Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2021 Round 1
To raise awareness as to the causes, consequences and treatment of addiction, Seasons in Malibu, an addiction treatment center, is seeking to reward essay applicants $1,500 in scholarships- for students entering college or already enrolled in a higher education institution.
The aim of the annual scholarship is to bring attention as to why addiction, in various forms, is becoming more prevalent in our society and how can we address the issue of an increasing number of people dealing with addiction.
The scholarship is open to any major who can shed light on this issue. It may be a personal story that you can share or a more researched essay.
QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED IN YOUR ESSAY / APPLICATION
- Why do you believe we as a nation are dealing with an addiction crisis?
- What are the consequences of this addiction for the individual and society?
- How can we remedy the crisis on both the individual and societal level?
by Kaycee Evans
This essay shows the way my life crumbles as my dad's addiction escalated quickly.
by Amber Nicole Mathis
With addicting products being so easy for people to get in touch with, help do your part to stop the chain. It's today's sad reality that so many lives are destroyed by addiction.
by Ahlara Faith Kent
“Trauma not transformed is trauma transferred”-Tabitha Mpamira-Kaguri. It is my belief and personal experience that unhealed trauma is a root cause of addiction. I also believe that, as a nation, we are dealing with personal, collective, and intergenerational trauma. My remedy for the addiction crisis is through teaching resiliency, self-empowerment, and connection.
by Laura Madison
An essay on my personal experience with addiction and those who have been addicted, as well as how these things can be prevented and helped.
by Moriah Lit
Hello! Thank you for your consideration for this scholarship. This is my story of addiction, awakening, and finding the journey of success through education. I appreciate the committee's consideration and look forward to hearing from you in the near future. Thank you.
by Alex Rice
“I can do it by myself.” My mom says this was one of the first sentences I learned to speak, and repeated over and over. What a mantra. It wasn’t until about 28 years later that I truly accepted, no, I can’t. I grew up in socially rigid, emotionally unsupportive environments; I didn't know about developmental psychology or mental illness, or people who weren’t like the ones I knew. Because of my anxiety, abuse, and social, gender, and sexual identities, I spent a majority of my life feeling lost, different, wrong, trapped. I was told to get therapy to get “fixed”. I did eventually seek therapy, and a supportive community, where I learned that it’s not about “fixing”, but the transformative power of acceptance, trust, co-regulation, and open conversations about mental health. It wasn’t something wrong with me, it was an environment that wasn’t right for me. When we hear “addiction” and “dependency”, many people might usually think of opioids, amphetamines, alcohol, tobacco, heroin. Let us widen our perspective, as it can involve much more than that: exercise, food, social media, gambling, theft, relationships, sex, shopping, games. I have experienced a few of these personally at different points in my life, brought on by different circumstances. And for me, the thing that was common among them was a profound sense of isolation. And isolation begets more isolation. I believed that no one else understood me and my experience, no one else was there to support or help me, and I could manage myself alone. I was missing connection, a sense of felt safety, and control. So I disregarded what it was costing me, and tried to gain control in the only ways I could find: these behaviors. In most spaces, discussions of mental health and identity are enshrouded by darkness, ignorance, stigma. Shame is embedded into our cultural existence - about mental and physical health, sexuality, bodies, finances, ethnicity, accomplishments, addictions. It’s often tied to a cultural belief in, and sometimes a moral judgment on, the imperative of self-sufficiency: many of us are taught independence, external self worth, caught up in the cycle trying to survive. We can do better than just survival. We’re meant to be interdependent; this is how we thrive. I am pursuing a degree in social work because it also incorporates the truth that, while we have individual strengths, no one exists in a vacuum. The ecosystems perspective shows us that our ability to thrive depends on how supportive our environment is. Identity and physical health and mental health are intertwined. An abundance of research and lived experience has shown these connections, the social determinants of health, and how they can contribute to care disparities and outcomes. For marginalized and vulnerable populations, an obstacle course of barriers may exist between them and the care they need and want. There is an African proverb that says, “The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” Absorb that for a moment, and then let’s think about child development. Studies in child development show us that we are born hard-wired to seek support from our caregivers. (Purvis 2020). As infants, we do not know how to meet our own needs for food, water, shelter, safety, and comfort. So what do infants do when they have a need? They cry. Their sympathetic nervous system is amping them up. Then, ideally, a caregiver comes to comfort them and meet their needs, and their parasympathetic nervous system calms them down. Baby cries, caregiver comes, baby is comforted. This cycle happens over and over, and this is what forms the basis for attachment and mental health and neural pathways for regulation. We only learn to regulate and learn that people can be trusted by having someone consistently come and show us. So what happens when our caregiver isn’t consistent, or is absent, or abusive, or ill, or chronically stressed figuring out how to survive? This child may learn and internalize messages like, “others are not trustworthy”, “I am not valuable and I don’t matter”, “my voice and my needs are not important”, “I am alone” (Purvis 2020). This child may constantly be in that activated, high-stress state, a state that the body is not meant to be in chronically. When we don’t receive adequate nurturing, attunement, and mentoring, we learn that we must find other ways to cope and seek out those brain chemicals. There are myriad paths, and if I started making a list, it would look a lot like the things that we find people being addicted to. I am not laying the blame on parents and caregivers who have failed, but on a societal system that has failed the parents and caregivers. One that has predicated its success on our isolation, has historically created division by ranking human value, has grown to value people primarily as producers and consumers, has commodified human interaction, and has maintained a narrow range for what means success and what is socially acceptable. If parents and caregivers cannot thrive, their children are unlikely to, without intervention, and a cycle is created. Even when parents and caregivers are able to be at their very best, children must then venture out into a world that is filled with barriers and so often not designed for them to succeed, and not designed supportively. This is sometimes controversial, but I believe it is harmful to forcefully take away a person’s coping mechanism when they don’t have something effective and solid to take its place. Cutting off the source of a person’s addiction, with no other support in place, will not help them, eliminate their addictive behaviors, or address its roots and causes. Let’s take an environmental look at a person’s life: What risk factors are present? How can we remove some of them? What protective factors? How can we gather and build up more? But it’s not enough to just focus on the person’s life, choices, and resources. We must also take a wider environmental and societal view and how the various systems are either supporting or maintaining barriers for this person’s success, and work towards equity and justice. The answers are not simple, many are products of our system, and they’re not something a person can solve on their own. Mental health, illness, and social isolation left unchecked can lead down some dark paths: domestic and social violence, overdoses, suicide, addiction, incarceration, burnout. Mental health care is lifesaving. Connection is lifesaving. To me, “lifesaving” doesn’t only mean “prevention of death”, and “healthcare” doesn’t just mean “taking care of sickness”. It also means helping a person’s life to be thriving, filled with support, feelings of value and worth. It’s fighting for justice, equity, and meaning for those who have been denied dignity. It’s empowering people with education, resources, access, and a sense of agency in their life and health. It is not asking a divisive, “what’s wrong with you?”, but an inclusive “what happened to you to bring you to where you are?” In every interaction we have, we have choices: cast judgment and contribute to the toxic stress in their life, which can accumulate to make epigenetic changes towards negative health outcomes; or with kindness and compassion, show them they’re valuable simply because they exist, helping to build their resiliency. By working together, by learning interdependence, by learning to see a person’s humanity before anything else, we can lift up everyone. My work and my passion is to help save lives by seeing it as a process of ongoing investment, empowerment, and togetherness. For me, one of the primary messages of social work is, “you are not alone, and you shouldn’t have to be”. I’m struck by research like The Trevor Project’s 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, reporting that “LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult were 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year” (The Trevor Project, 2019, Summary section). Just one person. I want to be that person for as many people as I can, and help build a world where those people are easier to find. I hope you will join me. References 1) Purvis, Karyn (2020, January). Trust-Based Relational Intervention. Training presented at the meeting of O.C. United, California. 2) The Trevor Project. (2019, June 27). Research Brief: Accepting Adults Reduce Suicide Attempts Among LGBTQ Youth. https://www.thetrevorproject.org/2019/06/27/research-brief-accepting-adults- reduce- suicide-attempts-among-lgbtq-youth/
by Jeffrey Radwell
The most inspirational person in my life has undoubtedly been my mother. She was a passionate educator receiving Blue Ribbon awards of excellence from three U.S. presidents. She helped found the Neshaminy Education Support (N.E.S.T.) in the Neshaminy School District of Pennsylvania. N.E.S.T is an intervention and prevention program for students at-risk or in active crisis. She was also an addict who remained committed to her sobriety from alcohol for my entire life. She knew firsthand the importance of mentorship in helping her students live positive, drug-free lives. Unfortunately, on November 1, 2011, she died from liver cirrhosis. Despite unwavering teetotalism, she had become addicted to prescription opioids after a car accident ten years prior. A decade of these “medications,” legitimately though unethically prescribed by a pill mill physician, had ravaged her liver and internal organs. Her physiological health deteriorated quite suddenly. I found her one afternoon completely jaundiced, even the whites of her eyes had yellowed. She was incoherent and unable to speak properly. She was transported by helicopter from our local emergency room to Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Despite receiving excellent care, she died less than 24 hours later. I learned several things from this experience. Broadly, that life can be fleeting. More specifically, that absolutely no one is immune to the deeply rooted destruction of addiction. Even the most educated and seemingly successful individuals can easily succumb to its devastation. Destruction and devastation are not hyperbole, as addiction eventually erodes every aspect of a person’s life. Additionally, despite appearances, everyone is struggling in some way with some issue, big or small. The world needs people committed to not just treating disease, but actively those who act toward healing the entire person. Sometimes that’s as simple as giving a brief message of encouragement or taking the time to truly listen. Often, this involves more effort, particularly when addressing the profound psychological impact of addiction. Most importantly, I learned that I want to be one of those people. After my mom’s death, I was overcome with grief. This wasn’t helped by the bleak winters in Philadelphia. I moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where I am currently enrolled in an Associate of Science in Nursing program at St. Petersburg College. What appeals to me most about nursing is the field’s holistic approach to health. Nursing considers the entire human condition, environment, family and social support, psychology, diet, etc. That was important to me because I’ve seen first-hand how positive changes in these areas can significantly improve a person’s life, sometimes more than a medical treatment alone. Addiction is complex, and major life changes are often necessary to break free of its grasp. Therefore, I feel my role in helping others win their battle with addiction would be done best as a nurse. I can also think of no better way to honor my mother’s legacy. Considering my experience, this scholarship award wouldn’t just be symbolically significant, but also a substantial means of support toward achieving this goal.
by Dorothy Lorraine Anderson
How addiction and mental illness can have horrible outcomes
by Jonathan Blake Dycus
This essays outlines one teachers hope hope of bringing awareness to potentially terrible consequences of addiction in their lives.
by Lorraine DeSoto
As I Certified Recovery Peer Specialist in Florida, I have worked with the Diversion Courts. The majority of Mental Health Clients that I have worked struggle with some sort of addiction. The lack of education and community resources restricts those with severe mental illness from getting the proper care. Self medication of mental illness almost inevitably leads to encounters with the criminal justice system. Through my work with Mental Health Court and other diversion courts, I learned that the shocking reality is that most of these individuals do not have any access to mental health care prior to being arrested. The majority of Florida's mental health funding goes to the criminal justice system. The biggest problem remains that once a client completes these programs all access to these resources end. Thus, the never-ending cycle of substance abuse and incarceration continues.
by London Wood
You never know what someone's going through.
by Joseph Johnson
Through extended metaphor I explore my troubles with alcoholism and how my story may help other rid help heal their garden aswell.
by Elijah Enoch Amesquita
a brief description of addictions and how they affect the world
by Jacob Isaac Carter
This essay is about how my father died from a DUI.
by Levi Curvin Morgan
I have writtent this essay to express how I see adiction affecting todays society. There are many different kinds of addiction, whether it be drugs or alcohol, it is an addiction and it is a disease. It is not to be taken lightly. Addiction ruins lives, breaks up families and can cause chaos in the life of everyone it touches.
by Ericka vrooman
This essay is based off what should be done to fight against addiction
by Darby Gwynn Kurtz
I am a grateful recovering addict named Darby Kurtz and I have come here to express my experience, strength, and hope. Addiction is a disease that has affected many Americans and their families. In my essay I outline my story, as well as my goal to pursue a degree in addiction counseling. I aim to institute a program in America's school system that truly defines the consequences of drug addiction as well as educate about the behaviors that start way before the first drug. I believe that we need a louder voice in the ears of high school students. I was once an innocent Catholic private school girl, and in the last 365 days I had been struggling with a heroin addiction. Currently I am a part of the Narcotics Anonymous program and have been living in a sober house for women and children hoping to reunite with my two year old son. I hope you enjoy my story, and learn that this disease doesn't care who you are- it will engulf you in its grip before you can even realize whats going on.
by Haley Schattschneider
This essay describes the ways in which I believe we need to tackle and raise awareness for the addiction crisis in America. Change starts with us.
by Nicholas Goveia
The Nation Wide Crisis, Addiction
by Camilia Hernandez
The crisis of addiction in America and how we can help this.
by Jillian Grenn
This is about how addiction has affected my personal life and the experiences I have gone through. I have gotten some insights to addiction and the best way to beat it and it has been a huge part of my life.
by Gillian Garriques
In this essay, I outline how I have struggled being raised by an addict. I discuss how we can prevent the spread of this disease and how we need to put an end to the stigmas and bias's against those struggling with addiction.
by Adriana Kwiatkowski
I have witnessed firsthand the detrimental effects addiction can impose upon an individual and his family. As the daughter of an addict, I have experienced many heartbreaking, disappointing, and even frightening situations that have greatly influenced my persona. These events have given me a unique perspective on life and taught me many life skills that I carry with me every day. My story is not one of sadness or pity, rather it's a story of empowerment.
by Maria Espericueta
Growing up with a family history of addiction can have long term effects.
by Tracey Enser
My personal experiences living with a loved one in active addiction have opened my eyes to what needs to change to help these individuals be successful.
by Gabriella Sutherland
“Porn can be a great way to explore fantasies and stoke arousal, and plenty of people watch porn with no adverse effect on their lives” – Teen Vogue, January 21, 2021. The youth, the preteens and the young people of 2021 just read on a teen focused website, that a long talked about addiction is okay and has no effect on their lives. They are being taught that porn is a normal thing. That acting on this viewing of porn does not affect relationships or create unrealistic expectations- that it won’t break up a marriage or essentially ruin any aspect of their lives. This new social norm has created a new addiction crisis within the teens and preteens of the world, focusing on sex and their self-image. Aside from the porn aspect, social media and its platforms, including Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok, are secretly harboring what we try to teach our children against every day- that their worth is only measured by how many likes they get and how “sexy” or “hot” they are. These youth-focused platforms that they see every day are constantly spewing advertisements drawn towards sexy clothing, famous celebrities on sexual music videos, dating apps and more. Your kids are at school hearing about famous Tik-Tok videos going viral that involve sexual movements, posing, innuendos and jokes. Teens and preteens coming home and getting directly on their phone, making videos, and posting photos with filters that alter faces and add make-up. Your kids then watch in suspense and immediately get saddened if they do not go viral after trying to showcase their body in a sexual way to the world- because it’s “cool.” These posts that do not receive enough “likes” then encourage your child to feel worthless, ugly, and no longer worthy of love and attention. These are the things that go on in an average household now with preteens and teens, and even into adulthood. This constant need to feel loved by others (a natural and completely normal thing that is important to have a happy and fulfilling life) is being used to the advantage of ad marketers and the porn industry. Most porn addictions begin at a young age and most kids are introduced to it by their peers. Social media and the internet has reached a new age and has been focusing their attention more than ever on our youth of the world. The recovery village states, “Addiction occurs when an individual cannot control their impulse to view porn to the extent that it begins to negatively affect aspects of their life. Often, they end up turning to more hardcore and sometimes illegal content to satisfy their increasing need for stimulating material.” Porn use can lead to numerous issues in relationships and even end marriages, leading to feeling worthless and unaccepted, causing depression, anxiety and more. At its worst, porn and negative views of sex in society can lead to a person being susceptible to being sex trafficked and/or selling their bodies on the streets/over the internet in order to fulfill that need of feeling loved and important. To end this crisis on porn and the lack of individuality in society, I believe it needs to stop at the core. But how? The porn industry, according to The Recovery Village, racks in about $17 billion dollars each year. On a societal level, porn needs to be more addressed as a negative thing. Society, blogs, websites and social media need to be more transparent about porn and it’s negative effects on people’s lives and relationships. Facts about porn and statistics about negative impacts need to be shared more regularly to combat the positive view that society has spun on it. Ads need to stop focusing on sex because “sex sells”. We need to be more positive and encouraging in our societal circles when we hear that addictions are being tackled. Instead of normalizing sex and porn, we need to be more active in ending the stigma. We need to encourage individuality in every person, putting a special focus on the youth of the future- ensuring that they know they are worthy of all the love, not needing all of society to accept them to feel important and worthy.
by Laney Elizabeth Waters
This essay is a personal story about an uncle of mine and his battle with addiction. How it started, how it has affected his life and how hard it has been for him to quit and move on from it. His story has really shown me how serious addiction is and how important it is to stay away from any addictive habits or substances.
by Evan Tyler Gomez
My essay is about Addiction and how it has affected people, I talk a lot about the people I have come across including some of my family that has been addicted to something. I myself am not an addict to anything but I don't look down upon those who do. A big theme in my essay is that addiction is not a crime but a disease and the people hooked on drugs should be helped and cared for, not locked up in prisons where they have easy access to those drugs. as a society we tend to look at these people as bums who don't want to work and just want to keep getting high, while yes they don't contribute much but not all of them want to be like that, they cant escape it and have been that way for a long time due to neglect