By Terry Carter, Editor
Do you have plans for today, Oct. 4? Cancel them. Tickets to the game or show? Give them away. What happens Today in Washington D.C. has probably already affected your family or a close friend — and it could save millions of lives in the future.
Join me in supporting a worldwide event on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, on the National Mall in Washington D.C. to support comprehensive diagnosis, medical care, treatment and resources for addiction. It’s called United to Face Addiction — a topic that affects 1-in-3 families in America, but is often ignored because of apparent embarrassment or social pressure.
The free rally will include musical performances by the likes of Steven Tyler, Joe Walsh and John Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls and expected notable speakers like TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz and many others.
In honor of my daughter and the roughly 85 million people in America are affected by a chronic addiction — and as many as 90 percent of those with signs of addiction are not treated — I offer my own version of Martin Luther King’s landmark 1963 I Have a Dream speech. It is tweaked to the current topic of addiction and recovery as addiction to alcohol and other drugs is now America’s “most urgent health crisis.”
Blessed are those who live in America for opportunity is great here. May that soon be the truth for those who are so often ignored and refused proper care today because of addiction.
I am so happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for improved care, treatment occurs today for those drowning in America’s “most urgent health crisis.”
We live in the 21st century, an educated, enlightened and medically advanced age when virtually all major illnesses have cures or longer life expectancies considered impossible even a century ago. With these advances and a proven treatment system for drug addiction and recovery, now is the time to embrace the fact that a person in recovery is not a failed human. They fell into addiction by genetic disposition and enviroment.
When my daughter was first diagnosed with drug addiction in 2011, we were told by a physician that medical studies revealed that 15 percent of the general public has an addictive disposition in their genetics, their unique DNA code. That means more than 1-in-10 people, if exposed to alcohol or any addictive substance, could be addicted in a short time. From that day on, their decisions must be deliberate and focused on sobriety. The 12-step system created for acoholics in th 1930s during the heart of the depression was a monumental victory in saving lives.
More recent additions of alternative peer groups, counseling, youth programs and even sober schools have raised the lives of those in recovery to a point where they can and do reach a totall productive life. There are hundreds of organizations that are interdependent in the life of a person with such a chronic medical condition.
With so much achieved and so many millions of cases of addiction undiagnosed, it is physically impossible to suggest a community or a school district personnel to suggest that addiction does not exist on their turf and therefore needs no attention. Addiction is everywhere from Congress and the richest neighborhoods to the janitorial department in your office building and the slums — as are those who have recovered from this illness and are today famous musicians, politicians, judges, teachers and much, much more. You cannot isolate yourself from this disease. Instead face it and work with the hundreds of organizations in Washington D.C. today hoping for a better future.
The time has come to embrace this medical field, not ignore it or push it aside like an unwanted child. Those in recovery are more mature and wise than you suspect. I am consistently amazed with the wisdom of my many friends who have been influenced by the world of recovery.
There is no place for shame regarding addiction in your world or mine. To avert your eyes and say this worldwide issues does not affect you is like saying massive pollution will never affect your food, air or water. Wake up, friends. You are blinded by fear and shame hoping addiction avoids you, but your neighbor may still be attending recovery meetings.
Drugs such as alcohol and its companion, addiction, have been soul mates since the first liquor was swallowed long before America’s democracy was founded. For thousands of years, drunkards have been a waste product in each socity. Today a huge number of homeless and jailed persons are suffering from addiction and have no treatment options. They are part of the estimated 90 percent of drug addicts who are untreated. But we can fix this in the future.
I have a dream that one day men, women and their children will live in a world where everyone is created equal — and can have a chance to succeed regardless of challenges. A world where everyone is cared for, loved and given the medications they need.
I have a dream of a day when addicts are given value and care, where they are not judged by their failures — but by their victories over a relentess, chronic disease. I have a dream that we are all judged by the content of their character. I have a dream that recovery organizations across the nation awaken U.S. officials to the fact the “war on drugs” has failed, but recovery is the better way to win. I have a dream that the perception of ignoring addiction in society will stop forever while so many of us are living strong and achieving great things in recovery.
I have a dream that the rich and the poor, the white, the black, the hispanic, the asian and others can receive proper treatment for their addiction by asking for it — and that imprisonment or dark alleys are no longer the path for an alcoholic. I have a dream that addiction and addictive tendency become standard terms since medical research reveals that at least 45 million people in America are battling this chronic illness.
I have a dream that your family and mine can emerge from the shadows currently shoving those in recovery to accept menial jobs when they have more wisdom, talents and energy to give. I have a dream of total victory against this medical disease, but unity is our greatest strength today. And with this circle of friends, we will emerge victorious in finding addicts earlier and curing addiction through proven methods.
I have a dream that diabetes — a chronic disease my daughter and I share — and addiction will one day be on the same level of treatment for all. Diabetes is currently nearing a cure once and for all. New inventions, medicines and millions of dollars of research are invested annually to solve this riddle forever. If diabetes can be tamed in my lifetime and the life expectancy doubled in the past century, then surely the larger family of those dealing daily with addiction, its complications and a proven recovery system deserve a cure as well.
With your contribution to this cause, which is receiving coverage on The Huffington Post website today, one day soon we shall proclaim: Thank God almighty for another miracle on this Earth — addiction can be cured and even prevented in the future.