Saturday, March 2, 2013

From Darkness to Light

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

The stigmatization of mental illness (I include addiction here) has persisted in spite of its high prevalence in the general human population. Consider the following data taken from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

In 2011, almost 50 million American adults (20% of the U.S. population) experienced mental illness; and in 2000, SAMSHA estimated that "...4.6% of the population were dependent on or abused alcohol", and "1.0% of the population were found to be dependent on or abused both alcohol and drugs."

For far too long, mental health and addiction disorders have remained in the shadows of society - leaving those who suffer feeling even more isolated, alone, defective, and helpless than they already feel from their disease.

This blog, as I'd mentioned in previous posts, is part of my continuous pursuit of therapy and personal growth. But the main reason I choose to be so open and candid about my illness is to join others in the recently begun effort to shine light on the darkness - to help remove the stigma and extend light to those suffering alone.

I remain inspired by the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy…

Let us all together be a light and shine hope and love onto sadness, fear, and despair.



...and graph of this data for my addiction class paper:

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