Each person experiences their life within the “context” of the events that are occurring around it. What this means is that things that are happening and what others are saying and doing when a situation or interaction takes place shape how a person will experience the event. Given this, each of us carries our own individualized “trauma” inside us as well as our own unique approach to coping with it. While some may meet distressing experiences head on and use them to try to change our futures, others may have difficulties moving beyond events that have left an emotional mark on us. When we haven’t had an opportunity to work through the event fully, we may carry it with us and turn to substances to numb the discomfort that was left behind.
Some adolescents turn to substance use for fun, to be part of the crowd, or to relax. At first we may have things under control, but with repetitive use, the substance begins to take on a life of its own. At some point, we realize that we have a problem, but by then, stopping can be very difficult. Not only do we “crave” our substance, but we’ve also likely built our social and leisure lives around it as substance, friends, and fun become intertwined and start to dominate our worlds. While high school and the years beyond can certainly be the times of our lives, they can also become a point of no return when we don’t know how to value ourselves and live life on life’s terms. Substance abuse counseling can help you navigate this difficult terrain as you take the journey one step at a time.