SAA – The Childhood behind the Shadow

Students Against Addiction

A submission by Students Against Addiction. The Childhood behind the Shadow.

First off before I relay the information I have gathered from my research I would like to commend this scholarship program for granting me with this opportunity to expand my horizons to a person with substance use disorder’s reality. I am privileged to research such a controversial topic that many fail to recognize in humanity today.  Finding out if a childhood; noble or corrupt can impact the likelihood for an individual to abuse drugs gave me a deeper understanding towards how a person can get sucked into the shadowy depths of addiction.  The opportunity to conduct this analysis helped me to not only educate myself but others of the very misfortune of addiction.

In the world today there is an array of controversial discrepancies that are overtaking society. From the drugs, alcoholic use to the violence, the list can go on, however it is these human induced fatalities that have formed one common poison to society and that is corrupting the minds of others by addicting itself into the now newly defined normality. At this point in society we tend to not condone the faults of life however we don’t do much to change the future outcome by fixing the childhoods of the very future society. The word addiction follows as a shadow behind the different mistakes that life entails. Addiction is not something that looks at color, gender, height, weight, or social status; addiction looks for weakness. Addiction lurks around the lives of innocents and acts as a predator to the first sight of interest. Addiction is the shadow that travels around everyone day in and day out. However, what keeps us able to not get lost in the shadow of darkness is if you turn around, face it and shine a light of courage.  As addiction grows stronger people are beginning to lose their lights and fade into the darkness and become the worst shadow of all; addicts.  My Name is Kimberley Neita and I am doing an in depth analysis based on the impact a childhood has on the likelihood to use and abuse drugs. This controversial issue is constantly brought up when trying to find the root of how this one word has managed to travel around and make a universal stance in society.

A childhood is the fundamental building blocks for individual’s current and prospective lives. It is your childhood endeavors that builds the person you are today and it is your childhood that models the mistakes into lessons learned and prepares you for a better and brighter future. However, in today’s society a childhood easily can take a toll for the worst with drugs and addiction lingering around. The connotation of the word drug has transitioned to parallel the word addiction and abuse. These words all go hand in hand as if destiny made it so. The corruption of these words standing firmly side by side has altered the perspective on the very definition of the words. Instead of drugs being associated with the definition of a medical related substance provided by a doctor under a prescription to help the overall wellbeing of the body; drugs are forced to be defined as marijuana, acid, cocaine, and the list goes on. This is the generation of abuse and drugs are one of the main sources. However as the word abuse becomes more common in humanity the one aspect of life that can change this outcome is a person’s childhood. With that said I have conducted a research project based on the impact an individual’s childhood has on their likelihood to use and abuse drugs.

To come to this conclusion in my investigation I interviewed a vast variety of people who originated from different places from Jamaica like me to Nicaragua to America, and the list carries on. Conducting this interview from the perspective of different people raised in different cultural backgrounds showed not only the versatile views but, it would also give me a better result in my investigation. When I interviewed others from different areas I was able to see in the majority of the applicants that it was their environment and their overall upbringing that lead them either into the shadows of drug addiction or helped them shine their lights of courage.

With the results that were gathered from the interview I was able to make a distinct conclusion based upon the impact a childhood had in their lives. However, to assist with the investigation I added my own personal insight into the foundation of my research by comparing the data to my own life prognosis. With gathering this information I was able to then move to the next part of my investigation by digging deep into the life of a person with substance use disorder and finding the connection between the two and understanding the impact that their childhood had in their lives that would have lead them down this path. Understanding the public’s insight from different cultural circumstances bettered my results.

I was able to interview a total of eight applicants that were willing to comply with the questions that I was proceeding to ask. All the applicants came from different areas around the world, have different cultural beliefs and upbringings. Throughout the interview process I gave each applicant a worksheet that consisted of personal questions involving their childhoods, their status on being exposed to drugs or drug use, what addiction means to them and based on their personal experiences do they believe that their childhoods set the bar for where they are in their lives today. A sample of this worksheet is also attached to this document. I had advised the applicants the purpose of this investigation and instructed them of their rights to confidentiality and their right if they were willing to participate in my research they can also remain anonymous.

Once the interviewing process had commenced I was able to gather up all the data from the documents and my personal notes. Although the applicant’s views differentiated the majority agreed that it is their childhood that complied with their drug use or lack of drug use. The data showed that the majority of the candidates who had a noble childhood benchmarked their lack of drug use. I will be speaking about two applicants that stood out in the interview, their childhoods mimicked the pure opposite of one another but conformed in accordance to who they are now and the status of their drug use.  According the Josh (one of the applicants who grew up in Miami, Florida) “my childhood consisted of having fun and learning along the way, of course I made mistakes but my childhood consisted of learning from the minor mishaps and moving on, having a childhood helped set my foundation to differentiate right from wrong my parents taught me to stay clear away from the bad and it was those lessons in my childhood that helped me to be the person I am today. I am drug free and proud of it. Addiction is nowhere near my mind.”  Interviewing josh was insightful he complied with my upbringing as well and showed that with a good foundation behind you it would not be an issue to shine your light of courage at the lingering shadow that always followed him. Josh was a prime example of what a good childhood can do to your future outcome with drug use. His childhood had a major impact on his lack of being addicted to drugs. For him, having a noble childhood set the bar and impacted his life for the better. This is the generation of abuse and drugs are truly one of the main sources. However, with all the abuse traveling around as if it was contagious the one thing that can clearly stop this cycle is the impact of a noble childhood. It impacted Josh, It impacted me, and it can impact others as well. A noble childhood should not be a privilege it should be an obligated gift. That one gift of can shine many lights in the face of addiction, it can save lives.  However, this gift unfortunately is not granted to everyone. The lack of this gift of a noble childhood holds as the base to addiction.

My next interviewee that stood out was Mike. His childhood was the complete opposite of Josh. Mike’s childhood was far from ideal. He lived in Chicago where he was the older brother for three siblings and was considered to be the man of the house at a young age. As a child Mike’s idea of fun was taking care of his twin brothers and looking out for his little sister. He said “living in Chicago you have to hold your own for your family, I was always stressed as a child because I had pressure put on me from all angles.” To Mike his childhood was taken from him, early stress and being around the wrong crowd at a young age lead him to drug use. Throughout the interview he kept on reiterating that drugs were the only thing he felt would relieve his stress. His lacks of a childhood lead him into being an active drug user. Although he did not believe he was addicted to drugs he did have a clear understanding of what addiction meant to him. As he started in his worksheet, his perception of addiction essentially was when a person forms a habit that they are unable to stop not when they are unwilling to stop. Mikes use of the words unable and unwilling stood out to me. Although he admitted to being an active drug user he stated in the verbal portion of the interview that he was not addicted because he said “I have managed to stop, at the time I drugs was the only thing that seemed right at the time so no I am not addicted because I have stopped, it’s my situation that lead me to start.”   As he stated it was his situation that brought him to start using drugs. It was his nonexistent childhood that introduced him to the shadow and dimed his light. It was his lack of a childhood, as opposed to Josh that made an impact in his life that brought him into drug use.

Both of these participants that assisted me in my research we prime examples of the impact a childhood has on your life. For Josh that sturdy background was beneficial and kept him away from the shadows. As for Mike, his lack of childhood developed him into being introduced to drugs. He used and abused drugs because he thought it was the only thing left for him to do that would relieve his heart ache as a boy. Now Mike has found a new path but the lack of a substantial foundation to keep him on the right path introduced him to drugs. I interviewed an array of people and even though their situations we not primarily ideal the outcome when asked if they believed that a childhood can have an impact on the likelihood of being exposed to drugs. The answer was a universal yes. This was the public’s insight on drugs. Understanding their experiences helped me make the connection with the shocking but valid statistics about drugs.


As for my own insight on this growing epidemic what can really make a difference on someone’s affiliation with drugs is by having a childhood. For instance I was born and raised in Jamaica which is assumed, amongst other things to be associated with the growth and use of marijuana. My childhood as well as my upbringing purified my mindset and kept me focused and on a bright and clear path away from the possibility of abusing drugs. My childhood consisted of good and clean fun where I wondered around life making many mistakes yet learning along the way and being able to mature at a young age and differentiate between what is right and wrong. My childhood was always entertained with the values that life has to offer I was involved in different sports, teams, clubs, and was an active member of my community. My childhood was positive and kept always wanting and striving more the great things life has to offer. When the time came and my shadow of drugs tried to dim my light and tried to hold me back from my path I was able to face this shadow of doubt and shine my light of courage and move forward away from the corruption. It was my childhood that made a distinct impact on my lack of drug use. It was my childhood that saved me from addiction. My story just goes to show that with drugs lingering around as a shadow with having a noble childhood it will have a distinct impact on your relations with drugs, and keep you away from the abuse.

As I conducted my research I was able to understand the value a childhood holds by comparing my story to the other candidates. Although different individuals face different struggles it is your childhood experiences that shape your future choices. The impact of a childhood is never known or acknowledged until your faced with the lessons you should have learned as a child. By understanding the mindset of the public on a vast scale I was able to go into their personal timeline and work my way backwards in an attempt to see what their childhoods consisted of and find the connections between their past endeavors and their present state of mind. Looking deeper into my research it was evident to me that the noble childhood that should be in abundance is close to scarce. When getting a perspective from different backgrounds, and cultures made the statistics even more mind bottling to  know the scarcity in shining lights of courage on this dark shadow of drug abuse.

Drugs are a national epidemic that is taking control of the lives of innocents. Too many people are suffering to the effects of drugs which all starts from the lack of a healthy childhood that would teach these individuals at a young age the trials of life and the rights and wrongs that society has to offer. There are millions of people who are suffering from addiction to drugs, primarily because of their upbringing. “Roughly 200 million people worldwide use illicit drugs.” (Medical Unit, Katie Moisse). “Up to 39 million people are considered “problematic” or dependent drug users and up to 21 million people inject drugs, according to the report” (Medical Unit ,Moisse ). That means there are over 20 million people who suffer from drug use that is 20 million people didn’t live a noble life and did not have that fundamental background to support them astray from the shadow of abuse.

The facts act as the front cover of a book, it has an eye grabbing title and it’s the first thing you see, but its only until you turn the pages and your able to see the story unfold to show how the facts got there in the first place. Anyone with a person with substance use disorderion to drugs has the title addict written all over them. But it’s the blank pages left in the story of a childhood that never happened that lead them to having that label.


Citation page

Moisse, Katie. “200 Million People Use Illicit Drugs, Study finds” Medical unit. Abc News, 2012/01/06. <


Please be advised that the questions on this document are for research purposes only, you are not obligated to answer and questions that you feel are too personal or are not appropriate for you. If you agree with these terms please proceed with the questions. If you are concerned about your identification and would like to remain anonymous you are allowed to do so as well, just PRINT on the name portion of the questionnaire ANONYMOUS.

Thank you for your participation.

  1. Where were you born? _____________________________


  1. What does the word addiction mean to you? Do you believe it is all a pigment of your  minds imagination playing tricks on your reality  or do you believe that addiction is an imminent struggle and an ongoing battle that a person with substance use disorder faces each and every day?______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. In your opinion what is your intake on drug use? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  3. What differentiates a person with substance use disorder from any normal person? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  4. As someone who has had prior experience with drug use, either including yourself of being around others who have encountered any form of drug use, what showed you the first indication of addiction? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  5. What made you stop or what made you continue on this path? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  6. How has your childhood make an impact on your current state of being as an individual in society? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for your time and participation

Kimberley Neita

When you recognize harmful patterns and seek treatment, you can increase your chances of leading a healthier life. Cliffside Malibu is here to support you in your search for an alcohol-free life. We believe you deserve to have a private, comfortable and luxurious environment as you navigate your journey to a sober life. Our center allows you to explore your mental health needs, creates a treatment plan that is unique to you and allows you to discover beneficial coping skills. To learn more about alcohol treatment at Cliffside Malibu, call (855) 403-5641.