Question: What happens when 10,000 people in recovery from drug abuse and addiction get together to celebrate their sobriety?
SBB was part of the team that went with NIDA Director Nora Volkow last month to march across the Brooklyn Bridge as part of Recovery Month. Celebrated every September, Recovery Month honors the thousands of Americans who have kicked their addictions. Recovery Month is sponsored by government and other organizations dedicated to fighting substance abuse.
The event at the Brooklyn Bridge was an amazing experience. People in recovery came from every state. Some had been sober for only a few months, others for many years. You could see their stories on their faces, and many of them had been through a lot. But you could also see their hope that came from hard work. On this day, they all came together to walk across one of the most famous bridges in America, the same bridge that many American immigrants helped build more than 100 years ago to connect Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The bridge is a great symbol of hope and incredible achievement, since the technology behind its design seemed nearly impossible a century ago. It was so difficult to build that many people were injured and died during the construction - but it was eventually completed and still stands today. For the 10,000 people who had the courage not just to get treatment for their addictions, but to go public with their struggles to inspire others, their victory is a major achievement, like the bridge.
The Recovery Rally at the bridge was sponsored by A&E Entertainment, which produces the TV show Intervention. Counselors on the show work with families to help convince their loved ones to seek treatment for their addictions. Many of the counselors on the TV show led the way at the march across the bridge, along with Dr. Nora Volkow, holding a banner that says "A&E Recovery Rally."
If you watch the show Intervention, you might recognize some of the counselors in the photo.
We recently had a chance to talk with Super Star (his legal name) of the ROCKSTAR SUPERSTAR PROJECT (RSSS). He gave us some advice about becoming a rock star, but he also had some great information about shattering the myths around drugs and drug abuse. Check out part 2 of his interview.
Why is it important to shatter myths about drugs and drug abuse?
Knowing the facts about drugs is essential because drug abuse can kill you or the people you care about. And you don’t need to be addicted a long time for that to happen. Taking a pill, binging on alcohol, or ingesting cocaine just once can bring on horrible consequences, including death.
NIDA’s “Shatter the Myths” booklet states that nearly “1 in 11 people who use (marijuana) become addicted.” I was one of those people. When I was a teenager, I never thought smoking marijuana would lead me to crack cocaine. At the time, I thought, "It’s just weed—no big deal.” But after a while, smoking marijuana wasn’t enough for me, so I sought other drugs to chase the high feeling. I might have made different choices if I had known more about drugs and how they affect you.
We at ROCKSTAR SUPERSTAR PROJECT (RSSS) want to share the facts about substance use because there is so much misinformation out there. We believe that if people are informed, they can make better choices for themselves. The ROCKSTAR SUPERSTAR PROJECT is excited to support and promote National Drug Facts Week this year. If National Drug Facts Week was around when I was in high school, I might have asked, “Can you help me?”
How has your life changed since you stopped using drugs?
I’ve discovered my purpose in life after surviving an almost 15-year battle with the disease of addiction. Today, I’m a recording artist. My twin brother, Rock Star (also his real legal name), and I recorded Serenity, a first-of-its-kind CD focused solely on combating addiction. A Grammy-winning producer worked on the CD, along with many famous musicians who came together to help others through their own addiction struggles. Guests on our CD include current and former members of the bands Kiss, Heart, The Goo Goo Dolls, Dokken, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and many more.
What are RSSS’s Skype sessions?
The Skype sessions give the chance to participate and ask questions in a small group. I share part of my story as well as information from NIDA’s “Shatter the Myths” booklet with facts about drugs and drug abuse.
My main messages are:
1. Success is achieved by making responsible choices. Waking up every day and doing the right thing will always get you to the right place.
2. Everyone should believe in themselves, no matter what others think.
3. Sobriety is COOL!!
What advice can you give someone who wants to experiment with drugs?
I’d tell them to ask themselves if not ever having the chance to go home again is worth the risk. Is waking up in a jail cell worth the few minutes of escaping reality?
I would tell them to reach out to an adult or someone they trust and tell them about how they’re feeling. Ask for help, because not asking for help or support can lead to a life of misery or no life at all.
Always love, always encourage, and never let despair get in the way!