This 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.