UNITE to Face Addiction Rally 2015

by | Aug 23, 2015 | Latest News | 4 comments

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The UNITE to Face Addiction event will take place on October 4, with Advocacy Day on October 5. (Facing Addiction)

The UNITE to Face Addiction event will take place on October 4, with Advocacy Day on October 5. (Facing Addiction)

October is almost upon us (just a little over a month away), which means that anyone able to travel to Washington, DC, will have the opportunity to attend the 2015 UNITE to Face Addiction rally. This conference-style event will take place on Sunday, October 4, and will continue the following day. The rally is put on by Facing Addiction Inc., and will seek to spread awareness regarding the terrors of addiction and the vast number of people who are killed by this disease every single year.

What Is UNITE to Face Addiction?

The UNITE to Face Addiction event will be held at the National Mall, the site of many other activist rallies. (Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress)

The UNITE to Face Addiction event will be held at the National Mall, the site of many other activist rallies. (Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress)

UNITE to Face Addiction is a rally meant to be held at the National Mall. This has been the site of numerous historic events, usually designed for one form of activism or another. It has been the site of civil rights protests, anti-war protests, the unveiling of the AIDS quilt, and more. It will not be the spot at which thousands of addicts and their supporters gather to share their stories and express support for those who are still suffering. UNITE to Face Addiction will be supported by a number of affiliates, including the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD).

The official website for the UNITE to Face Addiction rally lists several goals. The first is to give addiction a voice by showing that the millions of people who suffer from this disease are not without their support. You can add to this voice before the event has even begun by following the above link to their official page and sharing your story through an automated form that has been provided. Whether you have struggled with addiction yourself, or have simply lost a friend or family member to this disease, you are welcome to submit your story for possible publication

The second mission stated by the UNITE to Face Addiction webpage is to “rebrand” addiction. There are some who do not support addicts, and look down on those who suffer from this disease. The organizers of UNITE to Face Addiction are hoping to generate more support by increasing empathy and understanding among the general public. Many hold a stigma against addicts and alcoholics due to the negative myths and stereotypes that are often perpetuated by a lack of understanding regarding the true nature of the disease. Such people need to recognize that addicts are not generally bad people, but are rather troubled by something more powerful than themselves.

The third mission stated by the UNITE to Face Addiction page is to increase access to effective prevention and addiction recovery treatment. This is one of their primary goals, and feeds into the next few missions listed on the site. The fourth is to utilize scientific innovation to increase the efficacy of treatment. The fifth is to advocate for policies that will help to end addiction by making it easier to get treatment. And the final goal listed by the UNITE to Face Addiction webpage is for people to share experience, strength and hope in order to show that long-term recovery yields amazing benefits to those who have been treated.

The rally itself will take place on October 4, with the following day acting as Advocacy Day. This will take place on Capitol Hill, and will give advocates a chance to meet with policymakers to discuss the state of addiction treatment in the United States. The main goals of UNITE to Face Addiction will depend largely upon the influence of these policymakers. The main webpage for UNITE to Face Addiction contains a link to a page on Advocacy Day, which includes a toolkit for those who desire more information on the legal goals of participating citizens.

The 2015 UNITE to Face Addiction rally has a lot of major goals. Now, let’s take a moment to talk about how they plan to achieve these goals. Much of the actual influence on public policy will be made on Advocacy Day, but we’ll begin with the rally itself and talk a bit about the major events of the day. These events will include music, live speakers, and more.

What Will This Event Entail?

As previously stated, the UNITE to Face Addiction rally will include live speakers and musical performances. As far as music is concerned, Joe Walsh of the Eagles will be one of the featured guests. He has publicly spoken about his addiction in the past, making him one of the best candidates for such an event. Another former addict, Steven Tyler, will also be in attendance. They will be joined by other hit musicians such as Sheryl Crow, the Fray, Jason Isbell, and John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls. But this bevy of musical talent is only the tip of the iceberg in an event that will include a number of other major speakers.

Speakers at the UNITE to Face Addiction rally will encompass all walks of life. Some of these speakers will be celebrities, while others will be elected political officials. Others will not have the same star power, but will still have powerful stories of addiction and recovery. The goal is to show that the disease of addiction can affect anyone from anywhere. It is not preventable by virtue of wealth or status. It does not discriminate. Facing Addiction maintains that addiction is “the most urgent health crisis facing our nation today,” and aims to spread this message to as many people as possible.

Anyone who plans on attending the UNITE to Face Addiction rally will want to bring some things with them. The event itself does not cost a penny, but there is only limited seating. For this reason, it is recommended that people bring portable chairs or other forms of seating. It is also recommended that attendees bring water and/or snacks, since the National Mall is only able to accommodate a limited number of food vendors. While not required, Facing Addiction asks attendees to bring signs or posters in order to show their support for the cause of fighting addiction.

The major issue facing many who would like to attend the rally is transportation. Not everyone is able to make it to Washington. This is why UNITE to Face Addiction has partnered with Rally Bus in order to make transportation available to more people. In order to qualify for a bus to Washington, you must get at least forty people from your area to sign up. This is the minimum required number of passengers to fill a bus. If less than 40 people have signed up, then a bus cannot be chartered to Washington.

Of course, not everyone will be able to find forty other people to sign up. Others might have other extenuating circumstances that prevent them from traveling to Washington, regardless of the means by which they might get there. For this reason, Facing Addiction has decided to look into live streaming the UNITE to Face Addiction event. At this time, there are no details regarding whether or not this will be possible. However, anyone who cannot attend in person should check the event’s website from time to time over the course of the next month. If live streaming is made possible, then you will be able to watch and listen to the amazing stories of numerous event speakers from the comfort of your very own home.

UNITE to Face Addiction is cramming a great deal of entertainment and inspiration into a single day. Those who are able to stick around for Advocacy Day will then have a chance to speak with numerous politicians about the future of addiction treatment in our great nation. But whether or not you are able to stay and participate in Advocacy Day, it is still worth attending the UNITE to Face Addiction rally. Below, we’ll talk a bit about why you should be there, whether in person or through live stream.

Why Should You Show Up?

The day after the rally, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with policymakers on Capitol Hill. (Public Domain/Wikipedia)

The day after the rally, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with policymakers on Capitol Hill. (Public Domain/Wikipedia)

Not only will those who attend the UNITE to Face Addiction rally get to participate in a groundbreaking new push for advocacy and awareness, but they will strengthen their own recovery due to the sheer number of stories to which they will be exposed. These stories are going to follow three different themes. The first is “It’s Time to…”, which will focus a bit on changes that need to be made. The second, more straightforward theme is “Remember, Recover.” The third is “End the Silence,” which embodies the very purpose of UNITE to Face Addiction itself.

There are millions of people all over the world who are struggling with addiction. Unfortunately, the bulk of them never make it to treatment. Many of them never even make it to a 12-step meeting. There is no intervention, and they never learn to build a strong support network so that they can recover from their disease. Hundreds of people die from this disease every day. Some of them commit suicide. Others are in drunk driving accidents. Some overdose on drugs or succumb to alcohol poisoning.

Again, this disease is not hindered by wealth or status. If it were, we would not be subjected to such tragic stories as that of Amy Winehouse. The only way to combat this horrible state of affairs is to try and spread awareness to as many people as possible. This is the ultimate goal of UNITE to Face Addiction. Addiction will not cease to exist simply because you attend a rally, but each person who becomes aware of this growing menace will stand a chance at survival that they might not have stood before. If the rally saves even one life, then it has performed a miracle. Hopefully, as we spread the message to citizens and policymakers alike, we’ll set the nation on a course that will save hundreds, thousands, or even more.

There are currently millions of addicts in recovery, and several more millions who will never recover. But they are not the only ones who are affected by this disease. As we have covered before, addiction is a family disease. This means that family members and friends of addicts and alcoholics are suffering as well. The dark and twisted tendrils of this nefarious disease branch out, affecting everyone within their path. By spreading awareness and trying to improve the state of health care in America, UNITE to Face Addiction can save many of the innocents affected by addiction from suffering the tragedy of burying a loved one.

Not only will the UNITE to Face Addiction rally help to spread awareness, the following Advocacy Day events will also help by connecting citizen advocates with state and federal policymakers. There are already many politicians on our side, wonderful individuals who are sympathetic with our cause and would love to see an easier path to recovery for the many addicts who are still suffering. They can help us understand what needs to be done in order for such a path to be created. They can talk to us about making treatment more affordable through better insurance options, as well as how we can ensure that addicts with legal issues receive treatment instead of just imprisonment or other sanctions.

Sorry if we seem fairly heavy-handed. If we seem to be repeating ourselves in order to drive the point home, it’s because these issues hit pretty close to home for us. Between our programs and our sober living facilities, we try to help as many addicts as we possibly can. But even with a number of other treatment centers out there trying to accomplish the same goal, it’s hard to escape the fact that we can only save so many lives per year. UNITE to Face Addiction is geared toward finding solutions for the number of addicts and alcoholics who go untreated until the day we die. We would be crazy not to support their cause.

We hope that you will consider attending the UNITE to Face Addiction rally if possible. Not only does the event have a great purpose behind it, but it should promise to be highly enjoyable as well. Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know if we can expect to see you there.

4 Comments

  1. Angelina Singbiel

    Do you know of any scholarships I may be able to receive help from to attend this awesome event? I am in recovery and would really lovely support this stigma stopping event but unfortunately can not afford a bus ticket on my own.

    Reply
    • Kieran Hair

      I don’t know of any scholarship. They do have the thing where you can get them to send a bus your way if you get 40 people to sign up. That’s a lot of people, but if you petition meetings around your area then you might be able to make it work. Or if you can’t find that many people, then maybe you have some friends in recovery who would be willing to carpool?

      Reply
  2. Sandie

    What network will it air on? PBS?

    Reply

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