(Left to right) As part of the Recovery Month launch, actress Roxy Olin described her experiences with drug abuse and her recovery as SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, ONDCP Director R. Gil Kerlikowske, and Tom Coderre, Chief of Staff for the Rhode Island Senate President, listened to her story. “Over 3 years ago, I woke up in a hospital after having just flat-lined from an overdose,” Ms. Olin said. Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show a rise in drug use by young people.
Recovery Month 2010: From “Active Addiction” to Recovery
Two people in recovery spoke at the press conference launching Recovery Month 2010 about their experiences. Tom Coderre is the Chief of Staff for the Rhode Island Senate President and an Advocate for Recovery. Roxy Olin is an actress in MTV’s reality show “The Hills” and ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters.” Selected excerpts follow.
“In my active addiction, I was stuck in a crippling dead end, void of hope. Recovery restored that hope,” said Mr. Coderre. “I haven’t used alcohol or drugs to cope with stress, escape from life, or change the way I feel in more than 7 years. Through recovery, I’ve regained the things in my life that are most important to me—politics, family, and friends.
“In addition to educating people about the dangers of drug abuse, we must also educate them about the reality of recovery. Sharing stories of recovery is an important part of broadening social understanding and building public support.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to know just as much about how people are recovering as we do about how they’re using? We need data on how many people are in recovery, the services and supports helping people, and the duration of their recovery.”
“Addiction is the only disease that convinces you that you don’t have a disease,” said Ms. Olin. “Over 3 years ago, I woke up in a hospital after having just flat-lined from an overdose. My story may not be typical; I had a privileged upbringing, I’m very close to both of my parents, and I had a great education.
“But my first word was ‘more,’ so I think addiction was in my blood from a very young age. I tried marijuana first, and then my friend’s mom’s OxyContin. The first time I tried it, I felt invincible. I started to use almost on a daily basis. Lucky for me, my parents realized I had a problem.
“I asked for help and was in rehab for almost 9 months. I heard the stories of people around me who had made a life for themselves after being sober. I was not ambitious in my addiction—sobriety made me ambitious. My actual life began once I was able to get sober.”