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Young Man Strugling With Life - How Can I Turn My Life Around?

by Rob
(L.A, Ca, US)

I don't really know how to start, but I guess I am here because I realize I need help. It's 5:25 am and I haven't slept all night, thinking about life so I searched this site. I got a few addictions - top 4 = weed, alcohol, pills,and graffiti. I am 19 about to be 20 years old living in North Hollywood in L.A.

I grew up watching people drink and smoke weed and violence. I was never good in school and would always fight because I never thought of myself being anything in life, but I wasn't a bad kid.I grew up in a Gang infested area hearing gunshots at night, walking home from school as a kid and watching the gang members hang out pound 40s, smoke bud and do drugs.

I remember being in Elementary and knowing what gangs where in my area and thinking they where cool. My parents had their problems and were always working, so I was always by myself doing dumb stuff with my friends or cousins.

When I started Middle school a lot of my friends started joining their neighborhood gangs. I was heading towards that path too if it wasn't for graffiti. I always liked it and was so amused by the culture, wondered how they got on top of rooftops and billboards and catch freeway spots and crazy hangovers. I started writing graffiti in middle school but was gang affiliated, a lot of my friends were gang members but I started meeting a lot of writers as I got older.

First time I smoked weed was in middle school, smoking out of an apple on my way home with some friends. I liked how it made me happy and how I would trip out. I didn't really start smoking heavily till I was in 9th or 10th grade. That's also when I started drinking with my friends.

First time I got wasted was at my friends house, we were taking shots and we were gone. We eventually started throwing it all up but my friend was worse than me - he wouldn't stop throwing up and he eventually passed out and I thought he was gonna die. I gave him some juice and he eventually woke up when I was about to call the ambulance.

I said to my self that's the last time I was gonna drink, I would think about alcohol and would gag. That's also when I started doing graffiti more frequently, got more artistic and started getting known in the streets which felt good. Then I got busted for it when I was 15 for felony graff and did some time in the halls.

I got out with a different mentality, a hard attitude, it changed me. I was on probation for 2 years and had to complete 200 hours of graffiti removal. Around that time I would still smoke weed drink and do graffiti while I was on probation. I sometimes wouldn't go home and would show up to school, only real reason was because I had a girlfriend f that would try to keep me on check.

Two years later I got a job and saved up and bought a car, would also be slanging weed and pills. That's when I started getting more out of control. Me and my girlfriend broke up, I dropped out of school, started drinking heavily, smoking weed, would do shroomes, popin pills party, did , smoked pdogs but didn't really get into that heavily and I am glad I didn't.

I was out of control, wouldn't listen to anyone, drifted away from my family - only people I would socialize with were people from my crew and other writers, girls and people at party's. All I would do is get wasted wait till 2-3 am and would just do graffiti all over L.A - would even go to other counties and would do it on streets, trucks, freeways, billboards, trains - a lot of times while I was on the influence of alcohol weed or pills.

I would sleep in my car a lot of times because my parents would lock the doors on me. I've been shot at multiple times by gang members, fought for my life, seen bums dying, I've been close to dying multiple times ... I also started carrying a gun because I wouldn't feel safe without it. This kept up till one of my close friends got shot last year for doing graff.

That was a reality check for me and I went back to adult school, got my Ged, started working out at the gym, started taking mixed martial arts, got a job, was even trying to join the army. I stopped smoking weed and drinking, taking pills and doing graff. Things were going pretty good - had my head straight and for once I was thinking about the future even thinking about going to college, but the urge of smoking, drinking and doing graff was always there.

One day I had a bottle of tequila and started binge drinking. I drank the whole bottle to myself without even knowing, blacked out, got crazy at my house and wanted to fight everyone even my neighbours. I punched holes on the wall, luckily no one called the cops but my parents kicked me out. Moved in with my cousin and things where going good till I started drinking, then started smoking weed, then one day my car died in the freeway and I got out but 10 seconds later my car got smashed by another car going 80mph. I could of died once again.

I lost my job because I couldn't make it to work,I couldn't pass the asvab to join the army. I started going to parties getting wasted, taking pills, doing shrooms, doing coke once in awhile because I was drunk. I stopped working out and all my motivation just got drained. I started drinking everyday and smoking weed everyday got back into graffiti even crazier then ever. I always have to carry some sort of weapon on me. My cousin kicked me out because he got tired of my $#%&, luckily my parents took me back in.

So now I am back where I once was - depressed hitting rock bottom, trying to stop drinking and smoking weed and doing graff. I manage to do it for a couple of weeks then binge hit parties get wasted out of my mind. It seems like I just can't stop, I do it without even thinking. I have gotten so used to this life style and so good at it and really known in the graff game and managing not to get caught.

I have been chased by cops on foot and managed to get away even by the ghetto birds. I hate this life I am living because I actually wanna be something in life. I don't wanna have to carry a weapon to feel safe. I don't wanna end up in jail serving real time which I thank god I haven't, because I deserve to be in. A lot of my friends are doing time, one of my child hood friend is facing life, I've lost friends to heavy drugs.

I have had a lot of chances to change my life around and I know I have to. I feel so lost. I know if I keep it up its gonna come back and bite me in the a$@, it fells like I have some angel protecting me but one day the angel isn't going to be there.

I realize I have a problem and I really need help, I don't know who to turn to or what to do - I am not a bad person, I am caring and put others before me, but even some of my friends have told me I have no self control when i drink - yet I am still doing it and I'm not even 21 yet! I feel so guilty when I don't do graff because my friend got killed doing it. I feel like a traitor, I know it sounds stupid but only people that do this can understand.

I know I need to see a psychiatrist but I can't afford it. I know there's many people way more lost then me but never manage to realize it till its too late. I've done it before but I relapsed and it fells like this time is 10 times harder. I fell like I have nothing to live for but graffiti and getting wasted, its my escape it makes me fell good, it's pretty much all I'm good at.

I wish I can get through this and help kids like me in the future.I am barely 19 and I am already an alcoholic, and a weed addict - its like cigarettes to me.

I started hitting the gym again, I wanna start going to college but I need real advice, hopefully someone can help me. Sorry if what I wrote was too long.


Hi Rob

For a young guy of 19 who's had a tough upbringing to come on here and admit what he's done and that he needs help says a lot about you. It would be easy just to give up and lose hope, but the fact that you want to turn your life around and make a life for yourself shows me that you've got what it takes and that you just need to learn to channel your energy into different things - things that are good for you and lift you up, rather than things that destroy you and will ultimately just likely get you killed.

Some of us are unfortunately born into difficult environments where it becomes easy to then get sucked into a culture of gangs, crime or whatever it may be. Why that is, I don't know, maybe part of some higher purpose? But the main thing is to never let yourself feel or become a victim of your circumstances - because you do have the power to change and turn your life around, as long as you take full responsibility for doing so.

See it as part of your purpose and that the challenge you were given for this lifetime - is to turn your life around and then help and serve as an example to others that they can do it too. If you develop that mindset, even though it's not going to be easy, I have total faith that you'll be able to do it.

In terms of practicalities regarding the specifics of what to do to overcome your addictions and start developing a healthier, more positive way of life - find an Addictions Counselor in your area to talk to who would then also be able to recommend an appropriate form of treatment for you.

There are bound to be Counselor like that in your community, and usually they're not expensive like Psychiatrists would be. If you don't know where to start asking to find one, go to your local Doctors offices or Health Centre - and I'm sure they'll be able to give you the details of one. Ideally then you want to go through some kind of proper addiction treatment program, where you'll receive specialist treatment and help in changing your life. Not all programs are expensive and cost thousands because there are lots of them that are government subsidized, so with the help of a Counselor, you should be able to find one where money isn't an issue.

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Your life has a purpose.
by: Alesia

Hi Rob,

Ive read your story and my husband & I are actually in the process of helping a young man out who has had a rough childhood, there are several steps that you are going to have to take in order to fully be rid of the negative lifestyle. 1 of them is truely turning your life over to God. He is the one thing that has watched out for you all these years because he knows your purpose in life is to guide other young people and to be there for them who are going through the same things you have. Another step is to Forgive yourself for all the wrongs you've made over the years and to stop trying to fill the void in your life with the drugs, drinking, gang activity etc. Only God can fill that hole that is so deep. God is the only thing that can fully restore you to your fullest potential. My husband and I have been youth leaders for many years, and we are also parents, and seen so many young men and women mess up but please know that just because you mess up doesnt mean that your family doesnt love you because they do. It hurts them more then you know to see you going through so much as such a young age. Something ive learned over the years is its very hard for those who have been hurt or who are hurting to truely be there for others including our own family members. Im sure your parents have had their share of life being tough on them, truth is I believe they need you just as much as you really need them. You can get through this rough patch and really become the young man that turns his life around and uses what God has allowed to happen in your life to reach out to those who are very hard to reach. If you ever need someone to talk to feel free to email me anytime my email address is You have a long road ahead of you and I will be sure to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Lean on God because he will give you the strength to fight and win this battle!

by: White Muslim

Read the English version of The Quran ! Know that u are here for a reason and the devil is dragging u to hell by doing all these haram things.

Seek guidence in The Quran, just dont screw you face up at this, actually read it !!!!!!!!

read the Abdel Haleem version for modern English


very similar to my bf's story
by: tibetan girl

hi dear,
i just wanna know how u r doing? did it turnout to be a relapse again?

by: Anonymous

Rob please call me we need to talk 3134525033shay

by: Rob

Thanks for your reply,it gave me motivation to get trough this.It ain't going to be easy but nothings ever easy in this life.I am glad i found this site.It amazes me that there's actually sites like this and people like you that help people you don't even know.Thanks again, ill be waiting for the next email.

Advice to Rob Continued ...
by: Advice Team

Sorry we ran out of space there. Understand however that treatment is only step number one in winning the fight against addiction. Working at your recovery and building a new way of life for yourself is also critical. This is where 12 step programs like AA and NA can help you because they teach you principles for for not only staying away from a life of addiction, but also for healthy and successful living.

At the end of the day though, it all boils down to what you want from your life, and then putting the effort into achieving it. Nobody can make anything happen except you. There are people out there who can help and support you in overcoming your addictions. There are resources that can teach you new skills or whatever it is that's important to you, to help you create the life you want.

So decide on what it is you really want from your life, and the kind of person you want to be - and then start working damn hard at making it happen. It won't be easy and you'll face plenty challenges, but keep at it, and I have no doubt you can do it.

So good luck and whatever you do never give up.

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