Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding addiction and addiction treatment stops too many of the 24 million Americans who struggle with drugs or alcohol from getting the help they need. In fact, only 2 million seek treatment. We want to change that.
That is why we recently launched the “We Do Recover” movement with the goal of saving lives by ending the stigma. We are doing this in several ways, including promoting stories of hope to spread inspirational proof that addicts can recover and lead successful, full lives.
In addition, Ambrosia will be providing $500 college scholarships to eligible recipients in recovery or loved ones affected by addiction, as well as hosting regular fellowship events. The movement also involves offering materials, help lines and monetary donations to well-aligned advocacy groups that educate community-by-community and collaborating with prestigious universities to produce superior research that improves treatment effectiveness.
It’s also vital that those suffering from addiction know that it is a disease that should be treated and not a failure that should be condemned or swept under the rug. That is why we are also making influencers available to tell their own recovery stories through comprehensive programs directed to specific audiences, including corporations, hospitals and the media.
While playing in the NFL, I, Cris Carter, struggled with addiction early in my career, but today I credit seeking treatment and being in recovery for allowing me to achieve my greatest accomplishments over my 16-year career. I would never have gone to eight consecutive Pro Bowls or been ranked second on the NFL’s all-time list for total receptions and touchdowns had it not been for my sobriety.
And, as a registered nurse in Philadelphia, I, Jerry Haffey, found that illicit substances were grabbing hold of patients and watched too many succumb. With a desire to make a difference, I moved my family to South Florida and opened the Ambrosia Treatment Center to fight the crisis head-on.
It’s a moral imperative that we break through this barrier and eliminate the social stigma of addiction, as well as encourage those who are suffering to enter treatment, because, in recovery, we can do incredible things.
JERRY HAFFEY SR. and CRIS CARTER, WEST PALM BEACH
Editor’s note: Jerry Haffey Sr. is founder and CEO of Ambrosia Treatment Center; and Cris Carter is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.