Some people learn quickly from their mistakes. I am not one of those people. I would love to tell you that after my first experience with drugging, and cutting class I learned my lesson. That I never repeated this behavior again. The truth is that for the next decade I partied like a rock star, and showing up for classes wasn’t exactly a priority for me. If your parental mindset has kicked in, and your thinking to yourself things would have been different if I had never met Wynn, well that is a mistake a lot of parents make. Which leads us back to the argument of nature versus nurture.
Just as a reminder I think both play a role in a person’s choice to experiment with drugs/alcohol, but I definitely lean more towards nature in this argument. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had not met Wynn in the bathroom that day. If it had not been Wynn it would have been someone else. As disappointing as it may be to all the parents out there, the only one responsible for my choice to experiment with drugs/alcohol, and various other juvenile delinquent behaviors was me. Blaming someone else for my choices would just be wrong. Convenient and enabling, but still incredibly wrong!
This of course does not mean that family influences (the nurture part) are completely absolved from any wrong doing, whether unintentionally or with intent. The environment we grow up in plays a major part in how we approach life. My father’s undiagnosed mental illness’ symptoms, and severe alcoholism certainly played a part in how I approached my life choices in a major way without a doubt. However I was also surrounded by even more good influences from the other adults who played major roles in my upbringing versus my Father’s singular influence. On life’s scale this should have pushed me over to the good choice making side. Yet I chose to make poor decisions in spite of that fact. I would also like to point out that I am the oldest of 4 children, and 2 of my siblings raised in the same environment have never experimented with drugs, and were exceptional in their behavior at school.
Now let’s go back to the nature side of the argument. I firmly believe that some people carry a genetic predilection towards addictive behaviors. I come from a long line of alcoholics, way too many to consider it a coincidence. Alcohol is not my personal demon, my preferences lean more towards pot, and prescription drugs. I have been drug free for 27 years, but I still carry my addictive tendencies. I have just replaced my drugs of choice for different addictions like coffee and food. I will admit to you though that there have been many days when I do wish I could revert back to my old habits. Particularly at times of extreme stress, sometimes just because I miss the feeling of being buzzed. I also believe that some people who have certain forms of mental illness use both alcohol/drugs as a way of self-medicating.
The road to self recognition is a long one. Realizing or being willing admit to one’s self that you have a problem is a pretty major moment in a person’s life. Understanding that your behavior not only impacts your life, but the lives of those you love, and share your journey with is a sobering thought. Deciding not to repeat the bad choices you’ve seen other people in your life make, or the ones you yourself have made well that’s maturity. Making a commitment to hold yourself accountable for your own actions, well that’s enlightenment. 😉