Part of my role on the upcoming TV series ADDICTION UNPLUGGED and my previous “life” operating a drug and alcohol treatment center was interacting daily with addicts, addicts’ families, people in recovery and their families.

The ADDICTION UNPLUGGED social media platform is followed internationally and, as a result, I have the privilege of speaking to people in recovery worldwide.

As I walked my dog this morning, pre-sunrise, I replayed in my mind the great conversation I had last night with a gentleman nicknamed “Sarge” from Austin, Texas. He is a war hero (Special Forces), a very successful guy in business, a former MMA fighter and a guy in recovery.

“Sarge” told me his story, a fascinating account of how he achieved the highest levels in each aspect of life that he encountered…and he was a serious addict; addicted to prescription pills (opiates) and alcohol.

By all of society’s measures, he was a successful and confident “man with a plan”. Guess what? He was miserable, scared and felt isolated.

He told me that six months ago, he finally got clean and sober. He re-examined his life, his values, his actions, his life goals, his moral compass – everything and he began making HUGE changes.

He rearranged his entire life and something very interesting and perhaps unexpected happened.

He found happiness.

He found freedom.

After our conversation last night, I thought of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of conversations I have had with people in recovery and I realized there were some common themes – happiness, gratitude and freedom. In fact, many of the people in recovery that I have talked to are among the happiest people I have met.

Perhaps people in recovery focus on gratitude, being true to themselves and appreciating life. When I speak with addicts, they say they are “fearful” that recovery will be boring and they are too young to have a boring life.

If happiness, gratitude and freedom are boring, please sign me up!

There is a stigma in today’s society regarding addiction, mental health and people in recovery. I understand that part of this stigma is based on the fear of the unknown.

That same stigma is responsible, in part, for only 10% of the people that need treatment for addiction and/or mental health getting help.

That same stigma is responsible for families of addicts not sharing the heartbreaking stories for fear of being shamed in society.

That same stigma is responsible for a lack of solutions for the opioid epidemic.

ADDICTION UNPLUGGED and our platform will be part of the solution. Please join us. Get involved.

If we all re-examined our lives, our values, our actions, our life goals, our proverbial moral compass – everything… and began making HUGE changes; the world would be a better place and maybe we would all find happiness and freedom.