Teen substance abuse and violence is still a problem nationwide, leaving many parents scratching their heads for answers. So how do you get this age group to listen to the realities of this lifestyle? Let them hear the straight facts from someone who’s been down the road before – and has been clean for 17 years and gone on to become very successful.
Walter Rossie, Jr. grew up living a life of violence and crime that included evading law enforcement, getting caught red-handed by border agents with a duffel bag full of drugs, small stints of jail time, hopping freight trains and wandering through a dark subculture of homelessness and addiction.
What’s most remarkable is that he managed to breakout of that lifestyle 17 years ago and turn it all around – living an honorable life and reaching success in business, his personal life and serving as a mentor to kids in need, recovering alcoholics, the homeless and others who find themselves where he once was.
Now he’s on a national speaking tour around his new book, Escaping My Shadow, trying to reach as many teens as possible.
Some of his tips:
- Change will only come when you truly want to change. No amount of preaching from friends, family or public service announcements will help you unless you want to help yourself. This is true for overcoming an addiction to drugs and alcohol, becoming independent and getting off welfare or unemployment and even more minor things you want to change in your life.
- Sometimes you just have to hit the bottom. There’s no shame if you hit the bottom or an all-time low in your career, personal life or anything else. The bottom can be the start of going to the top.
- Find role models to emulate. It really is true that we become the people we associate with, so spend more time with people who model the habits you want to mirror and less time with the negative influencers. If you want to move up in your career, network with people who’ve been successful in business. If you want to lose weight, hang around fit people.
- Make it non-negotiable. You don’t negotiate taking a shower, so whatever you want to achieve make it non-negotiable. It’s not if it’s going to happen, but when it’s going to happen.
He says after all the lows he’s been through, if he can turn it around so can every other teenager going through rough times. His hope is that his message will inspire others and that he can help them find success, self-realization and confidence.
More information on the book can be found: http://www.escapingmyshadow.com/
My Take on the Book
What was great about this book was the honesty that the author shows and the transformation that he goes through to take his life in a whole new direction. As you get to know the author you find yourself more and more amazed that a man who was in so much trouble while he was younger was able to turn it all around to now living a life where he is now able to work toward getting all teens on the right track in life. The book was well written and was very inspirational. As you go through this book you will be amazed at the experiences and the depth of despair that this author fell into and you will be amazed at the step-by-step changes that he made to make him the man he is today!
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