From: Mount Pleasant, Michigan
The American Addiction
America is viewed as one of the most superior countries due to our freedom, and all of the opportunities available to us. People often say they want to “live the American Dream.” However, people often tend to ignore that we have problems to in our country, and a big one is addiction. Addiction comes in many forms, but in this sense I am referring to drug, or alcohol addiction. I believe that as a nation we are suffering such a large addiction crisis because of our freedom and opportunities. I also believe society and social media play a large role in addiction.
I have had several family members who have dealt with addiction in their life, or are to this day still dealing with it, whether it be cigarettes, alcohol, or hard drugs, it is still an addiction. I have not had any immediate family that has had an addiction that led to severe consequences, but I do have distant family members who have. I have had several distant cousins go to jail or prison for extended periods of time due to being caught multiple times with possession of illegal substances. I have had distant cousins who have lost their jobs, their children, and lost contact with loved ones due to drugs. One distant cousin has been to jail several times, and one time was due to living in a “meth house” while pregnant. I have also witnessed drug or alcohol induced depression due to their addiction.
With social media being accessed by people as young as toddler-aged children, the idea of drug and alcohol use is becoming increasingly introduced at much younger ages. Even if not intended children are able to access things through the internet, especially if child locks, passwords, and blockers are not placed on technology used by the children. Having such early access to this type of information can be very misleading for a child or young person, they might see drugs and alcohol being used by their idols, and in turn, they believe it is okay for them to do such things when they get older, but older to them could mean as young as middle school aged children. Social media often only highlights the “pros” of drugs and alcohol, like the high it gives you, how it masks your feelings, how it lays a sense of joy and happiness into your life, and that is all very misleading. There are more cons to drugs and alcohol than there are pros and that topic is often pushed aside. People often fail to mention the depression it leads you too, the withdrawals you can experience, the damage it does to your vital organs, and the many other negatives associated with drugs and alcohol that are not talked about until after it is too late.
There is a lack of education for these influential children and young adults, sure they may teach you in school drugs are bad, and alcohol if not consumed responsibly can also become very bad, but they do not teach us the harsh reality. They do not show pictures of people’s skin who have continually consumed methamphetamine, they do not talk about the bad things that can happen to those who are so mentally out of it due to drug and alcohol consumption, such as sexual assault, rape, drunk driving accidents/deaths, and most importantly they do not talk about how hard this impacts every aspect of your life, your loved ones, and how difficult the recovery process truly is. I believe that if schools brought in recovered addicts, or recovering addicts to share their stories with students, this would shed a little light on what a dark path addiction is.
Addiction can cause you to become broke because that is all you may spend your money on is your drug of choice. You may also lose your job due to your addiction, causing you to lose your car and/or house, and not only will you lose your material items, along with the basic life necessities like a house, you will begin to lose your loved ones. You could lose custody of your children, your family and friends will begin to pull away, as they do not want to be associated with any sort of drugs, or drug use. The moment someone decides to begin use of an addictive substance you are giving up your life, every little piece of it.
I believe we can remedy our nations addiction by limiting the advertisement of alcohol, and to start paying attention more to the audience it is reaching. There also needs to be an end put to the highlighting of all of the “great” things drugs and alcohol can make you do and feel, there needs to be a bigger advertisement of how negatively these substances can affect your life. As individuals we need to not only preach to younger people how bad addictive substances are, but why they are bad, and share the gory details and truth. As a society we need to quit pretending that addictive substances are not so bad, and that we can have control of our addiction if we try hard enough. It has been medically proven, you cannot control your addiction, an addiction is an addiction, and once you have become addicted you need to seek professional help to begin your rehabilitation and recovery process. Young impressionable children need to understand that addiction should not be normalized, it should not be viewed as okay because their loved one has been through it. Recovery is not easy, and just because you know someone with an addiction who is “okay” or you know someone who has recovered from their addiction does not mean that it is acceptable to form an addiction of your own. Just because someone else has recovered from a drug does not mean you will, everyone has different experiences, consequences and outcomes of their addiction, do not base your life off of someone else’s. Choose to do better and not even allow yourself to try an addictive substance, because that is all it takes is one use for you to become addicted.