So on this soberthday (I like that word. I know I'm not the first to use it -- kudos to whoever thought it up.), the only gifts are those sobriety gives me and, in turn, what sobriety allows me to give to those around me.
Together we must continue to face addiction because no one should ever have to overcome addiction alone. No longer can we sit on the sidelines and let others worry about changing the system.
Horses don't care who you are, what you've done, or what you believe. They care only about how you behave with them. This enables them to give unconditional acceptance to a troubled teen who is revealing his or her true self.
The mistakes I made were entirely my own, and I alone must take responsibility for them. I do, however, ask for a bit of understanding, as I was very sick at the time, but I have never been given the opportunity to get back up again. Despite being drug-free for over seven years and going to extraordinary lengths to put my life back together, it was all for nothing.
Stop calling me a label. Start calling me a person. When I was 16 I was a person struggling with addiction. Today, I am a person in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs for more than 14 years. That doesn't just sound a bit different -- it feels different.
It is challenging to maintain sobriety in a sea of booze, beer pong and perpetual hash-bash culture. Having a recovery center on campus to turn to in my fledgling days of recovery would have provided the crucial spark needed to ignite my efforts into something sustainable.
Sanctions against people with drug convictions create obstacles to education, housing and public benefits -- the very things we know reduce recidivism and make communities safer, healthier and better places to live.
For too long, we've had either a drug du jour addiction policy focusing on heroin in the 1970s, then crack in the 1980s, followed by a mass incarceration of individuals with addiction since that time. Washington is a town of incremental change, but the loss of life happening every day in America demands more than a temporary Band-Aid.
Denis, among many other things, is an actor using his fame to help troubled teens. The advocate for Road Recovery opens up in this video about how the program succeeds and why it is so amazing.
Drugs Over Dinner aims to provide a safety net for those secretly crumbling under their own addiction or that of a loved one. We have the opportunity and the tools to change the status quo and fight addiction together.
The more we talk about mental health, the more we get the anti-stigma message out there. This is really key to enabling open, real, and compassionate discussions.
Consumption is an addiction itself. Consumption is a way in which you mute the pain. I know people who have plenty of resources by which they are able to subvert the pain or divert the pain: by consuming, buying unnecessarily.
It would also be helpful if, in our culture, we were taught from an early age that pain is part of the experience of being alive. Modeled for us instead are ways to hide pain, run, pretend, compartmentalize, distract...
Certainly our conversations this week should remember the genius of Robin Williams. But we should also be talking about how to help prevent yet another tragedy. The way to help is to start seeing addiction as more than the craving for a substance relief.
In order for these headlines to stop and for people to stop taking their own lives, we can't just bat our eye at the subject anymore -- and we certainly cannot continue to perpetuate a negative stigma around both mental illness and addiction.
I know that substance abuse problems vary in terms of severity, fright and heartbreak, and yet I am optimistic! In research and clinical work alike, I've seen the evidence over the past 40 years that families and friends make a difference in helping someone who struggles with drinking, drugs or other compulsive behaviors. Often, it is the critical difference.