Why My Third Year Of Sobriety Has Been The Most Challenging So Far

We’re All Just Earth Suits Passing By On This Train Of Life

George Kalantzis

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Page From Nowhere To Go

A lost, lonely boy,
the battle with my
demons began.

Through the eyes
of a troubled teenager,
addictions I ran.

I’m sixteen years old in the hospital with a tube down my throat and charcoal teeth after being dared to drink a thirty-rack of Budweiser. Alcohol poisoning isn’t acceptable at a young age, so on Wednesday, I went to a teenage group therapy session with substance abuse counselors for one of my classes.

I enter the session embarrassed as I look around and see others like me.

I smile and think, “all my life, I thought I was an outsider, but now I realize I’m not alone.”

I sit in silence, listening and observing the stories of kids I desperately wanted to be like. From drugs and alcohol to prescription pills, everyone in the room represented a broken relationship with themselves and a powerless addiction to make life seem more manageable.

The counselor says, “George, you had quite an eventful weekend. Do you see how addiction starts and ends with pain?”

I am in denial. My face turns red, and I feel the anger build up inside. I hold my breath, trying not to expose the other kids in the room who dared me to do it.

I muster up the courage to speak.

“Addiction calls my name while I play the game, trying to fit in. But I look at him and see that I’ll never win.”

The entire room is silent. My palms are sweating. I am standing up and about to walk out as the counselor tells me to stop.

He says, “There is a difference between what you feel and who you are. Feelings don’t disappear because you hide behind substances. They will only grow stronger and build up till you explode. What if you stopped trying so hard to fit in and accepted everything you are going through in life?”

“I’m okay. Don’t tell me what to do. How is this helping?”

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George Kalantzis

George is a professional storyteller, a dad to a sassy and adventurous eight year-old girl, and the author Of Nowhere To Go