A Life Once Lived

A Life Once Lived

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

A Life Once Lived

Every second brings a fresh beginning, every hour holds a new promise, every night our dreams can bring hope, and every day is what you choose to make it.

Jessica Heringer, fifteen

When I was thirteen, I found myself at home alone after school every day while my parents worked until seven or eight o’clock each night. I was bored and I felt somewhat neglected. So I started hanging around with other kids who were at home unsupervised after school.

One day, I was at my friend’s house and she had some other friends over as well. There were no parents at her house and mine were in Nashville; we had total freedom! As we sat there doing nothing, one of the guys pulled some marijuana out of his coat pocket. In this crowd, I was the only one there that had never tried it, so, under pressure to be cool, I did.

As the weekend approached, everyone was talking about a party at my friend’s house. I ended up partying with people I didn’t even know and had my first experience of being drunk and high. I was now ruining my life, but as far as I knew, I was making more friends and hanging with a different crowd. The only thing that concerned me was partying on the weekends and looking for something to give me a better high.

One day, when I was in the eighth grade, my best friend and I were bored out of our minds. We thought that it would be really cool to go to my house where no one was home, find the keys to my dad’s car and drive all over town showing off to our friends. When we ran a stop sign with a cop car right behind us, we were taken in for stealing my dad’s car.

Things at school were equally as bad. I was suspended from school twice for fighting. The second time I was out for three days. I no longer cared about my grades and was literally failing school. I never looked at my parents’ opinions as being important anymore. It seemed like I was always grounded, but I would sneak out of the house at night to see my friends. When my parents discovered that I was sneaking out, my dad no longer had any type of trust for me. I had put myself into a position of having no freedoms whatsoever. No matter what, I was never happy, and my parents and I argued constantly. My life was falling apart.

No longer was I the girl who was getting good grades, no longer did I have parents who trusted me, or friends that really even cared. I lost all that; it was gone.

So one night I sat with a bottle of prescription pills, sure these pills were going to get rid of all my pain. It was late at night so I thought, No one’s at home so who’s going to stop me? I stared at the pill bottle with a deep feeling of hate toward myself. I never thought that an emotion like this could take over my life.

I began sobbing and tears were rolling down my cheeks. I wondered if anyone was going to care. I told myself that they didn’t care now, so why would they care when I’m gone?

Then I heard a car door shut, and I knew my parents had come home. I quickly took as many of the pills as I could with a couple drinks of water.

I sat on the couch with my dad, stepmom and one of their friends. They had no clue as to what was about to happen. We were watching my favorite TV show. Then, the weirdest thing happened. I laughed with my dad for the first time in what seemed like forever. Suddenly, I no longer wanted to die. I realized that I loved my family and that they really loved me. Now what was I to do? I ran to the bathroom and made myself vomit up all the pills.

I lay awake all night thinking. I realized that my priorities were all wrong and if I kept up this behavior and kept hanging around the same people, my life would never improve. I recognized that I was the one who made my life what it was, so I also had the power to change it.

The first thing that I did was stop taking drugs and hanging around that crowd. Within days, I noticed a huge improvement in my self-esteem. Then, right after the first of the year, I switched schools so that I could get away from my “friends” who only cared about partying all the time. It wasn’t long before I had made new friends and my grades improved. (I now have a 4.0 grade average—straight A’s!)

The new choices I’ve made totally beat waking up with hangovers and not caring about where my life was headed. I made cheerleading this year and I’m having so much fun. Drugs never made me feel this high.

I’ll never know if I was going to die that night, but I do know one thing; I’m glad I didn’t. I learned from my mistakes and found that ending life completely is not the way to go. It is never too late to change your direction. Every day, every hour is a new opportunity to begin again.

Brandi Bacon, fifteen

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