Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Drug Abuse: Sibling Edition

Name: Hannah GrahamUn

Drug Abuse: Sibling Edition

6 years. It only
seems like a couple days ago, but flashforward and here I am finally
writing about this at 20 years old. I didn’t know back then that I
would soon be able to relate to thousands of people about something
we can all agree on: seeing somebody you love unconditionally go
through drug addiction sucks. I could sit here and talk about the
effects that drugs have on people, the symptoms, causes, withdrawals,
dangers, the statistics, the research studies, but not this time. I
am putting the person before the drug, a stigma that we should all be
conscious of in today’s society.

My older brother
has battled with a drug addiction for several years now. The type of
drug doesn’t matter much in this story because no matter the drug,
the suffering is the same. When I was younger, I looked down on him
for dealing with addiction since I witnessed the hurt he caused
towards my family. I was frustrated with how someone couldn’t just
put the drug down and think about how much pain it was causing not
only them but everyone around them. I remember hearing my mom cry
silently to herself in her room, questioning where she had gone wrong
as a parent. I remember crying myself to sleep wondering if god
forbid there would be anyone in my class the next morning with whom I
could confide my confusions, hoping that maybe they would understand
what it feels like to not understand. There was a period of 2 years
where I didn’t speak with my brother except for the time where my
mom made me go with her to see him in jail that night. I wanted to
scream too loud for my own voice, but when I saw him 5 feet away
behind the glass and realized that would be the last for a while, the
only thing I really wanted to do was give him a hug and tell him how
much I love him. From all the fist fights I saw between my brother
and dad, the screaming matches that my family actively endured in,
the look in my parents eyes that wished so badly they could feel what
a “normal” family feels, none of that mattered when I realized I
didn’t ever want to lose someone that I love so deeply. Fast
forward to now and my brother has been sober for a year and half. I
remember the way he called me two days after my 19th birthday, it was
so bittersweet. That is something that has changed the both of us for
the better. Ironically as I write this I’m on my way home from
Colorado Springs, where my brother currently lives. A couple long
hikes and some home cooked meals with him was just what I needed
(even though I really only came to see his dog).

story doesn’t have a sad ending, which is mainly why I’m writing
about it. As I got older, I went through my own endeavors and started
to grasp a more ideal concept of what drug addiction entails. I
learned that addiction is inevitable and no one’s brain decided to
wake up one morning and ask to be dependent on any sort of harmful
substance. That is why we should recognize the person before the
drug. I believe that as a nation, this is one of the reasons we are
dealing with an addiction crisis. The person is not an addict,
but rather that the person is dealing with addiction. It’s a
small step to a national extremity that can make a huge difference
within the way we address these kinds of problems. We can not look
down on people with addiction when there are so many other problems
rooted in our brains that we deal with everyday as well.

there can be more severe consequences to addiction that can impact us
individually, and as a society. Consequences of addiction can cause
people to become self-destructive and illogical about their actions.
At an individual level, this can cause a path leading to the growth
of destructing others. Even I started to question myself at 14 years
old if our family was one of the reasons my brother had an addiction.
With that being said, these are the areas we need to constructively
focus on and raise awareness so we are able to create a remedy that
is universal on each level. Drugs are a prevalent notion in our
society that will continue to grow whether it is for the better or
worse. Since we are growing at such a fast rate, it is important to
monitor the research that goes into the correlation of the drug and
how it affects the human brain. I believe that drugs should not be
fully accessible until we know all of the ways it can affect
us individually and societally. We will never be able to fully cure
addiction, but as I write this essay and finalize the last sentences
I realize that this piece of writing I have entered is more of an
awareness to me rather than an entry for a scholarship, and that is
the best silver lining I can ask for.