Teen Drug Abuse Recovery Exercise: Instructions and Guidelines

In this Activity, you’ll consider your past substance abuse and your current situation. You’ll research, in depth, the possible outcomes for your health, finances, jobs, legal status, and self-respect.

The questions below use links to resources on the Internet – to access those, hold down the “CTRL” button on your keyboard as you click the red Go Find It buttons. Be sure to open and use this Activity on a computer connected to the Internet, to allow access to those links.

What is your teen drug abuse history?

Now is the time to get clear with yourself and the people who support you. In the box below, list all the substances you’ve abused. Include alcohol, controlled substances, over the counter medications, and any other mind-altering substances. You will research the impact of those substances on your body and your life.

Enter your history of substance abuse here:

Now, from the question above, choose the substances you’ve had the MOST trouble with. Choose up to three. Using the online resources in the Peak Choices program, or resources provided by your counselor, caseworker, teacher, or other adult leader, answers the following “research” questions.

Go to the web site called drugfree.org. At that web site, look near the top of the page and you’ll see an option called “Drug Guide.” Click there and select the substances you’re researching. Do this three times for the three substances you’ve chosen.

Wherever these Activities show the button, you’ll find useful resources online. Or, you may substitute your own materials or resources.

First substance to research:

Second substance to research:

Third substance to research:

First substance, impact on your health:

Second substance, impact on your health:

Third substance, impact on your health:

Go to the web site http://www.iwu.edu/ccs/Federal_Drug_Laws.htm where you’ll find typical legal consequences for various drugs. Find the three you’re researching and enter the penalties for possessing small quantities. These are federal laws: your local (city and state) laws will be ADDED to these federal penalties.

First substance, legal consequences for possession of a smaller quantity:

Second substance, legal consequences for possession of a smaller quantity:

Third substance, legal consequences for possession of a smaller quantity:

Now, using the same resources, locate the legal consequences of possessing a larger quantity the substance:

First substance, consequences for possession (trafficking) of a LARGER quantity:

Second substance, consequences for possession (trafficking) of a LARGER quantity:

Third substance, consequences for possession (trafficking) of a LARGER quantity:

Go to the following web sites where you’ll read real stories from teens and parents, and how they have dealt with and suffered with the impact of drug abuse.




Find or hear AT LEAST TWO STORIES for each of the substances you’re researching. Then, enter your reactions below.

Regarding the first substance, write your impressions, feelings, thoughts, reactions to the stories you read:

Regarding the second substance, write your impressions, feelings, thoughts, reactions to the stories you read:

Regarding the third substance, write your impressions, feelings, thoughts, reactions to the stories you read:

General Outcomes

How might drug abuse change your chances for jobs? For college? For other real-world opportunities? Consider the impact on your health, criminal record, and mental abilities.

How might your money and finances be affected? Consider the impact on your jobs and income, what you spend on the habit, and possible legal fines and court costs.

Consider your self-respect: how do you see yourself and feel about yourself? What’s your image of the person you want to be? How do you feel about yourself after using?

Consider who or what else in your life is important to you. A trusted friend? Parents, grandparents, other trusted adults, a brother or sister? A talent you have? A dream you hold? Goals you’ve set? Consider this carefully, then answer the following questions.

Describe what else you value in your life, what’s very important to you:

How might drug abuse impact what is important to you? Look in your heart. Be honest. Be specific…

Creating Change in Your Life: Reaching out

With drug use and abuse, it’s harder to recover alone. You’re definitely not the only person dealing with this. Many people, programs, and resources are out there to help. But YOU MUST REACH OUT TO THEM.

What other resources or assistance are available to you (if you use them or not)?

How have other people you know (or have heard of) sought help successfully?

How have you reached out before, or what has STOPPED you from reaching out before?

Creating Change in Your Life: Making Decisions

Remember the previous Activity you did on decisions and vectors. You have the power. Your life is a series of decisions and intentions. Decide right now to make a decision.

If you DECIDED TO, who could you reach out to for help?

What other decisions could you make now to change your Vector?

HERE and NOW: make one small decision about your drug use. Describe the decision and how you feel about it.

Creating Change in Your Life: Honesty and Sharing

To deal with challenges in life often requires a trusted person to talk to. Someone you know will respect your trust and not talk to others. Plus, if you’re going to change things about yourself and your life, it’s very helpful to talk that over with someone.

If you needed confidential help with this, where would you go? Who could you talk to?

What are you willing to change about YOURSELF (internal) to improve this situation?

What are you willing to change about YOUR LIFE (external) to improve this situation?

Creating Change in Your Life: On Willingness….

Sometimes, you don’t know how to do it. You’re not sure what steps to take first, or you may want to hang on to things that aren’t good for you. But you know you have to change.

The first step is always willingness. This means that even if you’re not entirely ready, or you may feel some fear around change, or you may simply lack the motivation — despite all this, you can still be willing. (This is an important topic to discuss with a partner, adult sponsor, or your group.)

Do you understand this idea of willingness? Describe what willingness feels like to you.

Knowing where you are now and where substance abuse could lead, are you WILLING to shift the Vector?

How could get willing or become more willing? What’s in the way?

Creating Change in Your Life: Maintaining

It’s likely you’ll be tempted to use again. How will you use what you’ve learned to deal with that?

Use what you’ve learning about decisions and your power: what will you do the next time?

Remember yourself in a past situation where you used. Now envision the future and SEE yourself doing it differently. Describe this:

Remember what you learned about intention. Describe a new intention around your substance problem:

Creating Change in Your Life: Staying focused

During your day to day life, you’ll need to continue to stay focused on your intentions. The temptations will fade — how will you keep them away? If you get stressed, or tired, or sad, the temptations may return, or if you return to the same people or places where you used, the temptations may return. You MUST take care of yourself to continue your progress.

How will you take of yourself?

Where will you continue to get support, encouragement, and help?

How will you remind yourself of all you’ve learned and discovered in this Course?


(Curriculum developers: print the following pages for teen drug abuse programs, as handouts.)

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