Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – A Look in the Mirror


A Look in the Mirror

In the United States in 2013 there were 2.4 million individuals that admitted being addicted to drugs. ( 2.4 million! That number is only the tip of the iceberg. We are dealing with a national crisis that of which only a minute amount is visible. That number is only indicative of the addicts who admit to being addicted. The ones that get caught, because a lot of us, we never get caught, and some of us wait twenty years to share their story. My reason, and many others I believe, turn to these drugs because they have no idea how to deal with the various degrees of mental illness they experience.

When you picture a drug addict what do you see? I’ll tell you what I see, I see myself. I was one of the millions of Americans that became addicted. You would never know it from looking at me. I looked fine, I held down a full time job, raised my three children. I socialized, I ate, and my kids were clean, they never missed school. I never showed any indication that I was part of that statistic. I held it together because I did not want anyone to know what I was experiencing inside. The drugs helped me function. I was able to concentrate, I had the energy of a rabbit and the more detailed a task was the better I was at it. It also helped me keep away the thoughts of inadequacy, the pain of rejection, and the depression. I rarely slept because the drugs helped me avoid the nightmares. In the end, it only made it worse. Instead of dealing with things head on, I chose to hide from them in the drugs. I did this for ten years. It created different types of mental illnesses that I have to deal with. I have anxiety issues now. I experience panic attacks and I am constantly in fear of what the long term effects of the drugs may have had on my system.

I think one remedy for this situation would be to address the heart of it. Let’s look at how we as a society deal with mental illness. How the world views someone with depression. I think that once we step back and stop demonizing invisible illnesses we can start to take care of the people with them, instead of those people trying to self-medicate with drugs.