I work on what is commonly called “methadone mile.” It’s also been referred to as “ground zero” for the opiate addiction in Boston. I’ve heard those who are commonly seen walking around the area referred to as “zombies” or the “walking dead,” and even worse, as I’m sure you can imagine.
There are two methadone clinics, two shelters, a detox, and we (PAATHS) are in the same building as the needle exchange, in the immediate area.
When People Unite, Amazing Things Happen
On October 4th 2015 the silence ended. That was the day that the UNITE to Face Addiction rally happened on The National Mall in Washington, DC. Tens of thousands of people in long-term recovery from substance use disorders came out and ended their silence so they could break the stigma of addiction. There were also grieving parents and spouses that had lost their loved ones to the disease of addiction, and recovery allies. The bottom line is everyone is sick of seeing people with substance use disorders die, one every four minutes to be precise. The other issues that were addressed were the decriminalization of addiction, the failed “War on Drugs,” S. 524: Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (C.A.R.A.); a bill that is going before congress, and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act that the insurance companies are failing to follow. Each one of those issues is of vital importance and I recommend researching them online.
Are We Bringing AWARENESS? YES!
September is National Addiction Recovery Awareness month. I feel like before this year it was something that organizations did and those of us in recovery would celebrate (sort of) privately with each other but very few of us would come out publicly and talk about alcoholism or addiction. I mean, why should we? The stigma that surrounds addiction is horrible. There are so many misconceptions around addiction that most of us hide in our anonymous meetings and only our close family and friends know we are in recovery.
Anonymous vs UNanonymous, What’s the Right Choice For You?
I recently wrote a blog called Does Our Silence Define Us? The Downside to Anonymity and a few things were brought to my attention that I missed in that article. The first point is who should break their anonymity, and secondly, why being open about your recovery is important.
Who Should Break Their Anonymity
If you are newly sober, you should probably solidify your sobriety by doing these three things before you get “loud and proud” at a public level about your recovery.