Name: Willow Benton
From: Tempe, Arizona
Short Lived High
Arizona State University
Short Lived High
Addiction, it is something I know a little too well. Ever since I was young my dad has been an addict and my mom has been a drug and alcohol abuse counselor, and coordinator I have seen the ups and downs of addiction and the tolls it takes on different people, as well as how common it is now in 2020.
When I was young, I saw my dad as a hero. I never saw the slurred words, the falling into bushes, the people in and out of the house. Even when he was drunk or high, I just saw my dad. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I realized my dad was an addict. I thought it was pretty ironic because my mom worked in the drug and alcohol abuse counseling world. She tried to shield us from a lot of his downs. The most prominent memory I have is coming home after school and my dad sitting on the couch. I did not know then, but he was already drunk. He told us he was going out with friends and he would be back later. As he kissed us goodbye and told us he loved us, I couldn’t help but think something was off. That night around 2A.M my mom woke all the kids up and told us to get in the car and that we had to go pick up my dad. I didn’t realize he still was not home. As we approached the back alley a couple blocks from the bar, I saw my dad with no shirt on, yelling at what his “friends” had done. Now my dad is no small man, he stands at 6’3, 285 pounds and he is very much a fighter, but he was drunk and stumbling. At that moment I saw what my dad was, an addict.
Now and days the access to drugs and alcohol is at an all time high. The consequences that come with these decisions are also just as high. My dad had lost his jobs, lost money, lost his freedom due to DUI’s and lastly lost his family for a while. The constant “norm” now for the younger generation is to do drugs to be “cool” or “popular”. That if you don’t go to parties and drink, that somehow makes you uncool. We have to stop looking at it that way. As with a lot of people my age, I used to think that I couldn’t have fun without drinking, but who created that rule? The nation as a whole turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of a sore part of their lives which aids into addiction. We must educate instead of portraying the life of drugs and alcohol as only a fun party time.
Drugs are harder to know what you are actually doing or getting when you try a new drug. I had a friend in Highschool, she was the captain of the varsity soccer team, a 4.0 student and had just gotten a scholarship to college. It was becoming more and more popular to go to raves. As many people know raves are a perfect marketer for pills such as molly and ecstasy. Many do not know that these pills can often times be laced with other drugs such as speed. She went to the rave with her boyfriend, never knowing that that may be the last time anybody would see her. Her first time popping a pill was her last. She died that day trying her first pill. The consequences of these choices are deadly.
We as a nation must educate at a younger age and show the bad, not only the party life that goes with drugs and alcohol. That one hit, or one sip could turn into a life-long addiction and poor choices. Addiction doesn’t just affect the one addict, it affects their family, their friends, and their loved ones. We as a nation have to stop putting the stigma on addiction. We need to be more compassionate and understand addiction. It is not just a simple choice of whether to stop or not. It is not just an easy thing to switch off. Often times addicts need help, and also many suffer from different mental illnesses as well.
Addiction is a scary road. You never know what way is up or which way is down. You sometimes want to try and help yourself, but you don’t know how. My dad was lucky enough to want to eventually get out. At 48, he was dealing with the repercussions of his actions. He is now 2 years sober and I could not be prouder. It is not ever over for an addict. They deal with the temptation daily. Especially alcohol being so accessible, it is a hard time. He now knows his triggers and knows when to say something is bothering him. He now understands that he may want that beer or shot that second when he has anxiety or stress but by taking that sip he will only be on a short lived high and he will have to come back and deal with that issue as soon as he is sober again.