When I was leaving Caron Treatment Centers in the Summer of 2001 at age 17 I don’t think I could have ever imagined doing anything to help others struggling with addiction, let alone sustaining my own recovery for over 14 years. Slowly but surely as I got my feet underneath a whole new life for me and my family thanks to quality adolescent treatment, supportive recovery housing, and ongoing peer recovery support I started to realize I wasn’t unique with the struggle of addiction. However, I was surely damn lucky in the opportunities for recovery that I was given. Unfortunately, even 14 years later more than 90% of the 22 million Americans who need treatment for addiction today don’t get it. As a direct result of this discrimination more than 350 people are going to lose their life today, and millions of others continue to grow sicker behind the walls of our prisons and jails.
Realizing these truths about addiction, no longer could I allow my personal journey of recovery to remain simply personal. Lives of others depend on the afflicted and the affected standing up for those who can't. It has been true for HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, ALS, and heart disease. We must all challenge one another to look around, and realize the larger picture of the worst drug epidemic in American history now surrounding us, and take a stand. A big stand. A historic stand.
Picture tens of thousands of people standing shoulder to shoulder on the National Mall speaking with one voice. People in recovery from addiction, with their loved ones, families of loss, members of law enforcement, the faith community, educators, laborers, business people and college students, indeed, people of every color and orientation.
What a beautiful tapestry we'll present to America on October 4, 2015 when individuals and families impacted by the addiction crisis gripping our nation descend on Washington, DC for UNITE to Face Addiction, a historic gathering to shine a light on, and demand solutions to, the addiction crisis.
The time has come to end the silence around addiction - it’s our time. I hope you will join your others from Caron and all those impacted by addiction to take this live-saving stand together!