Name: Cassidy Ryan
From: Hoffman Estates, Illinois
My Experience With Addiction
I have had a great deal of hardship when it comes to addiction. My life and my family have been torn apart by it in a variety of ways. I take great pride in saying that my family and I have moved past that portion of our lives now. Although I have dealt with many harsh and stressful times, I have pressed on through them, and ultimately helped me grow as a person.
When I was a little girl, my cousin, Scottie, grew up like an older brother to me. He was exactly ten years older than me and lived at my house every weekend until I was seven years old. His dad, who was divorced and had full custody of him, was in the military and was also trying to reenter the dating scene. This pretty much meant that my parents raised Scottie as their own, and he treated me like a little sister. He taught me how to tie my shoes, play soccer, and live life to the fullest. He was a cousin, brother, and best friend all in one person.
Once he left for college, he ended up heading down a few wrong paths. He started doing drugs and basically quit college. He made some horrible life decisions for himself and ended up overdosing with heroine multiple times, receiving three DUIs, and even spent over a year in prison. He went through many rehabilitation centers, but nothing was working. Until he met Denell, the love of his life. She was also someone who struggled with drugs, but had three years of sobriety when they met. Although their relationship may not have been based on the healthiest things, they made it work and loved each other the best they could. She had a way of taking care of him, and my family and I are eternally grateful for her. To this day, we still have a great relationship with her.
Their story doesn’t end happily ever after, though. One night, Denell found Scottie at their house using again, so she ended up staying at a friend’s house for her own good. When she went back to their house later that week, she found Scottie laying on the floor, he overdosed and passed away.
It has been over three years since he has passed, and I still think of him to this day. He was such a happy guy whenever he was around, which is so scary to me. He was hiding so much because of an addiction. I used to feel so much guilt for not being there to help him, but I had no way to do so as a young teenager who had no idea what was going on. I cried for weeks over his death. I used to text his phone number every day after he passed, knowing there was no way he’d see them. I wear a necklace with his ashes in it and have a little urn in my nightstand. He was one of the most important people in my life, and was taken by an addiction.
I have so much fear of addiction. My father, grandfather, and cousin struggled with different forms of it, so it runs in my blood. I have vowed to myself since the day Scottie passed that I would never do anything that could be a source of addiction, and I haven’t. The pain that loved ones go through is never worth the sensation from fulfilling an addiction.