Name: William Hyatt
What We Need
When I entered rehab in early December of 2020 I was a scared, depressed, and anxious sixteen-year-old kid. Drugs weren’t my problem, they were my solution. Reaching out for help is hard, it’s much easier to let it all build up inside you. The fear of reaching out for help is one of the dreadful symptoms of addiction. In my case, I was not the one who sought help, rather I had gotten myself into a situation that forced me to receive help. Today I am a successful student athlete graduating high school. Next year I will be competing in collegiate Cross-Country and Track while pursuing a degree in psychology. Without that intervention roughly two years ago, all the opportunities and success that I am currently experiencing would never be a reality. Sadly, many people in the same situation don’t get that chance.
Addiction doesn’t only affect the addict. It tears apart families, ruins relationships, kills innocents, and steals from strangers. Society shuns and shames the addict due to these reasons, resulting in resentfulness that leads to self-destruction within the addict. I am speaking of this through personal experience. Hurt people, hurt people. That is what addiction does to society and individuals.
We are a nation currently struggling with an addiction crisis. Since the pandemic the rates of people struggling with substance abuse has had a startling increase. A recent study done by the CDC at the start of the pandemic states that there has been a 13% increase in substance abuse among Americans. This also comes with a 18% increase in overdoses across the nation. In this day and age people, especially the youth, struggle to find a meaning in life and purpose. The absence of direction leads to a lack of self-worth and value. Combined with isolation due to the pandemic, many people turn to substances to fill their voids. Even before the pandemic substance abuse among teens was especially chronic. Mental health plays a large role in addiction. Addiction tends to stem from other issues, the most common of these issues tend to be depression, anxiety, and past trauma. In order to overcome addiction, one must work on these underlying problems. Nobody can do it alone, it takes outside help and a lot of time.
Individually we must be understanding, patient, and willing in order to help persons struggling with addiction. In order to remedy the crisis that addiction inflicts on society and individuals, we must help each other. In A.A the most important person in the room is the newcomer. Even in the most hopeless of cases, there is still a chance. To truly help others with the pains that addiction brings, we must be able to see someone’s potential.
Environment plays a large role in influencing our actions and thoughts. I believe that one of the reasons why we are dealing with an addiction crisis is because of the environment that we have created. Like I mentioned earlier, we struggle to find self-worth and value in this day and age. The standards that people feel that they have to live up to can be overbearing and stressful. Addiction tends to be a symptom of underlying problems until it becomes the biggest one. It is hard to deal with all these internal and external crises when the easiest solution is to drown them away through addiction. Society is made up of individuals though it is up to each individual to decide how they want to affect society. If we want change, we must take individual action.
Without individuals who believed that change was possible in me I would not be where I am today. It took forever for me to start to show progress but eventually it happened. When I gave up on myself, others didn’t. Addiction doesn’t go away, it will always be there. But out of the ashes of addiction people rise. What we need as a nation struggling with an addiction crisis are individuals who believe people can rise.