By Dawn Marks –
Beneficiaries from the Anaheim ARC recently sounded a wake-up call to 1,000 students at Loara High School in their city. Introduced by Envoy Alan Carlson, Adult Rehabilitation Center Command program services director, they were there in conjunction with Red Ribbon Week, a nationwide effort to encourage school children to make drug-free choices.
Real-life stories from gangs, drugs and prison from men who’ve been there, and lived to tell about it, held the audience in rapt attention.
“Just a few years ago, I was sitting where you are, and I’ll tell you the truth, I was partying and having fun. I never thought I would be the person up here some day, telling kids at a high school how drugs and alcohol ruined my life,” said Damian, a 22 year-old beneficiary.
Some of the men talked about near death experiences with drugs and gangs. Several told of the remorse they still feel from having hurt and worried their parents and loved ones when they were using.
The men, who had a minimum of 90 days sobriety each, advised those students who are experimenting with drugs to tell a parent, teacher or counselor about their problem, and to be wary of so-called “friends” who are using. The message to the non-using students was clear: sobriety is really the only choice to make.