Teenage Wasteland

Two days ago I sat in the corner of Starbucks for an attempted writing session.  Sometimes I wish this town had a coffee shop less like to a fast food joint; one without lines to the door and one with tables arranged further than half an arms length apart, but, I’m willing to accept what I cannot change here.

Usually I have ear buds in place to muffle the sounds of people and espresso machines, alas, I had for forgotten them far, far away three miles down the road.  So when two kids sat next to me and started talking, it was hard for my pseudo-ADD brain to avoid overhearing. 

They were both girls and pure teenager in everyway.  I don’t know how else to describe–it was like jumping into a “seventeen” magazine; only they were probably 13.   As they discussed the upcoming weekend (both talking and texting furiously at the same time) a dark cloud of “holy shit” hit me: these kids were probably drinking already…. it’s the same age as when I started.

Suddenly I saw myself with braces, wasted.  Taking bong rips.  Stealing alcohol from parents’ cabinets.  Raiding unlocked garages in town for beer.  It honestly made me sick to think about.

The face of the10-year-old girl I babysit popped into my head, and my stomach turned at the notion that in just three tiny years she could be damaging her not yet developed prefrontal cortex; just as I had, and just as these girls next to me were.  Part of me wanted to stash the kids’ backpacks with AA pamphlets, and then call their parents, but then what?  What can you tell kids as an “adult” that will make them listen?  

Also, if an addict is born an addict, and an alcoholic is born an alcoholic, then are preventative measures pointless?

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One thought on “Teenage Wasteland

  1. Amina C says:

    I wonder the same thing all the time. When I look at my two and a half year old son spinning in circles, I wonder if he is going to be an alcoholic like me. I don’t think a path to alcoholism can be stopped but I think education is so important. When my son gets to be old enough, I plan to fully disclose my horrible past in hopes that it will show him an easier way is possible. It still scares me though

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