Hardly a week goes by during which we aren't bombarded with the sad news of the death of yet another celebrity who "struggled with addiction". Oftentimes, the treatment careers of these poor souls have been long chronicled in the accompanying media frenzy. All too often, this scrutiny reveals celebrities receiving multiple episodes of treatment, behind some pretty imposing looking gates at ultra-exclusive and ultra-expensive facilities in the hills of Malibu, CA, or the like.
Learn more about our work to transform how our communities deal with the disease of addiction.
Imagine a nation that understands and treats addiction just like any other chronic disease. We know just as much about it as we know about any other health issue. We are just as likely to solicit the advice of our family doctor as we are for any other type of issue about which we might be open to suggestion. Stigmatized labels like, “alcoholic”, “drug addict” and “substance abuser” are relics of the past. We have come to know that addiction is an equal opportunity disease, affecting roughly 10% of any adult population, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, education, religion and socio-economics.
Historically, employers have gotten a bad rap for not being sympathetic to those who suffer from addiction. The prevailing perception is that employers have focused on identifying those who suffer and weeding them out rather than getting them the help they need. Not surprisingly then, employers have not been viewed as potential partners in the resolution of alcohol and drug problems.
Many of us who have survived addiction owe our lives to others; in particular to the fellowship of peer-based support groups. One of the sacred traditions of a leading such group is “anonymity”. While this tradition has no doubt served its purpose well, it becomes problematic if its purpose is broadened beyond its intended scope.