I "#PassOnIt" Because of My Best Friend

substance use prevention

Life is a bumpy road, and that's just a fact. No matter how it seems on the outside, every single person has their own struggles and difficulties that come and go over the course of a lifetime. Yet, in spite of this reality, life goes on, and people continue their daily routines no matter what obstacle may come next. One thing that keeps me going are the bonds and relationships I have formed with others in my life. For me, it’s always been that one person that makes me laugh, and can always lift me up on a bad day. My best friend.

I was too young to remember the first time I met my best friend. But I can truly say she is not just an ordinary friend. She is the one person who I trust to tell all my secrets, who for some reason I can’t seem to stop laughing around, and who I know would never judge me. It's a lucky thing to admit that I have someone in this world who I 100% trust with everything and anything, and who still likes me, despite all my faults.

We were best friends through our care-free pre-school and elementary school days, but when middle school started, life became more stressful. My best friend’s wish to be thin was too strong, and she was caught taking prescription medication to lose weight. The unrealistic standards to have the perfect shape consumed her, and she was diagnosed with an eating disorder. It was hard for me to accept the changes in our relationship. Instead of trips to the mall trying on clothes, we worked-out at the gym, and grilled cheese and brownie feasts became long walks in the park with gossip sessions. But I stood by her as I knew she would for me. The situation didn't make things uncomfortable between us, rather it made us grow even closer, and it allowed me to develop a new appreciation for every second with my best friend, knowing life could bring the unexpected.

With the start of high school, my best friend and I were closer than ever. We were both starting new schools and supported each other every step of the way. Every moment of free time I allotted to her, and not a weekend went by where I didn’t see her. There was no one I would rather spend my time with. However, my best friend was struggling again in her new environment, and before I could do anything to help, she had turned to drugs. She claimed the drugs helped her escape anxiety and stress, and left her feeling like she fit in. Then, over Christmas break of freshman year, her parents found out about the drugs, and threatened to send her away to boarding school for rehab. My friend and I cried, knowing we couldn’t bear to be apart. I told her I didn't know what I would do without her, and she promised to do what she needed to stay at home. She worked hard to maintain her promise, but as her anxieties increased, she turned to drugs again. Soon she became dependent as her way of coping, and began using drugs in school. Finally, her secret was discovered when a teacher caught her taking drugs at school.

It has been seven months since I last saw my best friend. She was sent to a therapeutic boarding school where communication with the outside world is forbidden, leaving us with no way to connect. The first few months without her by my side were brutal. I felt empty and lost, as if a piece of me was missing. Luckily, I have learned to cope with the change. The overall experience has allowed me to confidently admit that I pass on drugs. I pass on drugs because I understand they are easily addictive, using them to escape hardships won't make the challenges disappear, they in no way provide permanent relief from daily struggles, using drugs won't make you "cool," and most importantly, I understand that using drugs not only affects the user, but the close friends and loved ones of the user as well.

Although I don't know when she will return home, or if she will ever fully recover, I know that I will be there for her. I know things will fall back into place and I will refuse to let her slip away into the world of drugs yet again. I am very fortunate to have such an amazing friend who loves me unconditionally, and I will do whatever it takes to keep her drug-free.

By,

Megan Jordan (pen name)

The Pass On It project is made possible through a grant from the McMillen Family Foundation.