Name: kevin Alexander Kanawaty
From: Tempe, Arizona
Addiction’s chain to sorrow
Addiction’s chain to sorrow
I have always been around family members who had minor to severe addictions, whether it was an alcohol addiction, or a smoking one. Fortunately, I wasn’t impacted too greatly by it other than the minor run in with bad breath or a small amount of second hand smoke.
In 2009, my father was hospitalized for heart issues linked to his smoking. The feelings I received from potentially losing my father were devastating, and I built my resolve to help my father fight his addiction in any way that I could. Any cigarettes or lighters found were disposed of immediately, and my father was reprimanded for relapsing. Admittedly, cutting someone off of their addiction at such a tense stage wasn’t the best idea, and the better solution would have been to gradually reduce any usage over time, but at the time, it was the most that an 11 year old could do to help.
As I got older, my father’s addiction seemed to reduce by a large margin, save for the occasional cigarette from time to time. He believed that no one would notice his hiccups, but we always did. I would always become upset, and it always led to us having disputes regarding his health; I found myself giving up on the hope of my father becoming clean one day. The constant repetitive cycle of arguments and false promises led to my complete exhaustion of the topic, and I soon found myself unable to handle the continuous unchanging repercussions. It was my mind of a child that led me to believe that his health was a priority to me, when it wasn’t one to my father. But with a new found understanding of reality, I continued with my life, hoping that it would be the last that I would hear of addiction in my family.
When I was 14, my cousin came to live with us in Arizona, and during that time I found out of his struggles with both drugs and alcohol. He always had a pungent smell of beer and sweat that followed him around everywhere he went. My family was well aware of his drinking issue, but this was a whole new level. His addiction led to the day that we found him overdosing on nitrous oxide, commonly described as “whippets” or “laughing gas”. It wasn’t the self harm or the abuse of alcohol and drugs that struck a nerve, to me, it was seeing just how severely this addiction altered my once recognizable cousin, and destroyed the once happy image I had of him. Watching him in our car on the way to the hospital, gasping for air like a fish out of water, watching as His eyes rolled back and closed, as if he had jumped from a state of complete recognition to pure delirium. It was a terrifying experience to say the least. This made me be aware of the very high threat addiction can become. The constant stress of one’s health, the arguments and fights that follow when trying to be of help, and the very real possibility of death that can come as an outcome is the lesson to be learned from its struggle.
Knowing the effects of being an addict, and experiencing them second handed from family members, really opened my eyes. That fear of dying, losing everything I love, for some unnecessary high will always be a trauma that hits close to home. I have come close to doing multiple drugs due to trauma and mental illness, however the fear always kept me from committing to the action. I believe as a nation, we need to recognize the issues of addictions, and act. We cast aside the seriousness of mental health with jokes or signs of weakness and avoid talking about this truly serious topic. Around 21 million Americans suffer from addiction, over 47 million from mental illnesses; yet only a small percentage of them get the help they need. We can make a difference with donating to causes such as drug abuse treatment and counseling facilities, and halfway homes that help in battling addictions. Even something as small as news segments that bring attention to addiction in our community can go a long way.
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