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“Growing Up Around Addiction”

A winning essay from our Brighter Future Scholarship contest

Throughout my life I have always had to deal with addiction. My father was addicted to alcohol. This affected me because I wasn’t allowed to live with him, I still visited every weekend. My parents got divorced when I was young due to drinking. This made it hard during holidays or school vacations seeing where I would go. I had to get picked up because my mom knew that my dad would drink and then drive me home. Without addiction my parents could have potentially still been together, and I wouldn’t have had to grow up with a separated family. Overall, this had a big impact on my childhood growing up and still continues to impact my life today. 

Growing up with addiction in my life impacted me mostly negatively but I guess some positive. Unfortunately, my dad lost his battle with addiction and took his own life right before I turned sixteen. This was a large negative impact due to having to mourn the loss of my dad while still trying to live my own life and do what I needed to. It is hard to think about how something so negative could have brought anything positive into my life. I guess a positive thing about this situation is that my dad remarried and with his new wife he had a child. Today she is now eight years old and has to live her life and grow up without her father. I am lucky enough that my stepmom and I still have a relationship and that I can go to her house and see my sister. Although she doesn’t let me be involved in her life as much as I wish that I could be. This is the most positive thing that I could think of that came about through this situation. 

I can’t really say that growing up with addiction in the family changed my way of seeing the disease. Some say that addiction is a choice and that they just don’t want to stop but I never really thought of this as being true. I always knew that addiction was a disease, and that people may try to stop but it isn’t really their choice. There are treatments that may combat the disease but overall many relapses after going through it, such as in my father’s case. I think that with a strong support system and the person really understanding and realizing that they have the disease the treatment outcomes would be significantly better. 

This scholarship would help me in my future studies. I am currently a junior in college studying Nursing with a Biology minor. I hope to one day be a mental health nurse. This came about as being my field of interest while learning about it in school. I actually have my clinical rotation coming up at a state hospital. I am both nervous and excited because I want to see if this career path is something that I will enjoy doing. This scholarship would help me cover the costs of my textbooks and other materials I will need for my last year of undergraduate school. Nursing books are very expensive and working two jobs as a full-time student isn’t ideal. If I win some money, I could work less hours to give me more time to study and prepare for my exams. 

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