Kyle's last photo taken at his
sister’s wedding the week
before he died (March 2005).
Approximately 2/3 of teenagers who
drink buy their own alcohol.
Use of alcohol is associated with
the leading causes of death and injury among teenagers
and young adults.
Alcohol use at an early age is an
indicator of future drug and alcohol problems.
Alcohol is involved in almost two
thirds of the sexual assault and date rape cases among
teens and college students.
Students with grade point averages of D or
F drink 3 times as much as those who earn
Among teenagers who “binge” drink
39 percent say they drink alone; 58 percent drink
when they are upset; 30 percent drink when they are
bored; and 37 percent drink to feel high.
Almost half of college students who
said they had been victims of crime admitted they
had used drugs or alcohol before the crime occurred.
240,000 to 360,000 of current college students
will eventually die of alcohol-related causes. That’s
comparable to the entire undergraduate body of the
Big Ten dropping dead!
32% of teens said they have gone
further sexually while drinking than they would
10% of teens admit that they have
41% of teens say their parents are
aware that they drink.
Statistics taken from:
Maryland Underage Drinking Prevention
Teen People, June/July 2005, pg. 144.
Make It Home Tonight
By Shelly Hawker
As told to Julie Ferwerda
“Don’t get into a vehicle with someone who’s
under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Don’t do it!!”
The pretty auburn-haired woman stood in front of the classroom
full of teens, pleading with them not to make the same mistake
her son had made just six weeks ago.
On March 27, 2005, only two weeks before
his eighteenth birthday, Kyle Hawker made the decision to drive
home drunk from a party he was attending with his high school
friends. Only a few blocks from home, he lost control of his car
on a curve and careened into a canal. He was pronounced dead at
And now his mother, Shelly, is already
sharing a message with as many teens as possible, hoping to reach
them before they make the same devastating mistakes. That is why
she talked with most of Kyle’s friends just hours after
he died. That is why she is sharing her heart with you right now.
Shelly’s Message To You
The day we buried Kyle, I wanted to put myself in the grave with
him because that’s how much it hurt. There’s a hole
in my life that will never, never be filled. You don’t ever
want to have to put your friends or your parents through this.
Please learn a lesson from my son.
Kyle really struggled throughout his teen years with alcohol.
Starting around fourteen, he began drinking to cover up emotional
pain in his life. Very quickly he developed a drinking problem
and the faith he professed as a younger child got pushed to the
back seat. Even though he had spent a year and a half in alcohol
rehab, he hadn’t yet come to the point where he was ready
to give it up. He knew alcohol was ruining his life and he hated
it, but like any addiction, he also felt like he needed it. He
was enslaved to it. As his family, we all saw and felt his torment.
Kyle certainly didn’t want to die as young as he was, but
he made the choice to leave this world, by drinking and driving.
That was a wrong choice.
I want you to know that Kyle wasn’t a bad kid. He was very
giving and loved his friends more than he loved himself. And when
he messed up, he’d go to his older sister and brother in
tears and say “I messed up again!” The battle was
constantly pulling at him. Ever since his junior high years, and
maybe even before, Kyle had some deep hurts and struggles in his
life that he wouldn’t share with others and tried to handle
on his own.
You can’t do that. Don’t try to handle things on
your own. Get help. What you do with your desperation and pain
is going to mark the rest of your life. Kyle kept a part of his
life to himself that he wouldn’t let God or anyone else
in to help him with. He wasn’t ready to turn all of
himself over to God. That doesn’t work with God. You
have to go all the way with God because whatever part you keep
to yourself is going to self-destruct. God knows you completely
and He loves you unconditionally. He knows exactly what you need
to be a whole person and He is waiting for you to give it all
to Him so that He can heal you.
The human tendency in dealing with pain is to anesthetize our
pain with whatever — busyness, T.V., alcohol, drugs, food,
sports — but it doesn’t work. Like Kyle, if you don’t
allow God to deal with your pain, it will eat you up. Satan will
use it to drive you further away from God . Eventually it will
ruin your life and your relationships.
Maybe things could have been different for Kyle if he had really
understood the ways that Satan worked to ruin his life. Maybe
your life could be different too. The Bible says that Satan comes
to “steal, kill, and destroy.” Satan accomplishes
this through the lies he gets you to believe.
Satan lied to Kyle, and he lies to you too. He’s the biggest
liar in the world. He is going to say, “Jesus can’t
really do all that for you. It won’t hurt to take a little
drink. It won’t hurt to use some drugs or ride home with
this person. You don’t have to listen to your parents. God
doesn’t care about you and He doesn’t want you to
have any fun.”
You have a choice of what you are going to believe. Are you going
to believe the truth or the lies? God does care about you, so
much that He sent His own Son to be put to death in your place.
God doesn’t want to take away your fun; He wants to save
your life. Hopefully your parents want you to grow up to be a
successful person with a meaningful life, that’s why they
try to help you make good decisions. Jesus can do even more than
you can ask or imagine — He is big enough to get you free.
Taking one little drink, using one little drug, or riding home
just once with that person who’s been drinking could be
the end of your life. That’s the truth. It happens every
Know this too. Satan isn’t the only one lying to you. You
can’t trust those friends”
who influence you to do bad things. Don’t look up to older
kids, or movie stars, or athletes as heroes. Jesus Christ is the
only hero you should look up to. You’ve got to tell Him
you don’t want to live this way anymore. Ask Him to help
you take a stand against the evil in this world. He’s the
One who’s here. He’s the One who can help you.
No matter how many people seek Him, God misses you and He’s
waiting to have a relationship with you. When the Lord speaks,
you have to be ready to listen. You have to find a quiet place
to listen, away from the noise of the world, and He will come
and talk with you. The best high you can get is from the Lord,
not from drugs and alcohol. Others will leave you, but Jesus will
never leave you.
I loved my son with all my heart, much like your parents love
you. But remember that there is Someone who loves you even more.
In John 3:16 it says that God gave His Son so that we could have
eternal life, and Kyle believed that. I am so very thankful that
there was a point in Kyle’s life that he did make the decision
to put his faith in Jesus as his Savior. Jesus didn’t die
for some people. He died for everyone, including you. You have
to make the decision of whether you are going to believe in Jesus
and accept His gift of eternal life or not.
One thing is certain. We are all going to die. We are all going
to leave this world. Kyle didn’t make it back to his house
that night, but because of one decision — the most important
decision he ever made — he made it “home.” And
now, you too have the chance to invite Him into your life. One
right decision made from your heart and Jesus will be waiting
for you to come home to eternal life.
John 14:27 -
”Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give
to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled
and do not be afraid."
Signs & Symptoms: Do You Have a Drinking Problem?
Contrary to what many people think, a drinking problem doesn’t
mean you have to be a passed out drunk living in an alley somewhere.
Most alcoholics can look “normal” to the casual observer.
If you or one of your friends have one or more of these symptoms,
seek help before it’s too late.
• Inability to control your drinking—it seems that
regardless of what you decide
beforehand, you frequently wind up drinking too much
• Using alcohol to escape your problems
• Changing from your usual character into ‘’life
of the party”
• A change in personality—does drinking turn you
from Dr. Jekyl to Mr. Hyde?
• A high tolerance level—you can drink just about
everyone under the table
• Blackouts—sometimes you don’t remember what
happened when you were drinking
• Problems at work or at school as a result of drinking
• Concern shown by your family and friends about your drinking
For more great information, quiz questions, first-person stories,
interaction with other teens, decision games, and links to treatment
resources, check out this website: www.checkyourself.com.
For Christian-based resources and help, go to: www.ProdigalSong.com.
Visit Julie Ferwerda's Web site at www.julieferwerda.com.
Visit CBN.com's Youth section.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.