Straight Talk Advice

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Jarrad

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Why don’t I drink or use drugs? I don’t need to. I’m comfortable with myself. My folks taught me from a young age how easy it is to get addicted. An alcoholic grandparent was continually presented as Evidence A.

Dear Straight Talk: I’m a 17-year-old guy and I go to parties almost every weekend. It is expected and appropriate to drink or smoke pot at these parties and the peer pressure to do so is enormous. If you don’t partake, you’re considered a little weird.

I fit in by being a “designated driver.” I’m the drug-free presence at the party. I don’t let anyone that’s been drinking drive. I either take their keys or give them a sobriety test. I keep things clean, removing bottles from counters upon which people begin dancing, for instance. I usually have help from people who have to go home early or sometimes from another D.D.

Drunks are absolutely worthless in looking out for each other. When somebody’s puking I take them outside or to the toilet. I always stop people from chugging hard liquor.

I think my peers drink and use drugs because their hormones are raging and they’re uncomfortable making moves. The alcohol loosens them up. Ecstasy really loosens them. But alcohol is the drug of choice, followed by pot.

Why don’t I drink or use drugs? I don’t need to. I’m comfortable with myself. My folks taught me from a young age how easy it is to get addicted. An alcoholic grandparent was continually presented as Evidence A.

Being D.D. for my friends reinforces that I will never drink. I wish they could see what I see. The happy drunks make idiots of themselves and the depressed drunks are comatose—or crying and spilling their guts. It’s insane! Why do they repeatedly do something that makes them look and feel so bad?—Substance-free and popular

(This letter is from our March 22, 2006 column. Jarrad was the person who wrote in. A later column, that of September 5, 2007 is a tribute to Jarrad who left us in a motorcycle accident on August 4, 2007. We continue to learn how to live from his example. He knew how to live and how to take care of his friends. I love you my son, every minute, every day.—Lauren)