"The Cost of Being Free" by Kyla Milberger


This story is a personal journey that delves into the taboo subject matter of drug addiction on an intimate level. May 13th 2015 was a day that would change me forever; it was the day I lost my father to the horrible disease of addiction. It was also the day I decided to wake up and honestly see drug addiction for what it is, and the effect that it has on people’s lives.


I didn’t recognize the depth of my dad's sickness while he was alive, and when I did it was too late. The traumatic experience of his death changed how I view the world, and unfortunately, my brother Justin has followed in the same footsteps and currently battles with drug addiction himself. It then became my mission to educate myself and others on the disease through visual storytelling. 


In this body of work, I am specifically showing Justin’s everyday battles. I’m also reaching out to others who are fighting addiction themselves, as well as the close relationships surrounding the user. My goal is to capture the deep emotional hell caused by this deteriorating disease. I hope to shed light on the realities of what drug addiction looks like and the mental illness that is caused by it. Additionally I hope to humanize the addict, de-stigmatize addiction and show the intense realities of what it is like to struggle with this burden.


Kyla’s work consists of personal documentary narratives that bring social awareness to subject matter that is typically ostracized. She comes from a place of empathy and curiosity, and strives to understand the intense obstacles that people endure on a daily basis.

To view more of Kyla Milberger’s work please visit his Website or Instagram


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