Name: Seona P. Thomas
From: Phoenix, Arizona
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others” (Coach Carter). As children, we are asked what we want to become, but never what we’re afraid of becoming. I have realized the addicts that I have come in contact with were never asked what they wanted to become, they were told what was impossible to become. In return, they become who they would have naturally feared ever becoming. They are people who have experienced trauma with no one that asked them how they were, and who would tell them that they can become what they want.
George. George is the man that I would know to be the first addict that I met in my life. He was my neighbor that would come outside late at night and yell. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized he was coming outside to yell because he had reached above his alcohol limit. I would ask my mother why he yelled, and she told me he was an alcoholic. I assumed he just really loved grown-up juice, but it wasn’t until five years later that I realized being an alcoholic or addict of any sort is a disease. For example, if someone is diagnosed with cancer and is put on a medication by their doctor, but refuses to get the treatment that will eliminate the cancer cells in their body- they will never become cured. This is the same for an addict. If someone who is addicted to a substance experiences an intervention or has loved ones that force them to get the treatment they will never be cured of this disease because they don’t want to be. So, they can stop using this substance for days, weeks, months, or even years, but until they are ready to get the help for themselves they will never be able to overcome addiction or cure their disease.
Victor. He is the man that changed my life forever. He is my grandpa. Growing up we had the best of times. I enjoyed the games that he played with my siblings and me. Although he wasn’t biologically related to me, I couldn’t imagine life without him. When I reached the age to start middle school my family had told me that he was addicted to crack cocaine. Three years later, when I was ending my last year of middle school he was in a halfway house. Then when I was ending my first year of high school he was one year clean of drugs and bought a house. I remember visiting him and being around him like old times until this past year he started using crack cocaine and crystal meth. I have realized that a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol will never fully stop being an addict unless they are willing to make that choice for themselves, so it doesn’t matter what anyone does or says.
In 2017, approximately 992,000 people between the ages of twelve and seventeen have suffered from substance abuse (Thomas). According to Issac Alexis and his colleagues, “Children of drug-addicted individuals are eight times as likely to abuse drugs as adults” (Alexis). Taking that into consideration, addiction has become a nationwide crisis due to the long term psychological effects that it has on addicts, and this behavior is repeated throughout generations. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that until an individual is in their mid- 20’s their brain control and decision making has not fully developed, and abusing drugs and other substances like alcohol disrupt their brain development. This reveals that adolescences have an increased risk of having physiological issues due to their heightened chance of having an addiction at some point in their life. Also, they have an increased risk of suffering from other mental health and psychological issues in the future. According to the “Recovery Research Institute”, substance abuse has become an economic crisis in the nation due to addiction costs making up $200 billion of American spending.
For addiction to be minimized in America, the impacts that addiction has on society must be recognized. Scott Thomas states that genetics contribute to 40- 60% of someone’s risk for addiction (Alexis). This illustrates that addiction must be recognized as a nationwide crisis, and people must acknowledge the generational curse addicts place on their children. For example, children should be allowed to speak to a professional that can help them with coping mechanisms to avoid falling in the same path that made others become addicts. This will ultimately decrease the chance of them becoming substance abusers in the future, and increase the education that surrounds addiction and avoiding substance abuse. Moreover, children that live in impoverished areas also have an increased risk of having substance abuse issues. Schools and organizations should offer a wider range of programs that can be offered to children who live in poverty, which will eliminate the number of children from impoverished areas who have an increased risk of being a victim of addiction. Ultimately giving adolescents and young adults the opportunity to receive counsel will avoid the likelihood of them becoming substance abusers, and it can help decrease the generational curse of addiction. Furthermore, implementing programs geared towards adolescences who live in drug-addicted environments in impoverished areas will decrease substance abuse among adolescents.
Carter, T. (Director). (2005). Coach Carter [Motion picture on DVD]. S.l.: Paramount pictures.
Impact: What is the Impact of Addiction? (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2020, from https://www.recoveryanswers.org/addiction-101/impact/
Sepulveda, K., & Williams, S. C. (2019, February 26). One in Three Children Entered Foster Care in 2017 Because of Parental Drug Abuse. Retrieved November 30, 2020, from https://www.childtrends.org/blog/one-in-three-children-entered-foster-care-in-fy-2017-because-of-parental-drug-abuse
Volkow, N. D., M.D. (2020, July 10). Preventing Drug Misuse and Addiction: The Best Strategy. Retrieved November 30, 2020, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/preventing-drug-misuse-addiction-best-strategy