Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2021 Round 2
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 Brianna Bicker
Mental health is incredibly important to everyone. It is just as important as the well being of your body. Read as I recount how my mental health was effected by a verbally abusive stepmother and how I recovered from this incredibly dark point in my life.
by Olivia rucker
In response to the questions and while adding some personal tifbits.its going to be hard to hear about addiction and its pain.
by Kristiana Engler
As a registered nurse, working front lines during the pandemic, I have seen many faces of addiction. Addiction is not solely a result of bad choices, but a dire and impactful disease. The Addiction crisis can be solved through public awareness, education, empathy and increased medical and therapeutic resources for those impacted by the disease. I hope to one day work as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner with a Master of Public health to better aid those in emergency situations that may involve substance abuse receive the treatment and services they need.
by Sarah Little-Tarlton
A personal reflective essay outlining why I believe that addiction stems from disconnection from ourselves and society, and various methods to remedy this problem. I include personal vignettes of my struggle with addiction as supporting evidence while explaining why improvements are needed in the treatment of addiction in order to eradicate the issue for the individual and society.
by Meaghan Mugleston
As a family nurse practitioner working with patients with substance use disorders, I have witnessed the profoundly positive impact treatment can have in the lives of individuals, and the significant challenges posed by large scale determinants of health. My goal in pursuing a doctorate degree is to be able to continue to help individuals at the bedside, while tackling the stigma, lack of educational focus in the healthcare professions on treating people with substance use disorders, and policy shortfalls that pose barriers to our efforts to combat the addiction crisis.
by Emmanuel Asiedu
My Shame is my only secret in life, and the first time I'm sharing my ten years of porn and masturbation addiction.
by Michael Evans
Alcohol can have dire effects on a person, their family, and society.
by A’Zirea Alexander
Awarness of addiction a Avery strong topic to speak on, but together as a nation we can come to common ground to help for the greater good.
by Kamari Dixon
"Overcoming Addiction" looks at the intricacies of substance abuse in America and explains what can be done to solve this nation-wide issue.
by Brooke Odoski
This essay includes the experience any young being understands when walking into a party involving drug use. The issues in the status quo reflect the nation's addiction cycle and there must be an end to this struggle.
by Alex (Lindsay) 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.References1) 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 Zenobia McKnight
This essay is about the power of addiction, addiction comes in many forms. How can we as a society life one another up and support the addict?
by Audrey Menzies
In this research essay/opinion piece i share my personal experiences with addiction as well as some misconceptions that plague our nation.
by Rachael Hayter
As a child, I witnessed multiple accounts of what alcohol can do to others. I swept it under the rug because I thought it was normal for adults. I didn't realize that addiction came in many different forms until my oldest brother, had torn our relationship apart under the influence of alcohol.
by Molly Salter
Illustrates the facts and reality of the addiction crisis in America, including the causes, consequences of addiction, and solutions to the addiction problems.
by Sharday Bennett
My sister Passed away in 2019 from an accidental overdose due to the Fentanyl use. My sister passing has inspired me to to progress in the career field change to social work to help people with substance misuse. The picture I presented is a picture of myself and my sister who has passed from this growing crisis. My sisters passing has inspired me for this career change.
by Erik Hamilton
The global COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique challenge associated with the opioid overdose crisis in North America. OUD, or opioid use disorder, services were confronted with systematically adapting the level of care to many in-person clinics. Preliminary reports raise the fear that the coronavirus restrictions fueled the highest ever recorded overdose deaths in a single year, placing the quality of these community based mental health services into the limelight.
by jessica hurlbert
My story followed by my essay.
by Zoey Gill
As a fourth generation addict, it took hitting the bottom at top speed and the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous to break a plague that befell and wreaked havoc upon my family for generations.
My Dad's Addiction changed my life and direction.
by Elizabeth Baker
This essay focuses on the issue with lack of social support for mental and general health services to help rehabiliate those afflicted with substance abuse. Some of these issues stem from various causes like high ACE (Adverse Childhood Events) scores, different susceptibility to addiction through various substances, prior or later mental illness and other environmental factors. These factors can result in mental and financial setbacks to the individual and detrimental economic losses. With the help of financial support for businesses to provide insurance plans to those who lack access to basic needs and preventative work towards at risk youth there can be hope for future generations.
by Katrina Ariel Sammons
My father passed away when I was six years old due to alcohol abuse. I would give anything to see him one more time, to have him here today as I prepare for college - but the world is a cruel place. I didn't sugarcoat anything, I just wanted to talk without borders about the impact his alcoholism and eventual death has had on my life.