Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Real Addiction

Name: Emma Marie Elder

Real Addiction

This is a word that has popped up multiple times in my life. Looking
back I struggled with labeling my family as those people with
addictions. I found it shameful and embarrassing. I couldn’t grasp
the concept of what addiction was and how it continued to control my
family. Even though I was young I still remember everything. The
drives to treatment centers and therapy appointments. The laughs,
tears, and cries of pain. It is all so clear and memories will stick
with me for a lifetime. I don’t blame anyone in my family for their
addictions. Over time, going to therapy and listening to doctors talk
about what addiction actually is I began to grasp that it was a
source of power that was completely out of mine or anyone else’s

this is my story. Growing up I was influenced by an alcoholic father
and mother who was constantly at her wits ends. My life wasn’t the
worst but it wasn’t a walk in the park either. Since I can remember
my dad would come home almost every night and you could tell he had
been drinking. I sat back and watched my mom struggle as well as my
older siblings. I never understood what he was going through and it
was hard for me to understand why he would act the way he did in
public places and the anger he showed us at home. As I grew older and
became more familiar with the disease of addiction I slowly
understood. The problem that my dad carries can only be solved by his
choices. I show him all the love and support in the world but until
he faces his addiction there isn’t anything anyone else can do or
say. My mother has been the glue that holds our family together and
after growing up seeing my dad struggle it was easy to identify my
uncle and brother’s addictions as well. Both my uncle and brother
struggled with drug abuse. Neither of them was truly present in my
life for a long time. My uncle just became clean a year and a half
ago and my brother started building a stronger life many years ago.
Both of them are progressing slowly and in much better places now. I
have been fortunate enough to establish deep, lasting relationships
with them.

all of this, I sit here now, 18 years old knowing what true addiction
is. My life has taught me that we all struggle but to those with
addiction, the struggles are much worse. I have also learned that
addiction comes in all shapes and sizes. My first thought of
addiction was alcohol and drugs because that’s what I had been
shown in my life. Addiction is when something has control over one’s
life that they can’t live without. It’s a disease and it is hard
to fight. People with addiction have to wake up every day and put on
armor to fight their problems. I was given this analogy when we went
to family therapy. Pick something you love, whether it’s food, TV
shows, sports activity, etc. I choose chocolate because I literally
could eat it every day. Then the therapist said “Imagine never
having that the rest of your life. You have to watch other people
have it and you see it sitting there but you can’t have it.” It
hit me – that would be hard. I can’t imagine waking up every day
for the rest of my life and never eating another piece of chocolate.
People with addictions our faced with that.

has been a blessing and a curse in my life. I have gone through more
pain in watching those I love suffer but I know that without seeing
and experiencing that suffering I would not be the person I am today.
Addiction has taught me to show love to all, know that everyone has
struggles, and always have hope. I never thought I would live to see
the day my brother and uncle would be able to have a relationship
with me. I know that living a clean life is possible because I have
seen it. I pray for all those struggling with addiction because it is
a hard path to be on. I pray they find the light and I pray those
close to them don’t lose hope. Addiction is a horrible thing but it
can be overcome.