“My story is an ever-evolving story. If I stay on the right path and people want me to talk, I always will. I enjoy it.”
Allison didn’t give a play-by-play of battle with addiction yesterday, and he probably didn’t have to. The kids in Peabody know his story; they know about the hospitals he woke up in and night he nearly died from an overdose in Lynn.
His jaw did clench a bit, and his voice rose with passion, when he addressed the use of marijuana. The drug, decriminalized in parts of America over the years, was his gateway down a path of destruction, he said.
“If you honestly, in your hearts, believe that using that is fun, you are outside of your mind. I was 19 years old and I almost died twice because I was a pot head. You have to be kidding me.”
Allison told the students that he never felt comfortable in his own skin in high school. Despite all the accolades, all the assurances of greatness in professional baseball and the adulation of his classmates, he felt like he wanted to escape.
“I didn’t know being me was enough. Everywhere I went (the pressure) was like invisible handcuffs,” he said.
To an audience that included people that taught Allison 10 years ago, classmates that have since become teachers, and 12th graders getting ready to take the next step in their lives in six weeks, Allison focused on decision making.
“I didn’t wake up and say ‘I think I’ll ruin my life today’,” he said. “Every negative decision will have two or three negative consequences. In my case, every negative decision I made had 10 consequences.”
Be the best you can be, Allison stressed. Find something you’re passionate about and go after it. He also told the students to cling to their support systems and be true to their friends. In fact, it was an ex-Peabody High teammate, now teaching in Melrose, that first suggested he give anti-drug speeches.