Unite to Break the Silence of Facing Addiction

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Thousands come together for the purpose of facing addiction. Thousands stand up for recovery. This weekend in Washington DC, something historic will happen. The Unite To Face Addiction rally represents a joining of forces. Together, we fight for a common goal.

We’re honored to host with others such as Bill Weld, Christina Huffington, Daryl Strawberry, and Tommy Rosen. Among the performers headlining are Steven Tyler, The Fray, Joe Walsh and Sheryl Crow.

Facing Addiction: The Day the Silence Ends

Facing Addiction calls it “the day the silence ends.” 22 million Americans suffer from a substance use disorder. In addition, 23 million are in recovery. Indeed, Greg Williams calls this “the most urgent health crisis facing our nation today.”

What is the solution to this crisis? We believe in the solution. In facing addiction, we need to understand and treat the underlying causes. Hence, we address the trauma, isolation, shame, and pain. Such causes lead to addiction. Such pain is the result of addiction, which is why we need to unite to face addiction.

Physician and addiction specialist Gabor Maté says, “pain originates in childhood trauma, emotional loss, neglect or abuse. As a consequence, the addiction is not the primary problem—it is an attempt to solve the problem of pain.”

Overcoming Trauma

Given Dr. Maté’s insight into the role of childhood trauma in the cycle of addiction, the silence generated by the stigma needs to end. Indeed, addiction should not be treated differently from other illnesses and health challenges. In order for this shift to happen, the stigma must be replaced with understanding and acceptance. In truth, there is a proven path to such success.

For example, HIV/AIDS patients were dominated by the negative stigma in the early 1980s. Sometimes doctors wouldn’t even treat them. Hence, people suffering from the disease were not receiving the help they needed. Rather, they were being lectured about morality as they were dying. Once the landscape shifted, the medical community used research to turn a death sentence into a chronic condition.

By facing addiction and embracing recovery, the life of a drug addict radically changes. Giving back and being of service is the key. An old negative becomes a new positive. However, this happens only if the stigma of addiction is lifted. Indeed, by lifting the stigma, we remove barriers to treatment. Coming together as a compassionate community is a giant step forward.

Connection is the Solution

We connect on the path. We find sustainable healing. Tyler, who has been public about his struggle with addiction, says sharing his experience helps him remember what he’s gained. Most of all, it reminds him of what he has to lose. He is a resonant reminder for everyone on the path to recovery. Indeed, his success is our success. It reminds us that when facing addiction, we are not alone.

In the words of my friend Tommy Rosen, “If you have decided that you do not need a spiritual path, or people to help you along the way, then I am not betting on your success. I don’t know anyone who goes toe-to-toe with addiction alone and comes out smiling. It always ends in tears until we actually take the actions to change and move forward into the great unknown.” – Jamison Monroe, Founder & CEO

Here’s to moving forward, together.