Los Angeles is usually associated with big movie productions, Hollywood stars and a city filled with fame and excess. This past week was the polar opposite – Infinite Recovery was a part of the limited attendees that took part in the most historic event for addiction reform in United States history. We were at the United States Surgeon General’s first-ever Report on Substance Abuse and Health at the Facing Addiction Summit at Paramount Studios.
It was perhaps one of the most inspiring and defining moments of my life.
I’m not very guarded about my life story. As a chronically-relapsing heroin addict for the better part of a decade, I was resigned to the idea that I would never do anything meaningful. I was sure I would never make my parents proud, I would never be a contributing member of society, and I certainly wouldn’t do anything notable. My greatest hope then was that I would overdose so my loved ones would be free of my constant stress.
This past week proved how wrong I was. Taking part in this history-making event was so powerful. Listening to the United States Surgeon General openly declare that addiction is a chronic disease and requires the same medical attention as illnesses like cancer or diabetes gave me goosebumps.
Hearing speakers, both medical professionals and celebrities, pour their hearts out and challenge public opinion was moving. Sure, it was also cool to meet Danny Trejo and Shilo Harris, but it was even cooler to connect with these people on a personal level – we are all people in long-term recovery and were there for our primary purpose of saving others from the disease of addiction.
I know this is just a beginning. This event was the first step in a long process of changing how addiction is treated, but it was a powerful one to say the least. Now, people in recovery and medical professionals have to do their part by treating people with this disease with compassion rather than judgement and fear.
What made this week that much better was the love and compassion in that room. You could feel that something big was happening. Let this be a lesson to anyone scared of getting sober – there is nothing boring about recovery if you get involved.
If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid or heroin addiction, get help! We offer a confidential hotline at (844) 206-9063 and our admissions team is available 24/7 online.