Payson High School's Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) started off its annual week-long drug and alcohol Awareness Week with "Coming To," a touring theater group of talented and dedicated teens who are recovering addicts.
The four young people under the direction of Trysche Dhevney, herself a recovering alcoholic, presented what Dhevney called "not just another drug show" Monday at the high school auditorium.
The four teens interacted with the audience and went through different scenarios that occur with addiction: dialogues between addicts and their parents, friends and boyfriends or girlfriends.
Venus, 18, Angela, 18, Robbie, 15, and Josh, 18, talked about their own problems and answered questions from the audience of high school students, teachers and administrators. Robbie said he became a "playboy" when he was just 11. Josh was arrested for possession of marijuana.
"Dropping acid, smoking pot, you name it -- I did it all," he said.
Angela, a student at Rincon High School in Tucson, said she tried to make it seem like everything was OK when her world was falling apart. "At 11, I tried my first drug. By 13, she was using drugs regularly.
Venus talked about her daily routine of getting ready for school, going to the bus stop, going to school and spending the rest of the day skipping classes and getting high. "My dreams and goals went up in smoke," she said.
"We're never too young to die," Robbie said, "How did we get so lucky when our families and friends have been taken. If we don't pick up that fix, pill, pipe, drink or joint, we're OK."
The four recovering addicts told the audience that addictive people aren't bad people wanting to be good, they're sick wanting to be well.
All four have been sober for a little more than a year.
"Sometimes it's hard to be sober," Josh said. "Sometimes I don't want to feel anymore. But when I get up here (on the stage), I feel free -- I feel good."
District Health Specialist Dean Pederson told the audience that there's counseling available at the high school.
"I take it really seriously," he said. "I think it's something we need to address."
"Coming To" is featured in the May issue of "Teen People Magazine" and can be found on the Web site at www.comingto.org.
Today (Tuesday), PHS SADD will sponsor a day of remembering to stop the violence and will pass out purple ribbons in memory of the tragedy at Columbine High School. Wednesday, SADD members will sell nonalcoholic drinks at the school for $2. On Thursday, the group will hold its fourth annual Buckle Up Challenge. Awareness week will end Friday with a "Days of Respect" retrospective during which students will be asked to consider what kinds of behaviors they'd like to eliminate from the world. SADD has ordered 100 pizzas to cater lunch Friday for all the students at the high school.