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The Great Escape...
Author: Shoutout Staff

Christina Aridle* is nineteen years old, working 
full-time, and attending college. But this is a huge 
change from just a few years ago, when she didn't care 
about money or responsibility; all she wanted was to 
get high. ShoutOut talked to Christina and asked her 
some questions about her battle with drugs. Here is 
her story: 
 ShoutOut: How old were you when you first 
experimented with drugs? What made you try drugs?
Christina Aridle: I am pretty sure I was around 12 
when I smoked weed for the first time. There wasn't 
any peer pressure or anything I just saw others do it 
so I decided I wanted to try it for myself. 
SO: What did you like about experimenting with 
drugs? What did you not like? What made you continue 
to experiment? 
CA: With me I think that my main focus was an escape. 
I liked the fact that when I was high, I didn't have 
to think about reality every second. I could release 
my worry. When I tried heroin for the first time I 
will never forget the feeling I got. I felt like an 
explosion of relief was washed over my body. I 
remember feeling like I wouldn't care if I died in 
that moment, all that mattered to me was that I was 
I have experienced a lot more in my life that anyone 
at 19 should ever have to. There is so much that is 
wrapped around drug use. For one thing, the effect it 
has on your body. I can barely believe that I came out 
of all of this unscathed. I could have had Hepatitis, 
AIDS, I could have overdosed, the list could go on. 
Every time you snort, smoke, drink, shoot or ingest 
some unknown substance, and admit it, unless you 
cooked it up yourself, it's unknown, you are testing 
your life and its limits.  
SO: What effects did your drug use have on your 
relationships with family, friends, and other loved 
CA: A major impact. At first it started out small, I 
lied here and there to my parents and to other people 
that cared about me, but it was mostly little things 
like where I was, what I had been doing that sort of 
thing. But when I got into more serious things like 
meth and heroin, it was like a war against everyone in 
my life, and later I realized it was a war with 
myself. While I was in rehab, I finally understood the 
damage I had done to others in the midst of my selfish 
SO: Did your drug use go from experimentation to an 
everyday occurrence? How old were you when this 
transformation took place? 
CA: I never really had a prolonged addicted 
experience, but when I tried heroin for the first 
time, if I wasn't immediately taken out of the 
environment I was in I would probably still be using 
or dead.  I do believe that I had become addicted to 
the "escape." 
SO: When did you reach the point of knowing that 
you needed to get treatment? What made you reach that 
CA: For me I had to hit rock bottom in order to even 
see where my life had turned. I had used heroin for 
the first time in my life and I had liked it. I had 
liked it so much that I had cracked open my savings 
account, something I had never touched since I had 
started it at 10 years old, to buy more. Shortly after 
my four day drugged marathon, my mother had found out 
and had told my heroin-addicted boyfriend to get lost. 
The next day he committed suicide by overdosing 
himself on heroin. I spent the next four days in the 
hospital hoping that he would come out of his coma, he 
never did. I went crazy after that, I became 
suicidally insane. My parents checked me into a Psych 
ward, I was a mess. But when I was there I realized 
that my life was out of control and I needed help.  
SO: What was the most difficult part about getting 
CA: Sticking with it. When I had finally realized that 
I did need treatment, I was quite enthusiastic to jump 
in and get started, but that attitude can only get you 
so far. I was in rehab for 14 months and it wasn't 
like I just went for a weekend vacation, I was 
confronted everyday with my issues and I was bombarded 
by all the other residents' issues. I don't think 
anyone quite understands what it is like to live in 
a "therapeutic community" with 24 other people who 
have just as much baggage as you, if not much much 
more. And it definitely wasn't singing kumbaya and 
holding hands.  
SO: What did you find most helpful in getting 
CA: I think the most important part of being in rehab 
is that it's a chance for you to be taken out of 
society to deal with yourself. I remember when I got 
there, I was under the silly impression that since I 
was so willing to be there I was going to get out real 
soon. Boy was I wrong. 
SO: How did you feel after getting out of 
treatment? What changes did you make in your life? 
CA: Everything was different, I moved to live with my 
father in the beginning, I had a full time job, went 
to school, the works. I no longer had free time on my 
hands. I kept really busy, it helped me to stay 
focused on what was important.  
SO: How have your relationships changed with 
family, friends, and loved ones since you have 
finished treatment? What is your main motivation to 
follow through with your treatment goals? 
CA: I think rehab helped me to grow up. I was stuck in 
rebellious teenager mode, but when I got out I 
realized that I was the only one that was going to 
take care of me. With that being said, I became much 
more respectful with my family. I have a completely 
different outlook on life and I think it shows in my 
relationships with others.  
SO: What has been the most difficult thing to deal 
with since you have finished treatment? Why? 
CA: That's a good question. For me, I am the more 
responsible type so the regular stuff like school and 
work is innate to me. But my weakness has been 
boyfriends. When I was in rehab I started a 
relationship with someone who was not a good guy. When 
we got out and started dating, he was the worst 
influence on my life. He lied to me all the time about 
his drug use and really made every attempt possible to 
pull me and my life apart. 
SO: What advice do you have for teens that are 
experimenting with drugs today?  
CA: I think it's become a regular thing these days for 
kids to experiment. My best piece of advice is to be 
smart about it. Always be sure you have a way out. 
Don't get yourself stuck in a situation where you 
can't say no, and not just to others, mainly to 
yourself. And really look at what drugs you try. If 
you're going to try meth or heroin for the first time, 
DON'T! There is NO happy ending to that story.  
SO: What advice do you have for teens that are 
increasingly dependent on drugs? 
CA: Take a good look in the mirror and think, is what 
I am doing worth losing this? Be smart. You only get 
one body, one life, and one chance. And at the end of 
the day, you dictate how it is going to happen so make 
it a good one. 
  *name has been changed.