As a child and a teen: What did I think?
I cannot remember much about my childhood and substances other than the fact that I come from a family that loves to party and enjoy themselves. Therefore, I never thought that the use of alcohol or “weed’” was a bad thing. This was mainly due to the fact that the adults in my life were still able to maintain a level of functionality while indulging in these substances.
“Hey Ayzha! Would you like a glass of wine?”. At the age of 15-16, I was asked this question by my older family members. I grew up in an environment where children were able to drink under the legal age as long as it was in confounds of a family member’s home. Therefore, these experiences shaped my attitudes towards substances when I was a child and an adolescent. As an adolescent, I thought that substances, like alcohol, were okay to consume as long as I was being monitored by an adult.
To High School and College and beyond
Once I got to high school, I do not remember too many substances being around. If I did attend a party full of my peers, there was normally alcohol or weed there. As far as the alcohol, I never indulged because I knew that I was under age and I knew that I was not in a comfortable environment with my family in the event that something happened to me. I did not indulge in smoking weed because I didn’t like the smell of it.
Once, I got to college, I was over drinking and partying because I was allowed to be “kinda” free at family events in these departments. I was able to be around friends that partook in substances but I never had a desire to indulge. My philosophy was “that’s not for me, but I won’t judge someone else that wants to do it.
So today and in the future, my views are pretty much the same. Therefore, I do not think that it would be difficult to work with a client that decided or decides to make a choice different from my own. I try my best to be as non-judgmental as possible when dealing with clients and it would be no different in this scenario.
Advice! Advice! Advice!
I was taught that alcohol is okay to indulge in as long as you don’t go overboard with it. However, I cannot remember a specific time when someone actually told me not to do drugs. I think it was just an unspoken understanding in my family that we understood the impact that drugs would have on our lives. Therefore, I have always understood alcohol to be something that is used in moderation and that it does not look good to over indulge in it. I have also understood that drugs are not acceptable and should never be touched. I think the freedom that my family allowed has always discouraged me from drinking a lot, if any at all. It almost feels like the thrill that I needed to understand and feel was fulfilled in my adolescence and young adulthood. I am unsure of how I will emulate this model as a counselor because it is not my job to promote or encourage drug use. I also have a better understanding of the idea that individuals may be at risk for addictive behavior based on genetics and would never want to be the root cause of such behavior. However, as a parent, I think allowing this type of freedom with my child as my family did with me will assist her in making the wisest choices when not in my presence or the presence of family.