“Two years ago, Demi Lovato almost died from an overdose.
In 2020, at Super Bowl LIV, she rocked the world on stage with a beautiful performance.
Demi Lovato uses her public eye to raise awareness surrounding not only her personal struggle with substance abuse, but the epidemic of substance abuse from which America is currently suffering.
She is not the only celebrity, though, who has faced the tight reigns addiction holds. There are many other famous faces behind addiction. Celebrities like Robert Downey Jr., Ben Affleck, Elton John, Drew Barrymore, John Goodman, Carrie Fisher, and many more have spoken on their own struggles with substance use and abuse.
The discourse around these celebrities has changed from tabloids to triumph. In today’s society, sober celebrities and celebrity addicts have the ability to write their own stories and show the truth behind recovering from addiction. But even though celebrities are talked about in terms of their substance abuse, their entries into programs, their recovery, and their sobriety in a positive manner, as a society, we still continue to ostracize ordinary addicts we know or see in our everyday lives.
Substance abuse isn’t just a celebrity problem, and we need to love and treat all addicts the same. Not just the ones with fame and fortune.
We tend to watch in fascination as celebrities cycle in and out of their encounters with the law and rehab facilities, yet we rarely openly discuss how to prevent the tragedies caused by addiction, unfolding every day in our own communities. Drug addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer. It does not just happen to good people or bad people. It happens to people. It doesn’t care how rich you are, how poor you are, how successful you are, the family you come from, or if you are loved or talented or smart.
Addiction is a relentless and nasty disease.
Who are we, as humans, if we ignore the suffering of others until their suffering becomes a means of entertainment and gossip? If the only time we discuss addiction and addicts as individuals is when they are people we can ‘normalize,’ then what are we doing to help fight the disease of addiction? We need to come to terms with the reality of substance abuse in our lives. We need to move from focusing on our fascination with celebrity addicts to instead focus on our own families and loved ones, who are suffering, and take seriously the necessity of addressing this deadly disease that is a current national health crisis.
All addicts deserve empathy, kindness, love, and support.
An addict can have any face, not just one with their hair and makeup done, singing on stage or performing in your favorite movie. We cannot just recognize suffering when it is in our face. We need to recognize it when it’s on our street corners or in our schools or in our local treatment facilities.
And we need to love all addicts the same way we love famous ones.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Maddison Williams, and originally appeared here. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more about addiction:
‘You’ll never get out of this hole. Just go back to your old friend, heroin.’ I spent the night in jail, tying bedsheets around my neck.’: Man who battled addiction 9 years now owner of state’s largest recovery center
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