In my last post, I wrote about acceptance and how a father’s absence leaves a void and a yearning for acceptance that can never truly be filled except by God’s presence. What’s unfortunate is that unless a child has a consistent base of support and spiritual encouragement, they are destined to fill the void with whatever they can. The usual goto items are drugs, alcohol, gangs and sex/relationships. By the end of my 8th grade year I was trying to fill the void with all of the above.
From 7th grade to 8th grade I made friends with the rebellious anti-authoritarian crowd. Back then we were called “bangers” because we listened to “head-banger” music. It was with in this group of friends that I had my first cigarette, joint and alcoholic beverage. Very quickly all three became a regular habit.
I had a ton of freedom to run around without restraint since my Mom, who was a functioning alcoholic, was either working or hanging out with the neighbors. Even when my Stepdad was around He was always away on a job. This freedom allowed me to pretty much get into as much trouble as possible.
Mid-way through 8th grade, my Mom sobered up and decided that my current circle of friends were bad influences on me and told me I could not hang around them anymore. I didn’t like that but could not fight it so I started hanging out with some kids from the neighborhood. Though this group would soon become family to me, they were far from being a better influence.
Between 8th and 9th grade I learned the value of respect earned and looking out for your “family”. Simply put, fighting and guns. In under a year my persona changed and I learned that in order to feel accepted I had to be who everyone else wanted me to be. The pain and suffering that I felt both from my past and now denying my inner character was numbed with the use of drugs. By the end of 9th grade my drug repertoire included weed, all pharmaceuticals, acid and ecstasy. We were also selling large quantities of them due to some key relationships that I will not reveal in this public forum.
My life had become engrossed with the buying, selling and using of drugs. With that parties, sex and fighting were weekly events. My searching for acceptance slowly dwindled as I felt the power and respect that came with being apart of this “family”. I was felt 10 feet tall and bullet-proof. Nothing and no one could ever hurt me again, because I was the one doing the hurting now.
If you are a parent who has a child walking this same path, don’t loose hope! It may be a long road for your child, but faith and prayer can cover your child as they walk down this road. You just have to be consistent and present no matter what happens.
If you are currently walking this path, now is the best time to get off of it! The testimony to follow only goes downhill from here. This is the peak of which the “good” feelings end. It’s in these early stages that the Devil tempts you with glory, fame and fortune. He waves it in front of you drawing you in with promises to heal the pain and fill the emptiness inside. As you will see these are lies. Though you may achieve great wealth and respect. It is never enough and it only leaves you empty and without hope. You have a choice, what you choose is no one’s fault but yours.