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I Steal Stuff and I Like It

Dear Birdy,

I'm an 18-year-old guy, and I've gotten into a habit that I know is wrong, but I can't seem to stop. Lately, I've been stealing things from shops. It started as a dare, but now I do it for the thrill. It makes me feel brave, and my friends think it's cool. I know it's illegal and I could get in serious trouble, but that risk is part of what makes it exciting. Deep down, I know this isn't right, but I don't know how to break out of this cycle. I'm worried about getting caught, but I'm also worried about losing my friends' respect if I stop. What should I do?

Sincerely,
Tommy

Dear Tommy,

It takes courage to acknowledge that you're in a situation that you know is wrong, and reaching out for advice is a positive first step. The thrill of shoplifting and the approval it brings from friends can be intoxicating, but it's important to recognize the serious consequences that come with these actions.

Firstly, understand that true bravery isn't about taking illegal risks to impress others; it's about standing up for what is right, even when it's difficult. Shoplifting is not only illegal, but it also reflects on your character and the values you choose to live by.

The fear of losing your friends' respect if you stop might be overwhelming, but consider this: friends who encourage you to engage in illegal activities are not looking out for your best interests. True friends will respect your decision to do the right thing.

To break this cycle, you might need to distance yourself from peers who encourage this behavior. Seek out friends who have positive and healthy interests. Engage in activities that give you a sense of thrill and accomplishment but are legal and constructive – sports, creative arts, volunteering, or other hobbies.

If you're finding it hard to stop, consider talking to a counselor or a trusted adult. They can provide guidance and support to help you make better choices.

Lastly, think about your future. Your actions now can have long-term consequences that could impact your education, career, and personal life. You have the power to change your path and make choices that you can be proud of.

Remember, it's never too late to turn things around and make positive changes in your life.

Wishing you strength and wisdom,
Birdy Slade

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