The youth-written stories in YCteen give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "I Gotta Have It"
I Gotta Have It
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Lesson for "I Gotta Have It"

Addicted to Nicotine
The writer of “I Gotta Have It” describes how, as a 12-year-old, he smoked his first cigarette and became addicted by 14. Now 17, he hasn’t gone a day since without a smoke, and although he knows he should them give up—his throat hurts and he gets winded playing basketball—smoking also calms him down. He might go cold turkey as a New Year’s resolution.

Prompts for discussion and/or writing:

• The writer says smoking keeps him calm. What kinds of things do you do to keep calm? If smoking is one of them, can you see other things you might do in the future to calm yourself?

• His parents punish him for smoking by lecturing him and not giving him money. What might be better, more effective ways of helping him to quit smoking?

• The writer is addicted to smoking. Are there habits or possessions you feel you can’t do without, but that you might want to give up? What are they, how do you feel about them, and how might you go about giving them up?

• Two students, playing the writer and a friend. The friend smokes, wants to quit, but doesn’t think he can do it. The writer has finally quit smoking and wants his friend to know how he can quit if he puts his mind to it.
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