Julia Garcia tried to dispel the myth that students need sex, alcohol and drugs to create the perfect college years, and she revealed the dark reality of relying on any of the three to get through college.
Garcia founded “TRUality – the TRU movement” because she wanted to create an organization that could prevent students from following the same destructive and painful footsteps which she had experienced as a youth. On Wednesday night, she shared her experiences and lessons she had learned through the years with audiences at University of Miami’s Whitten Learning Center.
Garcia said she started experimenting with drugs, sex and alcohol around the ages of 13 or 14. She was open and honest about her struggle with those vices and how men used her addiction to take advantage of her. In front of a crowd, Garcia recounted her sexual assault through spoken word.
“After a few more shots and a handful of sloppy dance moves, I found myself being led by a man into a far dark room and as he turned behind me to close and lock the door all of a sudden this drinking game, it didn’t feel so fun anymore. And as I began to fade in and out of consciousness and pieces of the night went black, I wished that my best friend alcohol hadn’t left me all alone and I begged and pleaded for him to just please come back, but my cries were drowned out by the sound of laughter coming from a group of boys who were using me and a hypnotic bottle as a ploy for their satanic sexual toys,” said Garcia.
Garcia remembered waking up the next morning unable to lean on her best friend, alcohol, for it only left her with a pounding headache and her clothes on the ground. Her feelings of shame only made her want more alcohol to suppress those feelings until she ended up on the verge of losing her soccer scholarship and was forced to get help.
Garcia entered rehab at the age of 20. She told the audience, “you will either lose yourself or find yourself.” After her spending time in rehab developing new coping skills through poetry and writing, she decided she wanted to provide students with the resources that that might have prevented people around her from losing their lives to drugs and alcohol.
The TRU movement infuses motivational speaking with the arts, incorporating theatre, music, dance and slam poetry into their keynote speeches.
PIER 21 is the university’s prevention, intervention, education and referral program for alcohol, drug use, misuse and dependency. They chose to have Garcia come speak to the student body because of her battle with alcohol as a student-athlete and the number of stories she has that can relate to the average students.
“I hope that anyone who stumbles across this article, or the video, or who came here tonight, or stumbles across my book ‘Somewhere In Between,’ they know that whatever they are going through they are not alone and at any moment they can rewrite the endings to their stories,” Garcia said.