When I looked at the calendar and saw that it was National Weed Day, I thought about a humorous column on dandelions and other invaders from outer space. But then I realized, belatedly, that this is not at all the kind of weed for which the day was christened. Not particularly wanting to celebrate that day, I was prepared to write about something else. But I’ve changed my mind.

I have been blessed with the friendship, on Facebook and in real life, of a large number of teenage girls. I do call this a blessing. I never ask them to be my friend on Facebook because I understand that that is awkward for some teens. But if they ask me, I am honored and thrilled. They are an amazing group of girls. So to them, on this day, I want to say–just don’t do it. It’s not worth it.

Life in middle school and high school can sometimes really, well, suck. There’s no good word for it. Those years are hard, and don’t let anyone tell you to brush it off and “wait until you get into the real world.” You have good reason to sometimes feel like you’d just like to get away from it or feel better. But I am begging you as a friend who loves you, don’t do it with drugs. I’ve seen what happens, and I’m telling you now, it isn’t the easy thing people tell you it is. I’ve seen it in more than one person I love, and I’ve never seen a good outcome from that first little “experiment.” So, just a few things to think about–

  • Think. Think about how your little brothers or sisters or parents will feel if the police come for you, or if they have to visit you in jail, or if they see you high and get scared. I adored my older brother as a child, and he could do no wrong. Until the night I saw him smoking a joint, and my world crashed in. I can’t tell you the how deep that hurt went down. Think before you do that to a younger sibling who adores you and looks up to you.
  • Think about the beautiful faces, voices, and minds you have. Maybe you don’t believe that right now, because adolescent girlhood is a time to doubt yourself. But I believe it. And you will do damage to all three. I love hearing your voices in song and laughter. Keep them strong.
  • Think about what you’ll want to do for the next thrill when that just isn’t enough. They say weed isn’t addicting. I don’t know if that’s true physically, but it is definitely not true mentally. Take it from a man who knows–a friend of ours who spent most of his adult life in prison. He told me once that weed has a strong emotional addictive quality–you just become convinced you need it to get through a situation. Then, you become convinced you need something more, because the nature of any addiction is that it needs more in order to be fulfilled. It has to get bigger and better. Think and ask yourself if you’re willing to take that risk to lose yourself to bigger and better thrills, because you will lose yourself in the deal. You will no longer know who you really are. Who you are now is pretty cool.
  • Think about someone you trust to talk to and hold you accountable when temptations come. If you decide on that person now, you’re more likely to look for her or him later when you need help.

You have such beautiful lives. Get high on life–then let others be jealous of what you have, because that’s the best high there is.

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