Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Filling the Void with the Light

Name: Harmony Rose Esqueda

Filling the Void with the Light


addiction comes from a desperate longing for something to fill a void
or an emptiness in one’s self or life. Our societal constructs make
it so that we believe we are most valuable for our productivity. And
here we are running such fast paced lives in pursuit of that fill. In
the United States, our economic system exploits, extracts, and
commodifies life. This only adds stress and pressure to conform to a
toxic way of life. But the more we fill our pockets with cash, the
less it works to heal an innate need for pursuing a life that aligns
with our purpose instead of our productivity. I offer the suggestion
that addiction can be battled by shifting societal practices away
from creating scarcity towards creating abundance inspired by
earth-based practices.

one size fits all remedy for such a pervasive and nuances epidemic
like addiction is quite impossible. However, that being said, I have
found myself and others step into our light and find our aligned
purpose by returning to our roots and pursuing work that does not
degrade the world around us, but regenerates it. There are many cases
of programs that are using this way of thought to support former
addicts and formerly incarcerated individuals with jobs in planting
and growing foods to combat food apartheid and proivde health
afforable and accesibble foods to communities. Not only are these
individuals offered adequate benefits and wages, but why are
contributing to a larger shift towards cultivating green spaces and
helping biodiversify ecology and diversify ways of living in harmony
with nature. This is the kind of life work that can be healing,
whether it be through more traditional horticultural therapy or
simply by incorporating tending to nature as part of one’s daily
routine. From the large to the small, these remedies are building up
people, not tearing them down.

programs can become models and blueprints for systemic change as
well. When we shift away from an extractive paradigm to one of
abundance, people are not left feeling empty, but rather more
nourished in relationships with land and people. Institutions can do
more to catalyze and incentives this behavior to mitigate depression
and anxiety induced addictive behavior. We can begin to heal with
community care and land based mechanisms of care. When we do this,
our longings are met. They are met with community, met with fresh and
healthy foods, and met with intergenerational care.