Your Choice was founded by the Lybert family – Sandi, Rick, Ashleigh and Tyler. The Lyberts work with families, speak at schools and give presentations about their own experiences involving substance abuse.
Tyler started using drugs in sixth grade as a way to make friends and fit in. He was overweight, and other students teased him about it.
“I wanted people to like me, and I wanted to feel accepted,” he said. “And the easiest way to find that was with people who partied because they don’t care about you at all. As long as you’re partying, you’re good to go.”
Tyler’s drug use escalated, from alcohol and marijuana to pills and heroin. He was in and out of jail. His family life deteriorated from the stress of his drug use.
During presentations, Ashleigh speaks about the pressure to be the perfect sister in light of her brother’s addiction and feeling neglected by her parents. Rick talks about being angry that his son couldn’t conquer his addiction, and Sandi explains how she enabled her son to the point that her marriage nearly crumbled.
“I was the standard enabling mom. I protected him, I tried to fix him. I loved him to death. He stole, he lied, and I didn’t tell Rick a lot of it,” she said. “And in every family that we’ve met with, we always see that division. We are very fortunate. Tyler could have chosen to go the other way.”
Tyler entered treatment at age 21 and has been sober since 2008. The Lyberts are passionate about communicating their story and removing the stigma of teen substance abuse in hopes of helping other families.
“We know what we’re doing is working,” Tyler said. “It’s affecting everybody, and people are finally starting to open up and try to figure out what we can do about this.”