At this point, there are few people left in the United States whose lives have not been touched by addiction in some way. If you are not addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, relationships, gambling or technology, you probably love someone who is. Those who have struggled badly with drug addiction or alcoholism to the point where they needed to let go of those substances altogether remain mysterious to most other people. Does it have to be all or nothing? Why can’t they party a little? They haven’t had a drink in years, why would having a drink now be a problem? These questions come up all the time from people who do not understand the nature of addiction.
And what is it like to actually live each day without any alcohol or recreational drugs? Is it difficult to do? How would it feel physically, mentally, emotionally? Would you be irritable or would it feel great? Would you be embarrassed to be the guy or girl at the party who isn’t drinking? Would you miss it? What would come up for you if you tried this for a specified period of time?
I was speaking about this to my dear friend, Parvati Shallow, who works at CBSNews.com/Health and we came up with an interesting idea. Why not challenge people to go on the wagon for two weeks? Anyone could participate. We could bring a lot of attention to the issue of addiction, provide information and inspiration and it would be a chance for people to stand in solidarity with someone they love who is in recovery. The campaign would also have the added benefit of helping people to be healthier and more aware of the effect of alcohol/drugs in their lives.
There are over a million people in this country who are actively recovering from alcoholism. There are apparently 23 million more who are suffering the horror of alcoholism without recovery. Who knows how big that figure would get if you factored in all the other addictions? So, take the next 14 days to stand strong with your loved ones and even those you do not know who struggle with the disease of addiction. It is a win-win on every level.
Take pictures of yourself holding a piece of paper with #14Days on it. Then post your photos and share your stories across all your social networks using that same hashtag: #14Days.
It’s bound to be a great experiment that will bring all of us closer together and move our society toward awareness compassion regarding the treatment of addiction and those who stuffer from it.
Enjoy the journey.
Tommy Rosen is a yoga teacher, writer and addiction recovery expert who has spent the last two decades immersed in yoga, recovery and wellness. Tommy has advanced certifications in both Hatha and Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. He is the founder of Recovery 2.0 Conference series. His first book, Recovery 2.0: Move Beyond Addiction and Upgrade Your Life, will be out from Hay House on October 21.
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