The Randall B. Isenberg Alcohol Addiction Awareness Scholarship is designed to bring this important issue into the public eye. In our society, drinking is considered a normal part of adulthood, and addiction to alcohol is often seen as a weakness or lack of character on the part of those who suffer. This is far from the truth.
For Carly Clark, alcohol addiction has a deeply personal impact. As she wrote in the essay that won her the scholarship, Clark’s childhood was spent attending her parents’ weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
“Each story at these meetings were unique to each person, but all had the same focal
aspect: the addiction,” wrote Clark. When she would later see friends’ family members freely drinking at parties or dinners, she became frustrated that people who suffer from addiction can’t “just stop” like them.
Over time, Clark’s perspective changed. Her parents, who have built a fantastic life for themselves and for Carly, began the journey to combating their addiction largely for her sake. Now, they have their own home in a nice neighborhood and can be proud of their sobriety. For Carly, hearing their backstory helped to shape her views on having compassion for people with addiction issues.
Then, tragically, Carly’s sister passed away after succumbing to a heroin addiction. “She had been staying with us for a while trying to get sober and was doing so well, until she wasn’t,” wrote Clark. That her sister, who had already seen the effects that addiction had on her parents, could also struggle with addiction opened Carly’s eyes to the fact that addiction is truly a disease rather than a simple choice.
Carly Clark’s hope is that our society will grow to be more empathetic towards people who suffer from alcohol and other addictions. “The image of drug addicts and alcoholics now is ugly and crude,” she wrote. “We become so judgmental because of the pure lack of experience.”The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg awards Carly Clarke, future Clark College student, its $1,000 award for her compelling essay. Read her full essay here.