Surgeon General’s Addiction Report
I recently read the Surgeon General’s addiction report. Guess what? Addiction is a bigger health problem than cancer. Almost twenty-one million people have a substance abuse addiction. That’s not counting the hundreds of thousands of people who are addicted to shopping, gambling, pornography, online gaming, or food. It’s a lot of people, folks.
Yet addiction and addiction treatment are immediately approached under a shroud of confidentiality and anonymity. There is something inherently wrong with that.
If you see someone choking, grabbing their throat and struggling to inhale, wouldn’t you immediately drop what you were doing and rush to help? Isn’t that an intrinsic human reaction?
So why do we approach addictions differently than we approach diabetes or blindness or a broken arm? Addicts are fighting for their next breath, trying with all their might to come up for air. However, we tell the addict that we’ll keep his or her problem confidential, and by so doing, we immediately assign shame. As a result, we turn a disease into a secret and that is wrong.
Neil and I began working as Church Service Missionaries in our church’s addiction recovery program over two years ago. We are 100% committed to maintaining the confidentiality and anonymity of the people who attend the meetings ( and that’s the way we will keep it.) But the Surgeon General’s Addiction Report got me thinking. Maybe addiction should be approached like the disease it is. We all have problems. Can’t we just come together and work together and hug each other and realize that we are all in this together???