Too many times, students aren’t taught about uncomfortable topics until after they have already been exposed to the situation and find themselves struggling to figure things out on their own. In these situations, students frequently blame themselves and flounder under the pressure of a reality they don’t really understand.
In the best of situations, students find their way back from the dark with the help of friends, family, or religion. Though most students prefer avoid the situation all together, some are able to gain strength and share their trials with others to help someone else.
The name’s have been changed from the following two stories, but it is the hope of the students involved that others can benefit from the struggles they have experienced.
Logan was at a friend’s house when first introduced to pornography.
“When I was in elementary school, I was hanging out at one of my friend’s house and she showed me what she found on her brother’s computer,” Logan said. “At a young age we were introduced to something that was very harmful to our minds and personalities.”
Though this experience kept Logan away from pornography, the guilt of it remained and set up a series a struggles for the next few years until a chance encounter changed her perspective.
“I was at a convenience store with my aunt and this lady just started talking to us about personal issues,” Logan said. “I looked at her and said ‘there’s no condemnation in the name of Jesus Christ,’ and she looked back and said ‘well, if that works for you, that’s good, but that doesn’t work for me.’ In that moment I realized that I needed to put what I said to my own life and acknowledge the truth there.”
Logan decided at a youth camp to share her story and give her guilt to God.
“When you have guilt, it just follows you around and sits on your heart,” Logan said. “I really felt like Satan was piling it on me, and I didn’t know what to do until I allowed God to take the guilt away from me.”
Logan said she hopes people will be more careful about what is available for children to see on the internet and hopes that sharing this story will help accomplish that.
“If I could change any of the circumstances that happened, I would hope that others would be more guarded of what kids see,” Logan said. “I would hope that they acknowledge that kids are going to be curious so others have to be careful. What someone thinks is only affecting themselves could really be affecting other people.”
Logan said that guilt can control a person’s life and believes God helped her let go of her guilt.
“The guilt follows you around, but no matter what, there is a way out,” Logan said. “Jesus has provided a way through for everyone by dying on the cross and coming back to life. He is capable of conquering your guilt, and wants you to allow him to take that from you.”
“For years I struggled with drinking,” Parker said. “I had my first drink in the 8th grade on a dare. It was just a beer from my friend’s fridge and we thought it was gross, but we would sneak one out every now and then because we thought it was cool.”
Parker started going to parties in high school, mostly drinking beer with the occasional bottle of whiskey or rum if someone could get their hands on it.
“It got to the point where we would drink every weekend and even during the week sometimes,” Parker said. “We told ourselves we were just having fun, but looking back on it, I’m not sure any of us were in control any more.”
At the time Parker didn’t realize how the drinking was impacting school or his family. In the moment, everything just seemed to happen, but it never crossed his mind that the alcohol might be, at least partially, to blame.
“The more I drank, the more my grades dropped,” Parker said. “The more I drank, the more distant I became from my parents. I thought I hid the drinking pretty well, but one day my dad confronted me about it, and I got really angry.”
For Parker, it was a difficult moment that started the path back to who he really was.
“I said a lot of hateful things to my dad and ran out of the house,” Parker said. “It was the first time I thought I might have a problem.”
Parker tried to talk to some of his friends, but they blew off his concerns and suggested they go drink instead.
“What parents say about friends is true,” Parker said. “Your friends are important and they can help build you up or tear you down. Sometimes they don’t have your best interest at heart and sometimes they will just use you.”
Other people in Parker’s life were trying to get through to him and as he entered his senior year, some of his teachers still saw the potential he had.
“Teachers would try to talk to me to see how I was doing, but I kept shutting them down,” Parker said. “At the time, I felt like it was none of their business and that they were just being nosy. It wasn’t until later my senior year that I realized many of them truly cared and wanted to help.”
Parker started drinking just to have a good time and continued drinking to drown out the idea of graduation and college. He didn’t want to deal with that responsibility or take ownership of his lack of effort throughout high school, but with a semester to go, he recieved a wake-up call.
“Everything changed for me one night in December of my senior year,” Parker said. “One of my good friends who lived in Austin was involved in a wreck. We weren’t sure if she was going to make it or not, and alcohol was to blame.”
Parker’s friend had not been drinking, but the guy driving the car who hit her had been. The man blood alcohol level was 0.12 but he walked away from the wreck with barely a scratch, leaving Parker’s friend to recover in the hospital.
“I was more angry than I had ever been in my life,” Parker said. “I felt physically ill because I realized that could’ve been me behind that wheel. I had driven countless times after drinking and I knew I shouldn’t have.”
The girl did recover and was released from the hospital a few days later, but Parker had a long road ahead of him too. He wanted to get his life together; he wanted to change.
“I didn’t really know where to start,” Parker said. “So I swallowed my pride and talked to my parents. I gave them more details, but they already knew most of it anyway. Parents usually do.”
Parker still had a couple of months left of his senior year, and he made it his goal to make the most of that time.
“After the night of the wreck I never drank again,” Parker said. “I lost a lot of people I thought were my friends because of that, but I wasn’t really sad about it. I knew there was a limited amount of time left before graduation, and I wanted to change.”
Instead of skating by like he had done most of high school, Parker started actively working to improve his grades and make friends with people on a deeper level than the next six pack of beer would take them.
“I ended up graduating and going to a junior college,” Parker said. “I still don’t drink and I am still friends with the people I met the last semester of my senior year.”
Parker wants students to know that there is always a way out of whatever trouble they find themselves and that there are people there to help.
“It’s never too late to turn things around,” Parker said. “Most parents aren’t trying to just be nosy, they really do want what’s best for their kids and the friends you have should too. Students would also be surprised how much their teachers really do care about them.”
Even though Parker felt like he was alone sometimes, he said he realizes that that was just another hook alcohol used to keep him under it’s control.
“Never think you are alone,” Parker said. “No matter how much you feel like you are the only person going through something, there are people around that understand. You just have to have the courage to find them or listen to them if they are already there.”
Whether it’s the result of decisions a student has made or the decisions of others, both Logan and Parker stress the importance of talking to someone and knowing that you don’t have to go through problems are alone. Just because outside factors enter a student’s life doesn’t mean they have to be controlled by those factors.