When you wake up remembering vivid details of a dream, it’s enough to make you think. If in this dream, a friend who has passed on decides to show up, you hit snooze and close your eyes, willing yourself to drift back.
I hate that I learned about Sara’s passing through Facebook. That I let years go by without staying in better touch. How we both fueled our addictions for over a decade, and neither one of us stopped to actually talk about why. We knew the other was fucked up and had a story – but with every pill, chopped-up line and shot glass, we pacified our pain.
Last night’s dream was so real, it was like no time had passed.
Sara and I met just out of high school. We were in our early twenties and already veteran party-girls, which means our drug use kicked off before the ink on our high school diplomas could dry.
High school. Drugs? Not my kid!
As I’ve said before back in March, it’s pretty easy to fool mom and dad. Most parents don’t see what they don’t want to believe. I’m not saying your kid is gonna end up raiding your medicine cabinet or cut class to smoke a bowl, but statistically speaking – the odds aren’t pretty.
According to the US Government and Columbia University, 1 out of every 5 Teenagers in the US meet the medical criteria for Addiction. This means 1 out of every 5 Teens today is an addict.
If a Teen is lucky enough to be sent to rehab (1 out of 70) and they’re then sent to a regular high school, 90% of them relapse.
I had never heard of a sober high school back in my day, but can’t help but think about what a difference it would’ve made if Sara and I had that option.
I recently purchased a T-shirt to support a friend’s dream in opening up SLAM NYC (Sobriety, Learning and Motivation) a public sober high school in New York City (their first). I don’t have any kids, nor do I live back east (did I really just say “nor?”), but why wouldn’t I fork over some cash to help a sister build a school that will help save lives? I’ve spent more on Venti double lattes.
It’s a total side note that my friend is actress and author Kristen Johnston. If you don’t know her as “that chick from Sex and the City who fell out of the window”, or the recovering pill-popping lush (her words) who penned The New York Times best seller, GUTS, you’re familiar with her Emmy winning performances in 3rd Rock From The Sun. Then there’s Holly, the brazen beauty who cracks us up every week on TV Land’s The Exes.
But enough about the Famous Actress part of Kristen. Let’s get back to SLAM.
The reason I adore Kristen is not because she’s in the public eye for her celebrity – but rather, she’s making a name for her loud-mouthed self in the world of recovery and purpose. Going on seven years sober, she fights tooth and nail to stay on course and takes great pride and happiness (although not responsible for our recovery, as she so brilliantly states in this The Fix article) in helping others do the same. And she also knows how crucial it is to be there for teens, having seen first-hand how this drug epidemic is saturating our rehab programs.
Still think your child isn’t effected by drugs in their school? Hearing these questions from teens in this nine minute video may help wrap your mind around their world:
We all know what a thrill ride adolescence can be. Can you imagine adding addiction to the mix? Thanks to people like Kristen and SLAM, maybe a high schooler you know and love won’t have to.
Here’s the part where you think about pulling out your wallet, clicking this link and ordering a T-Shirt. It’ll be followed by the moment you do, followed by a wave of happy for knowing you helped make a difference.
On behalf of myself, Sara, Kristen, her SLAM family – and countless children who need our help, thank you.
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”