Name: Samantha Mullins
From: Phoenix, Arizona
A Short Story
A Short Story 3
A Short Story
2020 Addiction Awareness Scholarship
November 28 2020
Growing up, I knew about addiction. Though it was a joke and not serious then, that changed later. The nation is dealing with an addiction crisis because we don’t treat it seriously. We see addicts and think “that won’t be me.” Parents disregard the fact that their children may ever be addicts. The lack of education in our nation is astonishing considering how almost everyone knows someone who has struggled with addiction.
Growing up, I had an uncle. He was the youngest of my father’s brothers. He grew up in a normal white suburban family and neighborhood. He grew up with parents and brothers who loved him dearly. He had nieces and nephews who looked up to him.
Growing up, I didn’t know my uncle had a problem. As a kid, I didn’t notice his swollen hands and feet. I was told he went to the hospital frequently because he had pneumonia. I was told there was no reason to worry that my uncle couldn’t walk. Even after he passed, I didn’t really know what happened. I understood what death was but the amount of anger and sadness confused me.
There are so many consequences to his choice. My grandparents lost a child. My grandmother found consolation in God, while my grandfather questioned his faith. My father found difficulty in forgiving my uncle to do this to us. My youngest cousin never got to meet her uncle as she was born one month after his passing. I lost my favorite uncle who was passionate about Nascar, loved talking to his niece and nephews, and wanted children. My brother fears a sip of alcohol. I fear one day I could be an addict. I fear it could happen to another family member. Society lost a very loving man. A future husband and father. An uncle for not one niece but three. Society gave up on my uncle.
Society gave up on my uncle after going to rehab countless times. They let him leave. He got away with exchanging food for alcohol. Society is still failing. Personally, society is failing me too. I have hardly been educated about the effects of alcohol. And when I have, it’s informative but not impactful. Addiction educational teachings need to be impactful to raise awareness about addiction. They need to include how heartbreaking it is to see a family member go through rehab, the effects of addiction and withdrawal. We are dealing with addiction as a nation because we aren’t educated about how serious this issue is and it needs to be changed.