Mental Illness And Addiction In Liz Murray's 'Breaking Night'

1878 Words 8 Pages
Breaking Night” is urban slang, specifically in the Bronx, for staying up through the night, until the sun rises (Murray 1). Liz Murray was born into the aftermath of her parents partying, hard drug using lifestyle in Bronx, New York. From a very young age, she had to learn to survive and adapt while addiction and mental illness destroyed her family. In her memoir Breaking Night, Liz takes her readers through her difficult, yet inspiring journey from being a homeless teenager to a student at the prestigious, Ivy League college, Harvard University.
Little is more daunting than being diagnosed with mental illness or observing someone you love struggling with addiction. Mental illness and addiction does not only affect the person but also the
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Liz’s memoir has influenced many aspects of my life. As a person, I have learned to accept people for what they are. Liz loved her parents unconditionally and never blamed them for her struggles. From cleaning up her drunken mother after a night at the bar to gratefully accepting gifts from the trash from her father. She cared for her parents and accepted everything with an open heart and was never ungrateful or acted as a victim. She had the ability to accept that they were sick and doing their best. I have taken away from Liz’s journey that you can only accept people for what they cannot change because your blame will not make a difference. As a student and as a professional, I have learned to be an opportunist. From creating jobs so that she could feed herself when homeless to applying to Harvard University, she never strayed from an opportunity. Academically, MassBay has given me the opportunity to get a better education. In high school I was an unmotivated student and therefore did not accomplish as much as I was capable of. Attending MassBay, I have dedicated myself to my academics and have done exceptionally well. In the fall, I will be attending University of Massachusetts Commonwealth Honors College that would have been unattainable if I had not taken all the opportunities that were made available to me at

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