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Vodka in a water bottle

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I was a troubled child.

I was a short and scrawny boy, maybe because we never had much food in our apartment. 

I was constantly bullied in school. Like my Dad, I kept all my feelings inside. I never told anyone about the suffering I would endure in the playground after school.

Getting plastered at twelve

My Dad was a happy and docile drunk, and a depressed soul when sober. He spent all his money on alcohol and barely held a job.

I took my first shot when I was twelve and drank away the pain. It was a scotch, and it was the first time that I felt good about myself. I felt taller, better looking, and brave.

Dad found me on the bathroom floor, surrounded by my own vomit, and I was punished severely. Not for getting drunk. For stealing his bottle.

From that moment, I chased that high. Whenever I could, I would sneak a shot from Dad's stash and get smashed in my room.

Selling alcohol in high school

One day in grade 8, I poured some of Dad's vodka into a water bottle and brought it to school. That took me to a whole new level.

I started selling sips. Soon, I was selling water bottles filled with vodka. Wasn't too long until the school caught on and boy did I get into trouble.

They confiscated everything and threw me out.

Lessons learned

But they also did the best thing that ever happened to me: they required that I meet with a Chabad Lifeline youth counselor.

My counselor was amazing. She helped me look into myself and deal with the core issues that were really troubling me.

Looking back, I recognize that the reason I felt safe enough to open up for the first time was because the centre and the people in it were so welcoming and non-judgmental.

I finally had someone I can trust, and it was that relationship that really set me on the right path. 

Alexander* 

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For years, schools have been turning to Chabad Lifeline to help children affected by addiction and we have opened our arms to welcome and give them the guarantee that they never have to be alone again.

You can make an impact on kids dealing with some of the same hardships as Alexander by purchasing a raffle ticket in our largest annual fundraiser.

If you already bought a ticket, we greatly appreciate your generosity. If you haven't, please click here to buy a ticket.

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