted to keep on smoking. He was only going to stop when he wanted to, and he wasn’t ready to do so yet. At one point he did try to quit on his own. What I noticed during this time was that he couldn’t sleep and when he did he would talk to himself. He was really fighting, and without drugs, I was able to tell he was going crazy inside. His rage grew when he was sober. After a week, he went back to drugs because he could not resist anymore. Another year passed and something unexplainable came over him and he tried again. He stopped smoking even though one could tell it was killing him inside. The difference now from back then is that this time he wanted to stop for himself and not for others. Through my experience with my brother I’ve learned that a person will only change if they themselves want to change. One of my best friends was messing up his life by being a full time tagger, doing drugs and failing almost all his classes. I didn’t try to change him because I learned from my brother’s experience. I knew he wasn’t going to change because he didn’t want to. I instead just watched as time went by. To me this was a life lesson because I know that in the future I will meet people that I wish I could change. What is great though is that now I know that I cannot change them unless they themselves want to change.