The evil of substance abuse

Courtney - Gilbert, Arizona
Entered on December 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: addiction, family
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I believe that alcohol and drugs is the root of all evil. Alcohol and drugs can change someone’s life, family, friends, behavior, personality, and so much more. I was very fortunate to understand this concept at a young age. I have seen almost everyone in my family affected by addiction.

Take for example my Aunt, she is usually slammed early and unable to walk herself to her own bedroom. She trips and face-plants often and her grandchildren see. My dad also had his time fighting alcoholism. He stays away from hard alcohol now and I am very proud of him for that, the harder the alcohol the meaner his temper. My dad wasn’t just a big drinker in his day; he also had a long history of drug abuse. Waiting for his come-downs were the worse.

Growing up when my parents were out my cousin, Leslie took care of us kids. She was the person I looked up to. She taught me to color in the lines, swing my hips to country music, and clean a house spotless. She was much older then I was, and she had a hard life I was unaware of for many years. She moved out of her mother’s house at the age of thirteen, quit attending school in the eighth grade, and soon discovered the world of drugs.

Leslie suffered several addictions, but wanted help. She met a sober man named John. He was much different from any of the other men she had dated in the past. He was the total opposite of her, shy and quiet. To this day I am not quite sure how they met, but I am sure that he was the best man to ever enter her life. They soon got married and had two beautiful little boys. John passed away of heart failure. Leslie found him in their bed, his body cold and stiff. Leslie was not able to let go easily. She stayed with John’s body running her fingers through his hair begging him to please come back, for her and the boys still needed him.

After a little more than five years of sobriety Leslie started using once again. She was big into meth smoking it or shooting it up, she enjoyed the high and the escape of reality if only for a short time. She lost a tremendous amount of weight, teeth were decaying. scabs all over her body. There were track marks all over the veins in her arms. She was nothing I admired anymore.

For much of my life I was embarrassed to introduce friends to my family. I realize now I am lucky to have the family I do. Most people say we grow to be how we were raised, I disagree. I feel that seeing how each one of my family members lived their lives has helped to influence my own. I saw how some of my relatives craved alcohol, while others craved drugs. I saw how they would do anything to achieve getting drunk or high. I knew at a young age what I never wanted for myself. I knew that I wanted to live my life different, happy and sober. This is a vow I made to myself many years ago and one that still applies to this day.