We all need an outlet. Music, art, sports, you name it – it’s what we thrive on! When it’s missing, there’s a greater risk of substance abuse filling that void. For young people like Eli, finding the right outlet can be a real – like, for real, real – lifesaver.

My name is Eli and I have been sober, drug- and alcohol-free for 16 months. When I made the decision to get sober, I was really experiencing the consequences of about a year and a half of drug abuse, alcohol abuse and violence towards strangers and people that I love. It very rapidly got out of hand. I was at the point in my life where I couldn’t accept where I was, in terms of friendships, in terms of academics, and society. I wasn’t happy.

So, I made the decision to start again, and it wasn’t an easy one. And it isn’t easy now. There are days when all I want to do is crawl back into that bottle that I spent so long getting myself out of, but I know that I can’t.

When I got sober, I had nothing. The drugs and alcohol were gone, but the emotions were screaming inside of me, and I didn’t have those things to quiet them. I needed something else, but for a short while I didn’t feel that I had anything, and I felt that I was going to explode.

Don't Give Up

Excerpt of Eli’s lyrics from “Don’t Give Up,” a forthcoming new song.

I was really blessed with finding Road Recovery. I say with no amount of exaggeration that Road Recovery saved my life. When you’re getting sober, especially when you’re young, there are things you can do in terms of support and meetings to be around people like you, but that’s where it ends – there’s not much to fulfill yourself creatively. And when drugs become such a big part of life, like they did with me, they take up such a massive amount of time, and I didn’t have anything else to fill that.

Finding a like-minded group of peers, and a creative outlet so that I could channel all of those emotions into something that not only wasn’t killing me, but was positive, that kind of opportunity comes once in a lifetime if at all. I’m able to make music with a group of people that understand where I’m coming from and the emotions going into the lyrics I write. They understand that every spin of the turntable is a way of keeping sane. It’s life-changing, because it shows me that not only is sobriety something that can and is changing my life, but is something that is creative and fulfilling and positive.

DON’T GIVE UP! Show your support for teens in recovery, like Eli, by posting a selfie with the words #DontGiveUp, and tagging @Road_Recovery on Instagram.