I grew up in North Carolina and left home to go to a Bahá’í high school in Shawnigan Lake, BC, Canada. While there, I was surrounded by Bahá’í youth and appreciated the inclusiveness and the sense of higher purpose among my friends and classmates. I returned home from the Bahá’í high school due to homesickness. Back in public school, there were few Bahá’í youth in my life. It seemed that drinking alcohol and partying were how people connected socially. I wanted to be accepted and couldn’t resist the peer pressure to drink and do drugs. It was easier to be like everyone else than to be different. I used drugs and alcohol as an escape from my insecurities and ended up making bigger problems for myself.
I became addicted and went into rehab. Bahá’í writings and the Bahá’í community supported me throughout my recovery. `Abdu’l-Bahá wrote, “Never lose thy trust in God. Be thou ever hopeful, for the bounties of God never cease to flow upon man. If viewed from one perspective they seem to decrease, but from another they are full and complete. Man is under all conditions immersed in a sea of God’s blessings. Therefore, be thou not hopeless under any circumstances, but rather be firm in thy hope.” This quote gave me strength and confidence to overcome the destructive influences drugs and alcohol had in my life.