Keep Your Eyes Ahead

Max - San Diego, California
Entered on April 20, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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It wasn’t too long ago when I was an absolute mess, heavily involved in drugs and alcohol at the age of thirteen, something that happened overnight in our move to Singapore. Before Singapore I was an innocent boy earning high marks from my teachers and parents, sheltered from the realties of a harsh world. The only place I would hear anything related to drugs or alcohol was on the TV and at the time it seemed like such a remote thing that would never lay its adulterating touch on me.

As a first generation US citizen, travelling and relocating happened about every two to three years in my family, so the move to Singapore was a familiar one. However, on the first day at the massive new school, I walked around the unfamiliar territory feeling physically, mentally and spiritually alone. Eventually, a group of kids approached me and became my first “friends”, and before long they invited me to go hang out with them. Little did I know that hanging out would consist less of great food and videogames but more of drinking and inhalants.

I was in a new world and I couldn’t get out, it was like quicksand, the more I struggled to get out, the deeper I delved into the horrid lifestyle. I progressively grew distant from my friends and family as I transformed into a different person. I drank because of pain and I was pained because I drank, a deadly cycle. My parents took extreme measures and made plans to immediately move back to San Diego and revert back to our lifestyle there.

But on the we planned to move back, I ran away. I ran because I was addicted to the lifestyle I had now found, not because I hated my parents. I hadn’t realized the pain that I caused my parents until I received a myriad of voice mails from my family, crying, begging for me to return.

“What happened?” I asked myself, “this isn’t me, who am I?” I went straight to the airport into the arms of my worried parents who actually called up a search team to find me. We went back on a silent flight to mend the relationships that I had destroyed.

Even after two years of struggle, my family forgave me, but it took me a while to forgive myself. For a while I lived in regret wishing I could go back and change everything. But there is no whiteout of time; I discovered every single experience made me who I am today and that i should regret nothing. I believe now that if you have the power to forgive yourself, you have the power to forgive anyone else, that there is always hope no matter how bad it seems. To this day I’m still improving and although I’m not perfect, I keep my grip firm on the steering wheel of my life, never looking back.