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On a holiday marked by partying, one woman shares how she overcame addiction

Zoe says she checked herself in to the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge after dropping out of college and using meth.

A lot of adults will be partying this July 4th, but keep in mind that underage kids could be, too.

Today, a 20-year-old woman is sharing her personal story of addiction that could help teens remember the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

"Sophomore summer is when I started driving and I got like a job and that's when I started like, you know, spending a lot of my money on like drinking and smoking pot," Zoe said. "My junior and senior year in high school it was like really bad."

Zoe says she went to school drunk every day.

"I remember going to my car like in between classes and like drinking," she said.

She says friends didn't peer pressure her.

"I was kind of the one like on the opposite side of it," she said. "Like I was peer pressuring friends. When I was a child, like I was really uncomfortable in my own skin. I feel like I did it on my own because I wanted to belong."

After high school, her addiction escalated.

"At first, it was like cocaine when I was going to college and I ended up dropping out my first semester," Zoe said.

She went to a treatment center in St. Paul, but the results were short-lived.

"I was only sober for like six weeks and I bounced right back into my addiction but instead of cocaine or alcohol, this time, it was meth," she said. "And I needed to get help."

This time, Zoe checked herself in to Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. It was July 23, 2018.

In only a few weeks, she'll graduate from the program.

"I will be sober for a year on July 23," Zoe said. "My care team at Teen Challenge is like so fantastic. I love them and, yeah, I can honestly say that I am happy with my life."

Zoe encourages teens today, especially on a holiday like July 4, to think about prevention.

"The holidays were definitely more of an excuse to use. Like, 'oh yeah you know it's okay if I'm like blackout drunk because it's the 4th,'" she said. "I don't know, I'm not going to like tell you not to do drugs. But I'm just telling you what happened to me."

Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge has some tips for parents. Talk to your teen about their July 4 plans, set clear expectations, and involve your teen in coming up with consequences.