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Brighter Future Scholarship: Winning Essays

The Brighter Future Scholarship aims to help students pursue their dreams and passions. A brighter future starts with today’s youth and Mountainside Treatment Center wants to enable young people to overcome their struggles. To qualify, applicants share essays about their addiction or their loved one’s addiction and how it has affected their life, raising awareness and highlighting the reality of this disease. Explore essays from past winners below.

A daughter upset at her alcoholic father

Finding Myself

“I tried my best to pretend that everything was ordinary, but I could not deny the drastic shift I felt in my family… Day by day, my idea of a family drifted.”

Empty beer bottles on a table

Why Me?

“My mother on the other hand was an alcoholic. I’m not sure when this started but I have vivid memories of me holding her hair back as she threw up in the bathroom.”

Papers and lists on a table with a vase and flowers | Mountainside Addiction Treatment Center

Breaking Bad Habits

“Dealing with mental health at a young age is the most damaging thing I’ve experienced. I would know because I have a list. Yeah, I know. Why would I…”


Uncle Monster

“Addiction is not a solitary disease. It is like a stone thrown in a pond, causing a ripple effect that disturbs any and all surrounding calm.”

medical equipment

Future Doctor

“My parents grew up completely isolated from drugs and alcohol until they went to high school. My dad hit ninth grade and started dealing.”

library shelves

Motivation for a Higher Education

“This experience has made me realize that those who can overcome addiction or substance abuse should not be looked down upon!”

Man tossing daughter playfully at beach

You Live With Dad Now

“While being a universal experience, the taboo nature of mental illness and discussions of mental health can make a very common situation seem abnormal.”

Last Breath by Dillon

Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner

“Because of my father’s addiction, I learned to hate the sin, but not the sinner. I don’t let my past mark me who I am today.”

30 Minutes BFS

30 Minutes

““You have thirty minutes to pack your bags and leave,” they commanded sternly. 30 minutes that changed my life forever. Though I was confused and jarred, I frantically…”

Person on iphone sitting at table in black and white

The Last Call

Because of the pandemic,  I couldn’t see him in person. It might sound sickening, but I preferred it this way. A simple “end call” and I no longer had to think about the whole situation.”

hand handcuffed to shot glass

The Wrong Choice

“Due to my grandfathers addictions, I never got to talk to them, and I never got to hug either of them, because they had made their decision, and they didn’t choose family, they chose alcohol.”

Paperclip chain broken

Our Broken Bond

Having a sibling that has an addiction to one of the strongest drugs out there is literally one of the hardest things I have ever experienced in my life, it’s grieving the loss of a living family member.”

Female Doctor and Nurse check vitals on unconscious male patient in blue hospital room with medical equipment

The Damage of Addiction

“What happened to my father from the time that he was a healthy young athletic to the patient who is frequently in hospitals was a two-year history of drug addiction.”

Wednesday written on different papers


“Wednesday haunted me like the ghosts and monsters I feared at night in my childhood bedroom. Each week, it just lurked in the middle waiting to get me.”

small plant sprout growing in sand

Growing Up Around Addiction

Without addiction my parents could have potentially still been together, and I wouldn’t have had to grow up with a separated family.”

Black and white photo of man with back to camera standing in front of window

Darkness of My Mind

My mind would grow dark and wander off to these dark thoughts, negatively impacting my mental stability. I was alone again, just as I was when I was a little girl afraid of the dark.

silhouette of woman in shadow

My Mother’s Addiction

The thing about addiction that people may not realize, is it can be a camouflaged agent of poison: unnoticeable and kills slowly.

woman with curly hair in white t-shirt holding her hand sideways covering her mouth

Family Secret

That was the day when I learned alcoholism ate away at people until there was only a shell left, and that our little “secret” wasn’t so little after all.”

red haired girl and woman holding hands with head held

My Mother’s Keeper

My mother is a kind and loving person, but this didn’t stop alcohol from consuming her life. It was only when I became older that I realized…”

Glass of wine in front while woman behind reaches for it

My Big Sister

“I had feelings of anger when I thought about her potential and how I wish I had the options she had… Mostly, I was and still am sad. I miss having a big sister.”

Putting smiling face on. Black man holding paper with smiley face printed on, happiness and joy concept

Behind The Façade

Growing up, my uncle was always the life of the party. He had a big personality, a contagious laugh, and a heart of gold. But as I got older, I started to realize that there was something else going on with him.”

Man on Mountain in Shadow

Growing From Experience

The greatest thing a person can do for themselves is to help someone else, and this is a calling that I feel is an expression the love I experienced by being saved.

self blocks

Putting Myself First

In some ways, I’ve learned that I need to put myself first and make sure that I am okay before I try to help others, but I also realized that helping people is something ingrained in me and who I am.”

Ready to Enter?

See Brighter Future Scholarship Eligibility Requirements & Apply