Part 2: A Local Kid’s Story – The Consequences of Drug Use are Real

Posted by Chris Schinke, With 0 Comments, Category: Blog, Recovery, Tags: , , , ,

forgiveness-and-consequences-300x204This is the second post in a series – a firsthand account from a local high school student who began a journey with drugs and alcohol never thinking the man behind bars could be him. The author Alex and he shared his personal journey with Robby’s Voice. Often getting caught feels like the worst thing in the world, but it can bring acceptance and change.  We ended the first post when Alex was arrested. Here is more of his story.

What was it like going to court?

It was very intimidating going to court for the first time. The whole time that I was there I felt like I really didn’t belong. Being an 18-year-old who thought of himself as being a pretty good kid, I was not in my element. The thing that I didn’t really comprehend at the time was that I did belong exactly where I was in juvenile court. I broke the law. I broke the law many times actually, I just happened to finally get caught. Court was a very intimidating experience walking into a massive yellow building, which has a juvenile detention center that is connected to the back.

When I first laid eyes on the barb-wired fences, the severity of my offense really hit me.  I thought to myself, “I could end up behind those fences and all of the barb-wire. I would be a convict.” The thought of that happening to me made me shake with nervousness as I walked into the juvenile court building for the first time. The thing that made me most upset about the whole ordeal is that both of my parents had to be there with me. I had already let them down. Now they had to both take time off of work to sit in a courtroom as a judge read the charges that were against me. I had no idea what to expect court to be like, but when you are in that room, the focus is exclusively on you. No one in that courtroom knew the content of my character, with the exception to my parents and attorney. They only knew me based off of the paper that included all of my charges. I was guilty. I had an uphill battle to try to prevent me from ending up in detention. It was terrifying to say the least. I put myself in that situation, now I had to work hard to make sure that I never ended up in front of a judge again.

As I understand it, you didn’t adhere to the program first time. Why?

I wish I could explain why I didn’t adhere to the program the first time because things would be so much easier for me. I was given a second chance by the Diversion Program. The outline of the program was that I needed to pass random drug screenings for a full year, attend three Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and provide a summary on each meeting that I attended. I would technically have been on probation for a year, but my record would be completely clean at the time of completion of this program. Again, I found myself unable to abide by the guidelines set forth by the law.  I was terminated from the Diversion Program when I failed a random drug screening in January of 2014. I don’t know what it was that prompted me to continue smoking marijuana, but I suffered the consequences, yet again.

Maybe I just didn’t take my punishment seriously. I recall thinking that if I smoked for 2 weeks after I took a drug test, which would give me enough time in between drug tests to get clean. I was sadly mistaken. I guess I thought I could squeak by. The first time that I had to go to court, it was actually at city hall in North Olmsted. I had been there many times before for random things so I don’t think that it struck a chord with me as much as it should have. I also didn’t fully realize the gravity of the situation I was in. I didn’t really think of how detrimental the charges were against me to my future. It wasn’t until I read the letter from the director of the Diversion Program for North Olmsted that I realized I had dug myself an even deeper hole. They say that two wrongs don’t make a right, but that is exactly the situation  I am in. They also say that there are no second chances, but I am lucky enough to have a second chance through my own hard work and the hard work of my attorney.

How do you feel knowing that at your age, you have a lawyer and a court record?

I am absolutely disappointed in myself that at the moment, I have an attorney that is fighting for me so that I don’t end up in detention or jail at 19 years old. It is also very depressing to think that I already have a court record. The whole purpose that I am going to college is to get a good education so that I can find a good-paying job after I get my degree. Having a court record may be the difference in whether or not I get a job in the future. That may be the deciding factor between myself and another candidate that is trying to get the same job as me. This scares me to the point where I want to do everything in my power to get all of the charges against me thrown out.

It is unfortunate that I am in this situation but in the end I have to realize that I put myself here. Another feeling that I get when I think of the fact that I have a court record is of extreme discouragement. Sometimes I feel like I want to give up and that I won’t complete everything I need to do for the court, but then a little voice in my head tells me, “Imagine how you will feel once this is all over?” The thought that I still have the opportunity to abolish all of the charges against me so that I can focus on school and hockey entirely keeps me motivated every day.

In the next post, we’ll learn more about how Alex thinks about his future today and what it meant to do service with Robby’s Voice. There’s a lot to learn here from Alex. I hope he knows how much his experience can, and is helping others.

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Part 1: A Local Kid’s Story – Getting Caught

Posted by Robby's Voice, With 0 Comments, Category: Blog, Recovery, Tags: , , , ,

policeThis is the first post in a series. The author is a young man,  Alex, who shared his personal journey with Robby’s Voice. Our organization worked with Alex as part of his court ordered community service after his arrest for possession of drugs and alcohol.  Parts have been edited for brevity and clarification but the words are his and the message will resonate for many parents and teens.

1.      How did you get into this situation?

I made a few very poor decisions over the past couple years including frequent marijuana and alcohol use during my high school career. This is how I got caught. I started my day just like every other kid in high school who was excited for prom. Texting my friends back and fourth, talking about how much fun we were going to have at prom and camping the day after. I was excited to get dressed up to spend a fun night with my friends that would be filled with laughs and sadly, marijuana.

Things started rolling around 5pm or so when my friends and our respective dates took the usual pictures that our parents would cherish for years to come. After that boring affair, all of us car-pooled to the dance, which was at La Centre. Prom went smoothly and it was a good time, but I constantly kept asking myself what else I could do to make my night more fun. After prom, my date and I drove to our houses so that we could change into more comfortable clothes for after prom. On our way to after prom, I decided that I would make a stop at a kid’s house to pick up some marijuana. Once in my possession, I had this great idea that I should smoke in my car before going to after-prom. I did and so I went into after prom totally incapacitated. I felt guilty, but I needed to get my fix.

The worst part about me being high at after prom was that I had to talk to both of my parents. They were working the event and dedicated countless hours of time setting it up for my us. After the event was over, I drove my date home to her house. On my way home, I was pulled over about five minutes away from my house. The officer that pulled me over searched my car and found alcohol and marijuana that I was planning on using the next day at camping. Sitting in the back of the cop car, I knew that my life was going to change drastically. I never thought I would get caught.

2.      What were you thinking about when you were making the choices you made?

I honestly  wasn’t thinking about the consequences. All I was thinking about was how to obtain and use marijuana and alcohol again. Being a kid that was 17 years old at the time, I really thought I was invincible. I mean I heard stories of how classmates of mine had run into trouble with the law, but I really never thought I would end up in a situation just like theirs. Now that I look back at the things that I was doing, it amazes me that I didn’t get caught earlier. I mean there were times when I was 15 years old that I would sneak out of my house late at night so that I could just go smoke with my friends. I must have had a great judge of character at the time because those “friends” were not really friends of mine in any aspect. The friends that I have now would never even put me in the position in which my actions could have a substantially negative effect on my future. I really wish that when I made those poor decisions, I had at least some conscious thought in the back of my head that I was not only putting myself in a detrimental position, but I was putting my family in one as well.

Truthfully, I cannot express in words what I was thinking at the time. When I look back at who I was then, I don’t even know where to begin explaining my actions or thought process. Who knows where I would be today if I didn’t get caught. That is what scares me so much. I guess, in a way, getting caught woke me up. It made me realize the opportunities I had before me, and how I could potentially throw all of them away by doing something so drastically stupid. In conclusion, I wasn’t thinking. That is the saddest part about who I was back then. I flew by the seat of my pants, and that is no way for a naïve, 17-year-old kid, to live his life.

3.      What were your feelings when the police stopped you?

The exact moment when I got pulled over, I knew that I was in trouble, even before the officer found anything in my car. I knew that I was guilty and that I had finally got in trouble. I was very cooperative with the police officer who pulled me over because like I said, I knew I was guilty, and there was no way I was getting out of it. There were many feeling that rushed into me when I got pulled over. The first thing that I felt when I looked behind me and saw the officer flick on his lights was immense fear. When you know you are guilty of something and a police officer stops you, any other feeling of fear cannot mirror the feeling that you have, flowing through your body. I would rather ride all of the roller coasters at Cedar Point, without wearing a seatbelt, than get pulled over by police officer if that puts how I felt into context.

After I admitted that I did indeed have marijuana and alcohol in my vehicle at the time, at this point I felt just completely empty inside. I had no idea what to expect would happen next and my feelings of fear were soon accompanied by instant regret. I regretted everything that I had done that night, as well as what I did the previous couple years of my life. I was totally upset. I thought about my parents. I thought about how disappointed they were going to be in me. It was about 4am in the morning and I had to call my mom and wake her up to tell her that a police officer was escorting me home. I can’t even imagine the feelings that were rushing through her body at the time. I was incredibly scared and very disappointed in myself when I had to sit in the back of a cop car for the first time in my life. It was a place I never thought that I would be. I felt some things that I never felt before in the back of that cop car. I didn’t cry. I didn’t curse the cop for pulling me over. I just simply sat there. Lost in my own thoughts. It was the lowest point in my life by far and I was completely empty.

After getting home that night, I laid in my bed. I was still in shock, but I also realized what had just happened. The only positive thought that I had that night, was that I could now start my road to recovery. I was at my lowest point and the only direction to go was up. I was nervous and terrified at what to expect, but I also, for some reason, knew that I would never feel like this again and I made that my goal for the rest of my life on that early morning, at that instant in time.

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Finding Courage and Strength Despite Difficulties

Posted by Anne Browning, With 0 Comments, Category: Blog, Tags:


Strength and courage; I am not sure who needs them more, the addict or the family?

This week is the annual ESPN V-foundation cancer fund raiser. The V-foundation was stated by basketball Coach Jim Valvano, a vivacious, charismatic college coach who passed away from cancer 21 years ago. Coach V gave a very stirring speech at an event just two months prior to his death, when he proclaimed “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

ESPN commentator Stuart Scott received an award at the ESPY’S for his courage in his personal battle against cancer. Scott also spoke about the importance of never giving up, and his personal WHY. He spoke about the difference each of us can make through small gestures and human compassion. He spoke about understanding what is truly important in life.

As I listened to the words of these men this week, I drew great strength as well as inspiration from the resiliency they displayed. Their words touch the heart of those who heard them. These men offer me the faith to know that victory will be ours as long as we continue to fight together.

Their words may be focused on the disease we call cancer, but the message is one that both addicts and families should take to heart. Take a moment and listen to each of these men speak today. Their words may help you take the next step tomorrow. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up!

Stuart Scott

Jimmy Valvano

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