Tips for Youth

You can get help 24 Hours a day, 7 Days a Week by calling (352) 244-0618

Call the Youth Talk Hotline to get Information about Teen Issues

Find Out about our Safe Place Sites

Thinking of running away? Ask yourself these 10 questions before you do:
(From National Runaway Safeline:  1-800-RUNAWAY –  800-786-2929)

  1. What else can I do to improve my home situation before I leave?
  2. What would make me stay at home?
  3. How will I survive?
  4. Is running away safe?
  5. Who can I count on to help me?
  6. Am I being realistic?
  7. Have I given this enough thought?
  8. What are my other options?
  9. If I end up in trouble, who will I call?
  10. When I return home, what will happen?

101+ things to do instead of drugs

Get together with friends Watch a fun video Learn something new Read a good book
Play games Do an activity Enjoy a hobby Play a sport
Listen to music Make something new Eat a great meal Go to the zoo
Smell a flower Draw a picture Take a bubble bath Look at old photos
Smile Make someone else smile Finish what you start Solve a riddle
Watch a sunset Jump rope Gather seashells Whistle a tune
Read a poem Fly a kite Do a favor Surprise someone
Play catch Throw a party Join a club Sing
Give a hug Get a hug Talk to friends Wish on a star
Run through a sprinkler Go camping Do a jigsaw puzzle Memorize a song
Help a friend in need Build a sand castle Learn to juggle Write a skit
Do good deeds Have lemonade on a hot day Blow bubbles Dance
Exercise Climb a tree Run through a field of wild flowers Volunteer
Tickle a baby’s tummy Play with your pet Cheer someone up Roll in the grass
Snuggle a stuffed animal Swing on a swing Eat ice cream Walk barefoot in the sand
Make hand shadows Do cartwheels Go bird watching Give a gift
Play basketball Kiss a parent Watch the clouds Start a garden
Learn a language Play an instrument Go fishing Make a gift
Hike Set your goals Phone a friend Have a picnic
Think happy thoughts Ride a bike Watch
the ocean
Write to friends
Do your best Count your blessings Make a poster Make someone laugh
Improve your score Listen to birds Learn to cook Plan a treasure hunt
Play in the park Go swimming Care for plants Collect something
Keep a promise Trade cards Do magic tricks Build a model
Go bowling Keep a journal Photograph things you love Do better than the last time
Play outside Play on a slip-n-slide Run on a football field Go horseback riding
Braid a friend’s hair Rake leaves and then play in them Run through the rain Eat Jell-O
Chew gum and blow bubbles Make a pizza from scratch Feed the ducks Dream
Think of something you always wanted to know about and learn about it Lay in the grass and take a nap Cuddle up in warm towels just out of the dryer Play hide-and-seek
Play monopoly Massage your feet Sing Christmas carols in July Clean your room
Try to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time Blow a balloon Be nice to someone for no reason Buy something special for yourself
Buy something special for someone else Make a new friend-introduce yourself to someone you’ve never talked to before Spin around and around Think about the world
Appreciate nature Pick up litter Visit your neighbor Think you can do it and do it

List of energy sources that could replace the desire for drugs.

Walking through the woods Visiting an art museum Going to the zoo
Working in the garden Painting a picture Knitting
Good friends Silence (peace & quiet) Dancing
A good book A vacation Communion with God
The support of others Acceptance by others Getting a hug when I feel alone
A neat office or room Organized surroundings Sufficient money
A nature walk Letting go of my mistakes Success
Listening to music A cup of coffee Tea with a special friend
Hearing someone say they love me Meditation Making an important decision
Getting a stroke for a job well done Empathizing Freedom to set my own schedule
Good health Good nutrition A good cry
Dinner “out” Cooperation Doing something with a friend
Competition Having a good argument Doing something courageous
A good night’s sleep Sharing laughter Being complimented on my cooking
Seeing an absorbing movie Feeling centered Seeing a meaning in my life
Doing physical exercise Going to a sports event Somebody asking my advice
Playing a musical instrument Driving in the country Walking on the beach
Sewing Gardening Daydreaming
Writing poetry Achieving an objective Repairing something
Reading the Bible Singing

Are drugs really bad for you?

Yes, they are. People who use drugs usually say they feel great at first and that drugs are the best thing that ever happened to them — but that doesn’t last long. Over time, they’ll need more and more to get the same high — and this really increases the risk of addiction, and in some cases, overdose. And even if they never O.D., drugs can ruin their health, force them to drop out of school, lose friends, and impair their judgment enough that they’ll do some really stupid stuff. Drug users do things they wouldn’t do while sober—they engage in unsafe sex or put other people’s lives at risk on the road. Sure, this might all seem fun for them while they’re doing it but are they going to be laughing through an unwanted pregnancy, a car accident, or during the wait for results from an AIDS test?

Need more proof? Drug abusers can develop psychological problems such as suicidal depression or serious physical problems such as liver damage and brain damage. Of course, there’s also the risk of death from an overdose.

Ok, so I’m thinking about talking to my friend about his drug use.  What’s going to happen to our friendship?

If you step in you might lose a friend, but if you don’t do something to help out, your friend could get seriously hurt or even die. When a friend’s problems include drug or alcohol abuse, it’s worth risking the friendship to save the life. But you also need to take care of yourself. Make sure you talk to someone you trust about your feelings and your friend’s problem. Your parents, a teacher, a guidance counselor, or another adult in your life can help you understand and sort out your personal feelings. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to somebody you know, join a support group for friends and family of addicts. Again, know that you can make a huge difference by reaching out to help a friend, but that it ultimately is up to your friend to help him or herself succeed. Do not feel it is entirely your responsibility, or your fault, if things do not turn out as you hope.

What’s the deal? Why can’t some people handle drinking and drugs?

There’s just not a perfect answer to this question. Drinking or taking drugs is often a sign of trying to avoid problems: pressure from friends, stress in the family, concerns at school, hassles at work, adults are on their case, or feeling different from everyone else in the world. In the beginning drugs can make you feel like you’re escaping to something that’s easier, something that feels better. But after awhile, escaping becomes harder because, over time, the body needs more and more of a drug to get the high that once came easily. Often, you just end up chasing after the first high. Unfortunately, the more drugs you take, the higher the risk of getting addicted or overdosing.

Other people take drugs or drink as an experiment. They figure it is just part of what you do when you’re figuring out your way in the world. Some say experimentation is part of growing up — but some experiments can lead to permanent damage. And for people whose families have a history of alcoholism or addiction, experimenting is really risky. Just like heart disease and cancer, substance abuse often runs in families so, for those people, a bit of experimentation could lead to serious dependency in no time at all. But you’re not off the hook if substance abuse doesn’t run in your family. Addiction is a powerful thing, and it can take hold of anyone at anytime. Basically, if you’ve got the insatiable craving, you’re addicted and it doesn’t matter if you’ve only used once or everyday for months.

The current thinking on addiction is that it is a brain disease that develops after exposure. People are not born addicts (though some are genetically more susceptible to addiction.) But after exposure to a drug, the brain chemistry changes, “a switch is flipped, ” and you become an addict. The thing no one knows is how much of a drug it takes to flip the switch in one’s brain.

Why is it so hard for alcoholics and drug abusers to ask for help?

It’s tough for most people to believe they have a serious substance abuse problem. It’s even harder for them to admit it. After all, nobody likes to admit a weakness. People who have a serious problem with drinking or other drugs might believe they’re not using that much and they won’t get addicted. They deny the problem to themselves — and to everybody they know, and that becomes almost as big a problem as the drinking or drug use itself. Becoming dependent on alcohol or other drugs makes you want to cut off the people who care about you, and you can end up feeling lonely and afraid — and turning to more alcohol or drugs to make yourself feel better. But, the reality is this: Getting better doesn’t work that way. People have to admit that alcohol and/or drugs are messing up their lives.

6 ways to say no to a drink (or drugs)

  1. “No thanks.”
  2. “I don’t feel like it – do you have any soda?”
  3. “Alcohol’s NOT my thing.”
  4. “Are you talking to me? FORGET it.”
  5. “Why do you KEEP pressuring me when I’ve said NO?”
  6. “Back off!!”

Tips for teens

There are many questions and concerns that young people have during their teen years. Some of those pressing concerns are discussed below.

Sometimes I think my parents don’t love me.

Most parents really do love their children, but sometimes they have difficulty communicating that love. Sometimes, things like work or financial problems get in the way of them showing love like they would want. Tell them you love them, and that may help them express their love for you.

My parents don’t understand me.

You may be right! But then again, you need to help them understand how you feel about things, and try to understand how they feel. You may not always agree with them, but never let the communication break down between you and your parents. It helps to share your thoughts and fears with them…you know, they can’t read your mind, so you have to help them understand you.

My parents are always too busy for me.

It seems that way, and may in fact be that way, but you have a responsibility to open up to your parents to let them know you need some of their time. Most of us live very busy lives, and we tend to forget those who are most important to us. Your relationship with your parents is very important, and worth your efforts to get them to spend time with you.

I can’t take this anymore.

Sometimes it may seem like running away is the best solution to whatever you’re having trouble with. Unfortunately, running away only gets you into a worse situation. At best, you’ll be alone, scared, and hungry with nowhere to sleep. At worst, you’ll be a target for those who take advantage of scared kids. Bad things happen to kids on the street, that is why CDS Interface Youth Shelters are here …to offer you a safe place.  No matter how bad it is at home, it is almost always more dangerous on the streets – sexual predators, abusers, drug dealers, and other criminals are waiting to take advantage of young, homeless, unprotected, and vulnerable runaways.

As a young person, there may be many things troubling you. CDS may be able to help you better deal with the problems involving your family, friends, and others. We recommend that you call to speak with one of our counselors. If you are in North Central Florida, you can call the nearest CDS Interface Youth Shelter:  We can help you understand how you’re feeling and how your parents are feeling, and how things really can get better.

CDS Interface Youth Shelters
24 Hour, Toll Free Hotline (800) 854-5377
Interface Central, Gainesville (352) 244-0618
Interface East, Palatka (386) 385-0405
Interface Northwest, Lake City (386) 487-0190

Leave a Reply