This week on KFDX, were highlighting the problem of teenage alcohol use and abuse. It will culminate in a special town hall meeting Thursday evening at Barwise Junior High. The average age of Texas youths first drink is 12. Behind the stats are lives that have been devastated and families torn apart. Today, we talk to a 19-year-old who says one of the scariest things is how easy it is for kids to get their hands on drugs and alcohol. Now, shes sharing the story of how she turned her life around. Shes working on a psychology degree at M.S.U., in hopes of becoming a drug and alcohol therapist. And Nicole Hoffman has very personal reasons for her ambitions. "Im not even 21 yet, and Ive done more drinking and drugging than a lot of 40-year-olds," she said. Nicole started partying heavily as a sophomore in high school. "It was fun, ‘cause wed play games, wed laugh, wed goof off … you know, it would never be any harm; it was all just fun and games. But not after long." Thats because by her junior year, Nicole says she couldnt stop. "I was a binge blackout drinker," she said. "As soon as I took one drink, I had to take a thousand more. And I had to black out." And soon, that wasnt enough. She added drugs – from marijuana to cocaine and ecstasy – a cycle, spiraling out of control. "I knew that I only had two options left," Nicole said. "And it was either to die, or to try to recover." So at 18, Nicole checked into rehab. But progress came very slow. "I always liked to point the finger and say, No, its your fault, its your fault. No, its my fault. You know, I did this to myself." Over time, Nicole started to realize just how destructive her behavior had been. "It's a waste of life," she said. "I deteriorated so much." She says she wishes she could have known then what she knows now. "It destroys so much. And so many people – especially teenagers – do not realize that it doesnt affect just them. It affects every single person around them." Nicole has been sober for about 14 months now. We hope you will join us Thursday night at 7 at Barwise Junior High for a special town hall meeting called "Party 101-- Consequences." Well look at the problem of teen alcohol abuse here in Texoma, and talk with a panel of experts and students about how we can all help. For students, parents. and educators, this will be an important evening. Gwyn Bevel and Doug Bilyeu will be there … we hope you will, too.
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