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Is It Better to Have Lived as a Drug Addict and Then See the Light, or Is It Better to Have Lived in the Light Your Whole Life?

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led to the turnaround of his life: “In the 80’s and 90’s, Robert Downey Jr. struggled with drug addiction and finally in 2001, with the help of California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, he came out clean and sober. The actor publicly supports those who struggle with drugs and alcohol” (International Business Times 1) Since Downey successfully completed this substance abuse treatment program, his career has skyrocketed with appearances in multiple million dollar movies, such as Tropical Thunder which led to Oscar Nominations. “Downey garnered a number of accolades for his performance in Tropic Thunder, including an Oscar (best performance by an actor in a supporting role), Golden Globe (best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture) and Screen Actors Guild (outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role) award nominations” (Bio 1). This is one of countless stories of people who have overcome addiction to live successful, fulfilling, and eminent lives.

Now, America is experiencing increased drug use, which makes the need for counselors with personal experience a growing necessity. A survey conducted by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that “from 2008 to 2009, the rate of current illicit use among young adults aged 18 to 25 increased from 19.6 to 21.2 percent, driven largely by an increase in marijuana use (from 16.5 to 18.1 percent)” (SAMHSA 1). Overcoming drug addiction is a tough battle which cannot be done alone. This theory was first discovered by Doctor Bob Smith and Bill Wilson when Wilson contacted Smith during a craving to get a drink. “Alone in Arkon after a failed business trip, fearing he would resume drinking, Wilson sought out another alcoholic (Smith) to sustain his own sobriety” (Gross 1). Communicating with fellow addicts is key to a successful recovery. If there are no successful recovering addicts for a struggling addict to look upon for help and advice, the addict would surely be doomed to a life of addiction. Recovering addicts have a distinguished ability to provide empathetic support, resulting in successful recovery stories. Life is so much more rewarding for those who experience true non-judgmental friendship through a recovery group. These bonds between friends grow stronger daily as each person works on improving their life through staying sober and keeping each other accountable. A motto for self-help groups is “one day at a time,” which means only focusing on today’s problems. This theory allows for a reduced stress lifestyle, and as a result, increased happiness.

In response to this rising epidemic, Americans need to take action. Get involved in the community and interact with each other. It may not be an addiction that you are battling, but there is something you struggle with. Take a leap of faith and find out you are not alone. Everyone goes through problems in life, granted some are worse than others, success can be achieved through helping each other through the hardships. Try helping someone who is down in a rut without judging them; it might be the act of kindness that they need to get back on the right track. Although drug addiction is a serious disease which causes almost unbearable hardships, overcoming this disease ultimately strengthens a person’s character and improves one’s outlook on life.

Works Cited

Kemp, Ryan, and Alan Butler. "Love, Hate And The Emergence Of Self In Addiction

Recovery." Existential Analysis: Journal Of The Society For Existential Analysis 25.2 (2014):

257. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2010). Results from the 2009

National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Volume I. Summary of National Findings (Office

of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-38A, HHS Publication No. SMA 10-4856Findings).

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Wargo, Buck. "Breaking Cycle of Addiction Not Easy." Las Vegas Business Press 22 Sept.

2014, 10712186 ed.: 16+. Galileo. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.

Brown, Anthony, et al. "Spirituality And Confidence To Resist Substance Use Among Celebrate

Recovery Participants." Journal Of Religion & Health 52.1 (2013): 107-113.Academic Search

Complete. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

Gross, Michael. "Alcoholics Anonymous: Still Sober After 75 Years." American Journal Of

Public Health 100.12 (2010): 2361-2363. Business Source Complete. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

"Robert Downey Jr." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2014.

Weiss, Jeff. "Robert Downey Jr. makes it all the way back to the top." Washington Post 9 Oct.

2014. Business Insights: Essentials. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.

Kemp, R. (2009a). The lived-body of drug addiction. Existential Analysis, 20(1): 120-132.

International Business, Times. "There’s a Genetic Component to Addiction and Indio Has Likely

Inherited It: Robert Downey Jr."International Business Times 30 June 2014: Regional

Business News. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.

Seebohm, Patience, et al. "The Contribution Of Self-Help/Mutual Aid Groups To Mental Well-

Being." Health & Social Care In The Community 21.4 (2013): 391-401. MEDLINE with Full

Text. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.


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