Scared the Hell Out of Me

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 3) Something that scared the Hell out of you when you were a child.

I guess this is the one I am choosing since this was an idea for a prompt that I had sent Mama Kat.  Yay and thanks, Mama Kat!  She chose it due to it’s Halloween-like theme but when I sent it to her that was not what I was thinking about.  I was thinking about something that I saw as a child that was completely different and completely real.

I was in 5th grade, it was Spring of 1980 and our whole school was presented with an assembly.  It was done by one man and he spoke about drugs.  When I say speak, I don’t mean he just gave a little talk.  I mean he did a presentation with slides.  The slides were so graphic, the one that stands out in my mind the most was a person’s arm that was infected because he had shot heroin so many times.  I had never even heard of heroin…or cocaine or any drug that he talked about.  I lived in the New Jersey suburbs in an excellent school district.  Everything he said was completely foreign to me, not like it is to kids today.  When I was younger I used to picture drugs looking like chocolate.  I knew that they tasted good but that they were very, very bad for you.  “Drugs” was the only word I really knew.

I saw an assembly, more than one, about how you shouldn’t drink alcohol.  I still drank alcohol.  I have never done an illegal drug in my life, including marijuana.

The man spoke with such feeling, the slides were so terrifying.  And in the end he told us why he had made it his life’s work to go around to schools to talk to kids about drugs…his younger sister had died from a heroin overdose.

There was complete silence in the auditorium.  I would never see another presentation like this again.

This man and his story affected ten year old me so much, for months.  I would have nightmares.  I became depressed.  I became paranoid.  One of the signs of being a heroin addict the man had said was if people wore long sleeves on a warm day.  I would see a girl with long sleeves on as the weather got warmer and wondered if my fellow ten year old classmate was on heroin.  I kept having visions of my father pulling up his sleeve and showing me his arm, all infected because he was doing heroin.

It got so bad that my parents considered taking me to a child psychologist, I was THAT freaked out.

And finally, finally, it got better.  The nightmares and thoughts stopped.

I don’t know how many kids around the country saw this man, but I am sure he was a large part of why I never tried any drugs.  I wonder if he saved any other kids.

I don’t know if they have assemblies like this any more.  I imagine that parents and teachers today would view the presentation and it’s slides as way too graphic.  I imagine that if I got that scared as a kid today, that my parents would have complained like Hell over what the school had showed children as young as nine and perhaps they would have made the school pay for any therapy I might have needed.  Maybe the media would have been called.

As horrific as that assembly was, as scarred as I was by it, I wish that when my son got older he could see an assembly like that.

I am willing to take the risk of scaring the Hell out of him.

Referential Website:  Educating your children about the dangers of heroin addiction is one great way of making sure they won’t ever need to sign up for heroin addiction treatment programs  later in their lives.

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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8 Responses to Scared the Hell Out of Me

  1. Shannon says:

    wow! thank you for sharing that, Emily. That’s a very, very powerful story. I can’t think of any one thing in my life that scared me that badly. But I do recall being told that a cousin had done jail time for Cocaine? I forget now. And that he had stolen from his parents too. It was very much on my mind when the occasion came to smoke it when I was much older. It changed how I looked at drugs too.
    Shannon´s last blog post ..At Arm’s Length

  2. SnipeWife says:

    I have heard about assemblies like that but not for 5th graders. I may be delusional enough to think my 6th grader doesn’t need to see that assembly till she’s in 8th, almost 9th, but I am pretty sure she has some classmates who barely listened during their D.A.R.E. program and are well on their way to becoming addicts.
    SnipeWife´s last blog post ..Writing Workshop: Scared Silly… still

  3. Your story should be under the definition of scared straight. Too bad it traumatized you to the extent it did though. Don’t see the movie “Requiem for a Dream”…it’s about drugs and it’s pretty traumatizing too.
    Jill @ Mommy Inconsistent´s last blog post ..He’ll Never Catch Me!

  4. Wow – what an impact it had on you! The idea of scaring my kids senseless appeals to me, but I would prefer to scare them just short of the point where they begin having nightmares every night. I guess that is the problem with sending a message to such a large group — some will barely hear it and some will need help ever forgetting it!
    Amy ~ Eat. Live. Laugh. Shop.´s last blog post ..That’s a wrap.

  5. Tiffany says:

    Whoa, that must have been a really powerful presentation. I can just imagine your 10-year-old self feeling all upset over it. I remember after I read a book about drugs (I can’t remember the name…something with Alice….) I was freaked out for months! But guess what? I never tried drugs!
    Tiffany´s last blog post ..Olivia Counts by Fives

  6. Jill says:

    My mom took me to something quite similar when I was entering kindergarden. She got me at the right time and the right place. I was all of 5 years old or so. In a police station basement in Trainer, Pa. There were drugs in bags on the table to look at. There were pamphlets to take home (and she still has them) and then it was movie time. Very graphic, very scary and it affected me all the days of my life, so when that dude offered me lines of coke when I was 21 (and it did happen) or the dude offered me to share his needle (long story, but it did happen), I said no. No, no no no. And no. I pictured myself in that asylum, crazy and climbing the windows…just like the guy in THAT movie.
    Jill´s last blog post ..PSA.

  7. It fascinates me that it had that strong of an impact on you. I wonder if it happened a year later, would it have been the same? Or did it hit you at just the right time and place in your life? Very interesting.
    I also have never tried illegal drugs of any kind, but I can’t really pinpoint an exact reason why. My parents made them sound so BAD and scary that it just never appealed to me at all.
    dysfunctional mom´s last blog post ..Frightful Fragments

  8. We’ve become too politically correct for our own good. While I’m a fond believer in promoting the positive, the negative also needs to be addressed. This is a fine example of why and how effective it can be.
    The Nerdy Nurse´s last blog post ..The Millionaire Nurse Review

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