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Kyle's Story

Persistent bullying becomes a waking nightmare for 16-year-old Kyle, whose struggles with negative thinking take center stage when it seems like everyone at school is against him. Feeling trapped and alone, Kyle turns to alcohol to suppress the self-critical voice that echoes in his head. Kyle hides the bullying and the alcoholism from his father Mario, who he believes could never understand what he’s going through. Sensing that something is wrong, Mario shares about his own struggle with PTSD after serving in the military and helps Kyle get comfortable communicating his feelings. Alcohol doesn’t numb the pain forever, but when his negative thoughts become overpowering again, Kyle finds that opening up about his struggle with people who care about him is a more powerful remedy than drinking could ever be.


With the crowd roaring and the game on the line, 16-year-old soccer player Kyle is in a position to make the winning goal – but misses his kick and falls flat on his face. On the ride home, disgust from his teammates and bullying on social media begin to blow up his phone, leading Kyle down a dark road of shame, paranoia, and negative thoughts. He finds that alcohol helps him forget about the bullying and drowns out the voice in his head, but soon learns that drinking to cope only leads to more problems.


After Kyle shares his story about being bullied and how he drinks to silence his negative thoughts with his dad, it’s Mario’s turn to share a painful part of his life with his son. His years after military service were a constant struggle with PTSD, alcoholism, and negative thinking, which Mario had hoped to shield Kyle from. Now Mario realizes that he didn’t need to be a perfect role model for Kyle – he just needed to be someone he could talk to.


Kyle wakes up after a night of drinking to find that he made a fool of himself at a friend’s party. Now the social media bullying he’d been running from is on a whole new level, and his negative thoughts tell him he’ll never live it down. Kyle hides his pain from his father Mario and sneaks out of the house to drink, but he can still hear that voice telling him that it will never get better. Deep in despair, a childhood memory helps Kyle find optimism and prompts him to return home and open up to his dad about what he’s going through.


Kyle is hanging with friends, doing better in school, and exuding confidence – at least, that’s what he tells Mario. In truth, the bullying at school still goes on, and despite talking regularly to a therapist, Kyle is still tormented by his own negative thoughts. Ashamed that he’s not getting better, Kyle begins to spiral back to misery. When he opens up to his friend Jessie about what he’s going through, her support helps him feel less alone. On their ride home, Kyle comes clean to his dad and realizes that he can be honest about his struggles, and that his father will always be there to listen.

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