Shatter the Shame | Share the Facts

Shatter the Shame | Share the Facts

It’s time. We must band together to Shatter the Shame of Addiction, and here’s why…

It is estimated that over 23 million Americans struggle with addiction, yet fewer than 10 percent are getting treatment. By comparison, cancer prevalence for all types of cancers [which is the term used by the American Cancer Society to define the number of living people who have ever had a cancer diagnosis] totals 12,549,000 – roughly half the number of people struggling with addiction. Another disease comparison is HIV. The CDC estimates more than one million people are living with HIV in the U.S.

How many of us are even aware of these numbers?

Addiction = 23.2 million
Cancer = 14.5 million*
HIV = 1.1 million
Diabetes = 29.1 million*

*Figures revised 9.5.14

How many of us are aware that addiction is now understood to be a brain disease and that treating it requires the same treatment model used to treat other diseases, such as cancer, HIV and diabetes (let alone what is the disease treatment model)?

Rehab – What More Could You Want?

This is not to say that any one disease is more important than another but rather to draw attention to what secrecy and shame can do to effectively treating | preventing a disease. In my opinion, the estimated 90% of those who struggle with addiction do not seek help because recovery is, for the most part, done in anonymity and that continues the secrecy and shame. And it is that secrecy and shame that oozes in and envelopes the family, pulling them into the collusion around the notion, “Addiction isn’t a problem here.”

Recovering in Anonymity – Does it Continue the Secrecy and Shame

Behind Every Alcoholic or Drug Addict is a Family Member or Two or Three…

How Can You Help Shatter the Shame of Addiction?  Share the Facts

Shatter the Shame of Addiction

Shatter the Shame of Addiction: Tweet these messages or add them to your FB or Pinterest or Google+ or drop them into an email.
Together – we can do this!

If we are going to stop this train-wreck, we must start talking about addiction for what it is – a disease – a chronic, often relapsing brain disease. “The Addiction Project,” created by NIAAA, NIDA, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and HBO, hosts a great deal of the new research on the brain disease of addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)’s site,”Drugs, Brains and Behaviors: The Science of Addiction,” shares similar information.

As family members – as recovering addicts and alcoholics – as a society as a whole – we can do this. It’s time. Please – let’s change the conversations. Let’s share the facts.

To help you join in this effort, I’ve created a number of “Tweet-size” Shatter the Shame of #Addiction facts. Please browse through them. Then, if you find them helpful, please Tweet or share them through your Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ or simply drop them into an email to a friend. Together – we can do this. It’s time.

Shatter the Shame of #Addiction: understand what makes addiction a disease. Ck out The Addiction Project

Shatter the Shame of #Addiction: Know the Risk Factors for developing the disease. Ck out

Shatter the Shame of #Addiction: understand & get help for #mental illness | key risk factor for addiction. Ck NAMI

Shatter the Shame of #Addiction: understand “The Dance” | impacts on family members & what they need to recover

Shatter the Shame of #Addiction: 23.2 million struggle with addiction, only 10% seek help. Your thoughts on anonymity?

Shatter the Shame of #Addiction: Alcohol Abuse is NOT Alcoholism, but it CAN contribute to developing the disease

Note: I have created a separate page for this effort, as well. If you’d like to continue to share these “Tweet-size” facts, check it periodically, as I will upload new lists (hopefully on a weekly basis). And, just so you know, the opening message on that page is the same as this page. So, scroll down, and know that when I update the page, I will date the new list so you don’t have to sort through to find ones you’ve not already shared.

Thanks so much for your help!!!! Together – we can do this!


Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author | Speaker | Consultant | Founder at
Lisa is the author of hundreds of articles and 11 books, including "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop!," "Addiction Recovery: What Helps, What Doesn't," and "Secondhand Drinking: the Phenomenon That Affects Millions." She is a national keynote speaker with over 25 years speaking experience, consultant, and founder of She has spent more than 14 years studying 21st century brain research in order to write, speak, and consult on substance use disorders prevention, intervention and treatment; mental disorders; addiction (aka substance use disorders) as a brain disease; adolescent addiction treatment vs adult addiction treatment; effective treatment for co-occurring disorders (having both a substance use and mental disorder); secondhand drinking | drugging; help for the family; and related subjects. In 2015, she founded SHD Prevention, providing training and consulting to companies, public agencies, unions, nonprofits and other entities to address the workplace impacts of employee secondhand drinking and alcohol misuse.
Lisa Frederiksen

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32 Responses to Shatter the Shame | Share the Facts

  1. MarVeena says:

    Nice Article Lisa, was not aware of those numbers- rather eye opening

  2. WOW! Those are huge numbers, Lisa! Thanks for bringing attention to this. I’m sharing. 🙂

  3. What statistics!?! Shows how many people are hurting, and no one is alone in their issues.

  4. I love your work s you know and this is a big part of people not getting help.. the shame! Thank you so much, Lisa!

  5. Very interesting statistics by the CDC, Lisa. I know in my heart these numbers will lesson as we go forward helping one another in compassion and forgiveness of ourselves.

    • Aren’t they though, and I very much agree that these numbers should lesson as we all work together to do our part to help those move forward with treatment and recovery. Thank you for your comment.

  6. Lisa, I love the tweet size bits to share. New and probably more effective way to get the word out! Good Stuff.

  7. Tom H says:

    Thanks for sharing this information Lisa. The numbers you presented were rather eye opening.

  8. I totally agree with you! And, there’s another problem that is just as horrible. Affordable treatment. SO many are homeless and on the streets due to lack of affordable treatment. We have got to wake up to this outrageous lack of understanding! Thank you for being the bright light in the darkest hole in America.

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Martha! And I very much agree with you – lack of affordable treatment is another huge problem – especially treatment that effectively treats co-occurring disorders, for often people suffer from two brain diseases at the same time – mental illness and addiction.

  9. Wow, you definitely have some scary statistics and information in this article. Thank you for bringing this topic to the surface:) A lot of people have a hard time confronting their problems and I am sure you are an asset to helping them change and get sober!

  10. Liz Bigger says:

    This is good info! Thanks so much for sharing. This info helps so many people to stop the shame!

  11. Shari says:

    The Addiction Project is terrific. Thank you for bringing it and all these other resources together in one place. Sharing this post for sure!

  12. My goodness – these are certainly pretty shocking numbers. Thanks so much for sharing and working to raise awareness. Awareness is the first step in making big changes happen.

  13. Pat Moon says:

    You are onto a good mission. I have to say that addiction of any kind does seem to carry a level of shame. Is that because we perceive it as a weakness of character?

    • Thanks, Pat. I believe the shame is because society views it as a weakness of character. My hope is that by raising awareness about this brain disease and the wide-ranging related issues, we can shatter this shame.

  14. Sharon O'Day says:

    You’re right, Lisa. For something that affects as many people as does diabetes, addiction should be much more mainstream than it is. It’s understandable that treatment for addiction was set up in a way that perpetuated the anonymity (in the 12-step programs, for example), because it reflected the shame that went along with the disease. Thank you for all you’re doing to bring the truth about addiction into the light!

    • I heard Judy Woodruff’s interview with author, David Sheff, re: his new book, “Clean,” yesterday. He gave this remarkable answer to her question about choice – whether the addict / alcoholic was choosing to drink or use. And he responded, “The problem with that is think about 10 kids who go out after school and they go to the playground, or wherever they go, and they all smoke a joint. One of those kids is going to become addicted. So all of those kids made that choice. That one kid didn’t make the choice to become addicted.

      The reason that he becomes addicted is because his brain is different. His neurological system is different. It responds to drugs. It doesn’t process them the same as everybody else. So that’s not a choice. And it’s — and that’s the problem, is that we look at it — many of us look at it as a choice, and, therefore, we blame people for becoming addicted, and we blame them when they don’t get well.” ,>

      It’s when we really understand addiction as a brain disease and the key risk factors contributing to the development of that disease, as well as what can happen when substance abuse occurs during brain development ages 12 – 25 [Sheff also made this point in the interview, “And 90 percent of addicts start using drugs or alcohol before the age of 18.”], that we will finally treat those with this disease the same way we accept, treat, and support those with other diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, HIV, diabetes….

      Thanks so much for your comment, Sharon!

  15. Mike says:

    Wow an author that really responds to her own page? Are your books available on amazon kindle?

  16. […] the disease; a shame that keeps people from seeking the help they need. Thanks for reading, “Help Shatter the Shame of Addiction | Share the Facts,” and “Recovering in Anonymity – Does it Continue the Secrecy and […]

  17. […] Shatter the Shame. It’s time. […]

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