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Amelia's Story

My name is Amelia, and I am one of the teens in Fight Club 17.

In the beginning of 9th grade, things were going pretty well. I played for the school's soccer team, I was on the honor roll, and was maintaining good relationships. After the soccer season ended and I lost the structure and routine of a team; I suddenly was very depressed. I fell in with the wrong crowd and quickly started using weed at school.

Things got out of control really quickly... and I made it my daily routine to smoke almost every period of the school day and lie my way into my friend's houses to smoke more.

Oftentimes I was lying about where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing. Just straight to my parent's face. I got high so often that I lost my motivation, my drive, and my grit, I honestly cared about nothing but having a cart and pen in my hand.

When I ran out or didn't have weed I did desperate things; things I never imagined myself doing. I was a fiend.

My mental health took a turn and I was more depressed than ever. I got angry all the time and ruined my family relationships. Before long, I was in trouble with the police as well. I was suicidal and my parents had me hospitalized multiple times that winter, finally ending up at Silver Hill in Connecticut. There I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder which my birth mom also had. I went on medication, but as soon as I got out of the hospital I went right back to smoking...which meant the meds could do nothing for me.

The summer after freshman year my parents began to catch me all the time. I kept telling myself and them I had it under control and I would stop tomorrow or in a week, or probably the most classic line, "I'm not addicted".

But I was and I couldn't or wouldn't see it yet. At the end of the summer after dealing with manic episodes from smoking I knew I needed help. I went on to boarding school at the beginning of my sophomore year. My parents thought it would give me a fresh start, but it was a school where all these drug addicts were put together. We had so much access to drugs and alcohol - not just weed but people even had acid, Mollie.

I used it heavily and always managed to have a cart on me even when I was broke and my parents cut off my access to money. We all relied on each other. I gained and lost friends there and I think now I might have met some cool people if I was sober and not begging people for drugs.

Eventually, because the school caught us and used drug tests I became a month sober. I went home for Christmas break and went over to my old best friend's house and immediately smoked again. Then, the same thing, the cops came and this time it was real. Luckily, I had just under enough points for them to not place me. I really knew then I needed to stop but didn't know how.

I tried lots of things but nothing seemed to work until one day my mom was with me at the doctor's and she was scrolling through her phone and found Austin17House. I agreed to go but the moment I got there I wouldn't leave the car, my mom went in to learn about the program and she spent an hour talking to Jessie, the leader and main recovery coach.

My mom called me twice begging me to come in but I refused. Jessie came out with the cutest dog ever and a big smile and made me feel welcomed. I had thought that it would be different this time. Jessie invited me to the group that day and I went to listen. And then Jessie worked her magic, gave me advice, shared her own story to show me she related to me, and most importantly, she cared and was like me.

A few weeks in I was sober and now I'm 1 year sober.

So personally I'd like to thank Jessie for being the person who helped create a program for me and others to be sober. Jessie is one of the most important people in my life right now.

Before finding Austin 17, I had been to therapy, outpatient programs, inpatient programs - you name it. Nothing connected for me, or made a difference. Austin 17 and Jessie have been the difference for me and for other kids.

I am excited to be part of this program and look forward to continuing to be involved as a peer leader.

Thank you.

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