Former Nashoba Students Give Back

Katie Coen and Mrs. Carter

Two former Nashoba grads, for the second year in a row, stopped by the high school to share their stories with current Nashoba students. Last year, as part of an activity period, and this year during Mrs. Dumais and Mrs. Peer’s biology classes, Harrison Traylor (Class of 2010) and Alex Whitney (Class of 2005) shared their experiences of addiction and ultimate recovery.

Harrison and Alex both conveyed their stories in an honest and authentic way. They explained how and why they were introduced to drugs and alcohol and how  the road led them back to Nashoba. Both students talked about their anxiousness when entering high school as they grappled with feelings of inadequacy and worry about fitting in. Harrison discussed how he unknowingly began to drink and to smoke as a means to relieve some of that anxiousness, which he believed at the time allowed him to fit in.

One student in the audience asked if they thought that pot was a gateway drug. Both students, in unison, answered that, for them, it was. In reflection they recognized that it may not be a gateway for everyone; however, they both came to understand that they had addictive personalities, which was how drinking led to smoking and smoking led to pills, and pills ultimately led to heroin.

Harrison and Alex both found themselves in places in their lives that they never dreamed of when they were young.  Harrison stated, ” I overdosed about three times. I started when I was 15; I took my first Percocet when I was 15. It wasn’t anything that I planned out, one of my buddies had his teeth out and just gave it to me. I just loved it. That type of stuff could happen to anyone, and not everyone makes it out.”

Harrison has now been clean for 4 years today and Alex for 5. Both men are advocates for programs that help individuals with drug addiction. Harrison commented that he liked to come here and to share his story  with students because he believes that if it can help one student avoid going down the long and painful road that he did., then it is worth it.  Alex commented that, “I wasn’t all that good to Nashoba when I was here, so this is one way that I can [give back]”.

Both young men belong to AA and have made the program a part of their lives. They are now and have been for some time a part of their families lives again, have steady jobs and lead happy and productive lives without the use of alcohol or drugs. Their brave and honest way in which they convey their stories is a true gift to the students at Nashoba. We hope that they continue to share their voices as it is clear,  according to a variety of reports and studies,  that addiction continues to be a serious issue in our state as well as our country.  Thank you to Harrison and Alex, along with Mrs. Peer and Mrs. Dumais, for making this possible for the Nashoba Sophomore students.