Name: Nicole Michelle Kirby
Addiction is everywhere. Some people think addiction is just about drugs and alcohol, but there is so much more, including but not limited to, gambling, social media, shopping, plastic surgery, video games, the list goes on and on. Addiction is a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as alcohol) or do something (such as scroll social media). Addiction causes people to lose jobs, drop out of school, or even legal problems such as DUI’s which can lead to jail time. It is not at all easy for most people to overcome addiction, but with the right resources and people, it is possible.
I’ve been around addiction almost my entire life. It all started when I was a baby. My dad was a heavy smoker, drinker, and drug user. I don’t have a ton of memories of him but the ones I do is of him hurting my mom physically and mentally. Or clipping his marijuana plant, drinking a beer, and smoking a cigarette in the house. My mom finally got enough courage to leave him when he tried to choke her to death. He had some visitation rights, but those shortly ended. After that, watching my sister come home every night wasted was hard. I can’t tell you for sure, but I think her actions had something to do with my mom and dad.
Addiction eventually found its way to me. I started smoking cigarettes when I was 13. I would steal them from my sister or smoke her half cigarettes she left in the ashtray. My aunt would keep cartons in her freezer, and I would go over to her house to steal packs of cigarettes. When I totaled my car, almost killed my best friend, and received an OWI, I found myself sitting in AA realizing I have a drinking problem. That lasted awhile… until I picked up my next drink.
I met my now husband in 2017. It was a wild couple of months with drugs and alcohol. I became pregnant almost two months after we got together. That was a rough week dealing with being pregnant and withdrawing. Unfortunately, my “boyfriend” at the time was not willing to stop with the drugs and alcohol. He started lying to me and spending all our money on pills. He wouldn’t/couldn’t get up in the morning for work if he didn’t have a pill. His boss would constantly text me saying he was going to lose his job. It got so bad that I ended up leaving him and moving states when our daughter was eight months old. He started taking drug tests to prove to me that he was sober. He started attending NA and to this day has not touched alcohol or drugs. He finally learned that he wasn’t only harming himself, he was harming all of us around him.
I think addiction is especially bad now considering the pandemic. With the economic destruction and lockdowns, the number of drug overdoses have been on a high rise. With Covid-19 cases rising, they keep shutting down schools and trying to do remote learning. The kids are pretending to be in class when they’re actually scrolling social media, texting their friend, watching TV, et cetera. I have two stepchildren, one in middle school and one in high school and I can tell a huge difference in their attitudes when they have in school learning instead of remote learning. When they sit and fill their social media addiction by seeing how everyone is prettier, skinnier, or has a better life, it has a huge negative impact on them.
When everything shut down, people didn’t know what to do. A lot of them turned to an addiction to cope with what is happening in the world. No one can stop all addictions, that’s just not possible, but you can try to help the loved ones around you. When my stepchildren are done with their homework, we have them come out to play games, talk, make dinner, do chores, so they’re not constantly scrolling through social media. Have your loved one take that first step and attend an AA meeting and be there to support them. I think their needs to be more addiction awareness everywhere. Have people who have successfully overcome addiction share their stories to the world. There is so many shows on Netflix, Hulu, Starz, to help you learn about drugs which can be helpful but can be harmful for the one person it might trigger. There needs to be more shows of people sharing their successful stories of overcoming their addiction so people can realize how life could be so much better without that addiction.