The Problem Of Overcoming Addiction

890 Words4 Pages
"Derelict fiends." This is how Brad, a man being treated at Harvest Farm for addiction, referred to himself. Every morning at five, we awoke to milk cows, care for the animals, spread manure, and plant trees. It was as it was meant to be: therapeutic. As we worked, the pride the men had in the farm was clear. They found purpose and saw the possibility of a life outside of addiction. I returned to Harvest Farm in 2014 where I met Andrew, a man completing treatment. Amid conversation, I realized he had taught me how to milk a cow in 2013. I knew him as a frightened, frail man. I remember the helplessness I saw in him. A year later, his resilience was apparent. He was a new man, healthy and full of anticipation for his future. While I expressed joy for his success, the bleak reality of overcoming addiction emerged. Andrew explained Brad had died of an overdose in 2013. Unfortunately, overcoming addiction is a difficult process with uncertain outcomes. For these men, health meant a new chance at life. I never saw “derelict fiends” at Harvest Farm. Instead, I saw my mother. Growing up, I watched her struggle with addiction and mental illness. I longed for her to be able to seek the care she needed; to be able to provide this help myself. I wanted her to return to her former happy and adventurous self. Unfortunately, poverty and stigmas drove her away from seeking medical care. It has been a long journey, but I am thankful she has been able to overcome addiction. Volunteering at Harvest Farm provided an opportunity to help men recovering from addiction and educate students about these illnesses. It broadened my perspective beyond my experience with my mother. It helped me grasp the totality of chronic illness and its significant impact ... ... middle of paper ... ...ician to remove the uncertain outcomes surrounding illnesses. Contributing to research is a genuine opportunity to provide more thorough education about the causes of and treatments for illnesses; an essential process to alleviate stigmas and expand medicine’s ability to heal. As I reflect on these experiences, I realize my drive to pursue medicine expanded from a need to help my mother to include a need to improve the lives of all people impacted by illness. The sharp contrast between the outcomes for Brad and Andrew has instilled a deep sense of the reality of how fragile life is and the necessity for medicine. I would love to have the opportunity to heal and enhance lives. I am confident in my continual ability to relate to patients with empathy and advocacy, contribute to our understanding and treatment of illnesses, and succeed as a lifelong student of medicine.
Open Document