Going Public With Recovery

Where is everybody? 20 million people in recovery.  Think about that for a minute.  The amount of people who suffer from some sort of chemical dependency and are now in recovery is the same number of people who are here illegally according to Lou Dobbs and the American Resistance. I wonder how many of those are in Arizona? Whatever the number is, these days if you are in the United States illegally or you happen to be in recovery, you better keep your heads down. There is a stigma and discrimination facing all of these folks. Maybe that is why we don’t see too many of them on the street carrying signs talking about civil or human rights.

I know that is one of the reasons why people in recovery aren’t jumping up and down in public forums talking about issues that concern them and there are plenty. Not that anybody’s asking for it, but society isn’t handing out medals to people who are able to get clean and sober and put there lives back together for the most part. Just like they don’t hand out medals if you don’t break the law and are supporting your family. For me we are talking about human rights in both of these issues, pure, plain and simple. I can understand why people are reluctant to be public about their recovery.

I have had the good fortune to sit with Larry King on his television show twice. The first time talking about my memoir Symptoms of Withdrawal for an hour and the second time talking with a panel talking about the disease of addiction. The show has reached out to me probably 4-5 more times, always at a time when some celebrity has run their car up the road or had a melt down in the tabloids. The last time Larry called I told him, “When you want to get serious about this issue call me, all your interested in doing is dredging up sensational stories about abuse and depravity count me out.”

It’s no wonder people are reticent to stand up and be counted but its time. Its time that the recovering community define the conversation. Its time to put the salaciousness to rest. Its time to give the world the benefit of our experience and its time that society everywhere recognized addiction and recovery for what they are. Thoughts? Stay tuned for 12 step recovery; partner or road blocks to a more public and active recovery movement.

Photo via kweezy mcG

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~ by Christopher Kennedy Lawford on June 8, 2010.

8 Responses to “Going Public With Recovery”

  1. Thanks Chris,

    Great artical and right on point.

  2. Great work Mr. Lawford but is this breaking the tradition of anonymity at the level of press, radio, and film?

  3. Thank you for this awesome post! I am a recovering addict and the stigma that goes along with that forces me to remain anonymous in my blogging experience. If you knew me, you would never suspect I was an addict. I do not fit the typical profile at all. I am well educated. I had a successful career (prior to the addiction). In fact, because I do not fit the profile, I was able to keep my addiction a secret for a very long time.

    I want to be more open about it. I want to reach out to the world and educate the public about how easy addiction can happen to anyone. Yet, I remain reluctant to do so due to the stigma.

  4. Thank you for the comment Mary. I want to discuss that question directly in a post with my thoughts.

  5. I love it that you are not interested in being part of the celebrity trainwreck trash talk on TV. The addiction part makes headlines, the recovery never does, at least not yet.

  6. Very interesting post Chris. I’m not sure what specifically you are asking people in recovery to do. I agree there is a stigma, real or sometimes imagined — and the need to erase that. Largely it has been reduced but I’m sure it stops many from getting sober. What can the average guy do? Loved your book and I salute what you have done to lift the veil. Tim

  7. I agree Chris. I’ve been pretty open about my recovery…first with friends, who amazed me with their support…then as time went on I began to realize that my recovery from alcoholism is something that can benefit others who may be “suffering in silence” in a slow progression toward death. Late in 2009 I was interviewed for an article about addiction in the health professions and I broke my anonymity with the author. I allowed him to use my name in the hope that I might become a reachable resource for the still suffering healthcare professional who thinks that he or she is alone out there! The article was published in early 2010. John Murray, DMD

  8. Tomorrow I will have 20 years SOBER! If I could I would shout it from the rooftops……. this way of life is a miracle……

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