advocacy.jpgIn 1956, addiction was labeled a disease by the medical association. Since the beginning of recovery itself, anonymity has been a core principle. It's time for that to change. Men and women in long-term recovery are some of the most talented, amazing, determined people anywhere! The principle of anonymity teaches right from the beginning of the individual’s journey that they need to be filled with shame and hide.

To change the way the world views addiction, mental health, and suicide, it will take an all-encompassing approach. All human beings were created for one major thing—connection with one another. And when that doesn’t happen, or worse yet, isn’t even possible to happen, all things beautiful in a person disappear. When the original War on Drugs began an unintended consequence happened—an actual war on the victims of the perceived drug war. The worst part of this is that, due to the shame involved and the villainizing of its participants, it only caused casualties. For the intended connection to be possible, the stigma and ignorance surrounding addiction and the War on Drugs needs to be erased, and this can only come through the educating of the masses.

To build capacity for compassion and for change to happen, as a society, it's important to know that laws which will affect recovery opportunities for the addicted and those with mental health issues are frequently put to vote. We all need to be aware of what is happening and be the voice for all those that have been affected by the ravages of addiction and those suffering with mental illness. As a community, we need to be advocates and stand for the rights of those that currently can't stand for themselves.