Where Is the #MeToo Movement for Addiction Recovery?

Readying society for #NoShame.

Posted Jun 07, 2018

Watching Rose McGowan’s intriguing documentary series “Citizen Rose” about her involvement in the #MeToo movement, it occurred to me that the work that she is doing can also pave the way for recovery pride.  Rose and others impacted by sexual assault displayed palpable emotions and the ongoing trauma symptoms and fallout was devastating to watch.  The footage of her speaking and uniting others in “Rose’s Army” led me to feeling that I wanted to join her movement even though my advocacy work has been targeted towards those in addiction recovery. In fact, I started to see similarities in our plights. 

Creative Commons
Source: Creative Commons

Sexual assault is an event that often goes unspoken and leads individuals to experience a great deal of shame and trauma. It is also something that victims may get blamed for or feel embarrassed about despite it not being their fault. If you were to substitute out the words “sexual assault” for “addiction” in the previous sentence, you may not be able to see a difference in the two topics given the similarities of emotions surrounding them. However, if you were to ask many people they would not see any similarities between sexual assault and addiction, aside from addiction often being involved in some sexual assaults or addiction being an after effect of a person’s trauma.

What I am suggesting is that the #MeToo movement has been sudden and effective in decreasing shame and empowering those who have come forward. Solutions have also been accomplished — perpetrators held accountable and voices found. Where is the #MeToo movement for those who are in recovery? We often live in silence, experience shame and judgement, and are sometimes told that it is our fault when most would not “try” to have an addiction. The anonymity associated with 12-Step Programs has done exactly the opposite of #MeToo — in fact, it has led those with addiction to feel that they need to hide in church basements and not to tell others. Greg Williams, in his movie, “The Anonymous People” and with his non-profit organization Facing Addiction, has begun a shift toward recovery pride by encouraging those in recovery to identify as “Hi, my name is _________ and I am a person in long-term recovery."  Where is the social contagion for those in active addiction to want to feel pride around their recovery, to be inspired by those who are sober and to feel comfortable discussing their addiction recovery openly? 

We need a MOVEMENT!  More lives have been lost to opiate overdoses than were lost in the Vietnam and World War 2 combined. 

#NoShame. Who will join?