On October 4, 2015, America is going to experience an event with the potential to change the world. On this day, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., will be the convergence of a force so powerful that mammoth change may become possible.
And I get to be there!
“Change the world?” you may ask. What could possibly be that big? What one thing in this country is so big that changing it has the potential to change everything else for the better? What one thing would have such a profound impact on our culture?
This one change would bring about safer communities, healthier children and flourishing families. It could even bring about peace. When we “UNITE to Face Addiction” —the theme of a rally and event to be held one month from today, on October 4 — all of America will be the better for it.
If you want to make history, join me in a show of solidarity and collective force in our nation’s capital on October 4th! Together, we can help the 22 million Americans with addiction, stand up for the 23 million more in recovery and urgently act to save the 350 lives lost each day to addiction.
UNITE to Face Addiction will be a first-time assembly of thousands — hopefully tens of thousands — of people from across the U.S., all attending as advocates for change. It will be the collective hearts and wills and voices of families who know what it’s like to grieve daily for a loved one in active addiction. Families that have lost a loved one to addiction will also be heard, with the hopes that the suffering may end for others. People in recovery will be there, too, to bear witness to the fact that recovery is indeed possible. And there will be over 500 (and counting!) large and small, public and private organizations from across our nation who have adopted this Statement of Principles:
“We have come together to let our nation know that addiction is preventable and treatable, that far too many of those affected have been incarcerated, and that people can and do get well.”
I’m the lucky mother of a daughter in long-term recovery from the ravages of alcoholism and meth addiction. Lucky not because of the fear, grief and loss our family experienced while my daughter was in active addiction, but lucky because we got her back.
Luck, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with it.
I often try to encapsulate for others just what were the key elements that led to my daughter’s astonishing freedom in recovery and that of our family. I even wrote a book about it. While many factors come into play, the truth is that medical intervention and treatment are the greatest components for addressing addiction. And access to this kind of help is shamefully lacking in our country. We know that only 11% of people needing help for addictive disorders get the treatment they need.
Imagine an America where every child, adolescent and adult receives the appropriate medical care and treatment for their addictive disease. Families would be restored and fewer children would enter foster care. The work force would be more robust and the welfare system less burdened. Property crimes would plummet. Our streets would be safer. Jail and prison populations would be reduced by over half. Just imagine.
Addiction is our country’s single greatest scourge and it can no longer be ignored. America is going to hear about it on October 4.
I’ll be on the National Mall that day with my daughter, celebrating her nine years of recovery and the restoration of our family. Please join us and the many thousands of others so our voices can be heard as we #UNITEtoFaceAddiction!
To learn more about the event, go to UNITE to Face Addiction