Name: Christopher Diaz
From: Los Angeles, California
Christopher Diaz – Essay # 3
Growing up, one of 4 children to a single mother, I witnessed firsthand the struggles my mother endured to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. While she worked diligently, I found myself with little supervision and an abundance of free time. I eventually turned to alcohol and drugs. It began while playing at a neighbor’s house whose family thought it would be funny to watch us take shots of tequila. This was the first time I remember feeling gleeful and uninhibited from alcohol. Everyone present laughed and I felt like I fit in. I was only 12. From that moment on, alcohol and drugs were engrained in my life. I began drinking frequently and eventually using drugs. Every night was fueled with alcohol, drugs and a myriad of acquaintances plagued by the same plight. I found myself no longer recognizing the person I’d become.
November 2015, after visiting my mother, I felt that I was failing was ashamed of my lifestyle. I knew I was disrespecting my mother and the sacrifices she’d made for me, so I quit. The first eighteen months I felt lost. I feared the fun, energetic and charismatic persona I was, only existed because of my vices and no one would like me anymore. I battled depression and anxiety. I became anti-social and lacked confidence. Fortunately, that was not the case. My life changed tremendously. I became a better version of myself. The core of who I was still existed, only better. I have confidence now instead of doubt. I feel joy and pride in what I have accomplished.
I mourned friendships that weren’t conducive to my lifestyle and found comfort in others I never expected. Today I am surrounded by people who uplift and inspire me to continue being the best version of myself. I am investing in my future and am determined to meet my goals. The path of self-destruction has taught me much, most of all to love myself and failure is not an option.