According to a Pew survey of US adults conducted in August of 2017, nearly half of adults have a family member or a friend who has been addicted to drugs, reports Vox. Forty-six percent of adults surveyed meet the criteria. The implications of this data is striking when considering the severity of the country’s current drug epidemic.
Addiction used to be something that nobody talked about. Addiction was something that happened in other people’s yards, so to speak. If addiction was happening in a family home, it was often happening with secrecy and shame. Today’s world of open conversation is a new one. Consistently, society is breaking the barriers which have bound individuals, their friends, and their family members to silence. Sadly, addiction is no longer rare. Data from 2016 has been finalized, tallying the number of opioid overdose deaths at approximately 64,000 people. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2016 estimated that over 20 million Americans had a ‘substance use disorder’, the Vox article cites. That number is made up of Americans twelve years old and older, proving that addiction no longer belongs to any specific demographic.
We can no longer say “not”: not in my house, not in my family, not on my street, not in my neighborhood, not in my town, not in my area, not my son. The shame and stigma which often accompany addiction are rapidly disappearing as we increasingly realize we have to say “yes”: yes in my house, yes in my family, yes on my street, yes in my neighborhood, yes in my town, yes in my area, yes my son.
The cycle of addiction is perpetuated by guilt, shame, and stigma. When we feel as though we cannot talk about our problems, we stay stuck in our problems. We don’t want to call it “addiction” because we are afraid of what addiction means. We fear what we do not understand. Today, there is little room for a lack of understanding about addiction. Volumes of neuroscience, research, psychology, and literature have been produced in a frantic effort to more intimately understanding and more effectively eliminate the deadly consequence of addiction. The famous Harry Potter series character Professor Albus Dumbledore once spoke, “Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” Continuing to talk about addiction, talk about the people we know, love, care about- as well as the people we don’t know- who are living with addiction, is how we can continue to move forward toward a solution. Together we can recover. Together we can find freedom from addiction.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474