From teen-age drug and alcohol abuser to sober role model
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Can substance abuse as a pre-teen predispose a child to failing grades, academic probation, removal from activities, introduction to the legal system, injuring himself or others, ending someone's life? All possible, and unfortunately, probable.
As a toddler in Malcolm, Nebraska, Adam's family broke apart when his mother left his alcoholic father because he was unwilling to get help.
Still, growing up, Adam was known as the kid with an infectious smile and a bright future. A boy who lettered in several sports, had many friends, and received a college basketball scholarship. But when he was away from school, coping with reality became difficult. He began using at age 14. At college, his partying intensified and was followed by academic probation and athletic ineligibility. He became a college drop out. He wanted to change. Perhaps a change of scenery would help.
Gifted athletes often get second chances. Another school gave him that chance - albeit on a short leash - one semester to become academically eligible, with basketball back on the table. But Adam's use of drugs and alcohol increased. He was dismissed from school before ever dribbling a basketball.
A fine line already was crossed, and on New Year's 2009, it seemed there was no chance of getting back to the other side. Leaving a party and borrowing a car without notifying anyone, Adam drove off. He doesn't remember where he was going, but it was the wrong way on Cornhusker Highway. He collided with another car head on.
Head bloodied, Adam checked to see if the people in the other car were OK. Thankfully, they were. He returned to a mangled car and kept driving - until the police stopped him. Hurt, with a blood/alcohol level above .4, Adam was uncooperative.
Police put him in restraints, and an ambulance transported him to the Bryan Trauma Center. After treatment for head lacerations and a concussion, trauma surgeon Dr. Reginald Burton convinced Adam to talk to Bryan Independence Center intervention nurse, Dave Dermann.
Thirty-two days at Bryan Independence Center and four months in a halfway house was the change of scenery Adam once sought, but couldn't find.
Today, Adam is a productive young adult, an AA sponsor, and celebrating more than a year of sobriety. He's a full-time student, getting excellent grades, and on a path to becoming a drug and alcohol counselor. There is no more booze, and no more drugs. Instead, he passes time as a YMCA basketball official, a 5th- and 6th-grade flag football coach, a role model, and a vital member of our community.
To learn how you can support Bryan Independence Center, contact the Bryan Foundation at 402-481-8605 or make a gift online.