The AA Meeting that Charged My Addiction Awareness by Adanna Onwuka
I don’t have an addiction, but I see you. I don’t have an addiction, but I hear you. I don’t have an addiction, but I mourn with you. I don’t have an addiction, but I see the struggle that you face daily. I don’t have an addiction, but I will stand with you. J.K Rowling has profoundly said, “Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other peoples’ places.” I believe that it is important for others to step into the shoes of those struggling with addiction to remedy the addiction crisis. Empathy is a power that humans can use to improve the lives of others. For me, my new shoes manifested in my first AA meeting.
When I first heard the phrase AA, I immediately thought of batteries. I wondered why in the world batteries were being used in the context of a mental health institution. Even with this confusion, I agreed to participate in an AA meeting. I just wanted to have a change of atmosphere. I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into. At the time I was getting treatment for issues with my mental health and wasn’t even in the right state of mind. Still, my experience with this AA meeting opened my eyes to a new perspective that I never would’ve thought I’d experience. I eventually realized that AA stood for Alcoholics Anonymous. It was an open meeting so everyone was invited including people who had no addiction or another type of addiction that wasn’t alcohol. I felt like an outsider intruding on other people’s safe space. I had no issues with addiction but I could sympathize with them as I heard their stories. One story that stood out to me was a young girl in her 20s that talked about how her addiction affected her education. She talked about how her grades plummeted as she spiraled down the damaging path of addiction. It made me realize that it was stress that causes people to go towards addiction. As a nation, we are riddled with various stressors of life. It’s not simply “first world problems.” These problems are legitimate. This perspective has made me realize I wanted to help people like her struggling with addiction.
I want to be a hero in the classroom and be a student’s guide when they are facing mental, academic, or behavioral problems. I want to be an advocate for mental health and addiction especially when a student’s education is at risk. These are the aspirations of a future school psychologist. I believe that improving the addiction crisis among students lies in providing more mental health professionals in schools. It also lies in bringing more awareness by hearing the stories of others. This awareness will create individuals willing to be a support for those facing addiction.
That AA meeting definitely wasn’t a meeting related to batteries, but it definitely charged a fire in me to help others. It charged an awareness that addiction is more than beneath the eye. It is important to be aware of the addiction crisis that is fueled by life’s everyday stresses. It is important to realize as society addiction can have a terrible impact on the education of individuals. It is also important to realize remedies to the crisis lies in giving students more access to resources that can help them battle their addiction