Northpoint Recovery College Scholarship 2016 Winning Essay

How substance abuse and addiction have affected my life

Substance abuse and addiction is like cancer, there is no family left untouched by this devastating disease. If it hasn't affected your life, you know someone who's life it has affected, or even taken. It does not discriminate, it happens to the richest, the poorest, and even the most successful people. We all have a neighbor, a brother, a friend, a coworker, or someone we know that has or is suffering from addiction.

Drug addiction has affected my life very personally. I know all sides of addiction. Being the one who has watched a loved one battle addiction and once battling addiction myself. Twelve years ago I went from graduating high school a year early who had never done a single drug, to being a college drop-out who turned to drugs. I became a meth addict. I believe people turn to drugs to escape reality. In some way or another life becomes too hard to cope with. I had turned to drugs after dropping out of school. I was lost, not knowing what to do with my life and too scared to ask for help I turned to drugs to escape. One time, one choice, one mistake, is all it took and it changed everything in my life.

I was scared. I had failed in so many ways in my life, I turned to drugs to escape my failures and try to forget. My problems didn't go away they only got worse. I became my own worst enemy. I didn't come from a broken home or was brought up into a home with drug addict parents. I should have known better, I was brought up better than this, and that is when I realized the truth about drugs, that no family is discriminated against.

I went from being the perfect daughter, sister, friend and role model, to being the person who was someone unrecognizable. This "tumor" inside of me was growing fast and I was the one responsible for putting it there and letting it grow and take control of my life. This loving, caring, responsible girl I once was self destructing. I had let down myself and my family. They couldn't trust me anymore, I couldn't even trust me. I became a liar. I lied to everyone including myself. I had no idea the monster I had become. I had lost my values, self worth, my self esteem, and myself respect. I knew my family expected more out of me, and I expected more out of myself, but somehow fell into this trap of addiction. I snorted them, ate them, smoked them and even injected them, I used drugs any way I could. I had stopped coming around my family and even became homeless and was living in my truck. I even began selling drugs. It was the lowest of low I have ever been in my life. I can honestly say that it was the worst year of my life. It was as if I was playing a part in a movie or have had a bad dream, but this had become my life. After I faced the harsh reality of what I had become and knew the only person who could change that was me. I turned to family and asked for help. I did treatment, and had a great support system, my family. I got sober and have been sober ever since. It took a lot of work to rebuild the relationships with my family that I had destroyed. Every day I strive to be the best person and role model I can be. I can honestly say I beat addiction I have no desire to do it there is no temptation for me. Some say it is a miracle and that I am one of the very few that addiction no longer has any hold on my life. This is why I compare it to cancer. I over came it. Some people go into remission and have to worry about it coming back later in life and some people know matter how hard they fight it, they lose and the addiction wins.

Now I strive to be successful. I can once again see that bright future that lies ahead of me. I try not to stress about the small stuff in life and I know not everything is going to go perfectly, that I may be thrown off course a little and that is okay. I have a lot to be thankful for. My life has changed so much. I know I got my life back and I am never giving that up again. I love being that compassionate caring and trustworthy person. I have a beautiful daughter now and have a great career I'm looking forward too. I can't wait to be in a successful career helping others. My journey has just began.

I have watched others close to me battle their own addictions and I have no idea how to help them or guide them. All I can do is be there to offer my support to them. My cousin battled a meth addiction and I raised her baby for eight months while she fought her addiction. She is clean and sober today and has been for nine years and she gives thanks for her sobriety for being a part of the drug court program.

My niece is currently battling an a heroin addiction and I wish I knew what to say or do to help her but I don't. She has three choices, she can fight this and win, give in and lose, or fight this forever. I know that it is destroying her family especially her little sister. it affects all of us. I know there is no one way to beat an addiction but it is possible. You have to believe in yourself.

-Brandy J.