7 Must Watch Recovery Ted Talks
By Haley Kennedy, Lead Recovery Coach — 8.28.2020 —
There is often an enormous stigma around addiction and recovery in our culture, despite everything we know and continue to learn. It can cause people to suffer in silence and delay getting help. And something I don’t think is common practice in society, is to think about how that individual must feel with the labels that have negative connotations, and the dirty looks or unwelcoming attitudes ON TOP OF the negative self-image/self-talk, guilt and shame.
When contemplating treatment, we think on the one hand “we don’t want to carry on as the person with the drinking problem, making a mess of everything we touch.” But, on the other, we don’t want to be defined as the so-called-addict who goes to meetings and rehab.
That’s the kind of thing that follows us around forever. We don’t get to be “normal” after that.
We either continue living in denial, destroying ourselves in the process. Or we hide. We recover in secret and pray no one finds out.
Fortunately, all that is changing!
An extremely important opportunity I was given when I began working as a recovery coach, was to help normalize recovery. Getting addicted to something that is inherently addictive shouldn’t be seen as a disqualifying trait. There are still people out there who treat people in recovery like lepers – innately damaged souls who cannot be trusted no matter how many years of recovery they amass.
“You don’t drink?!?!?!?!”
We know how people might react, so we whisper about our struggles with substances because we don’t want it to impact us professionally or romantically. Nobody wants to be seen as a weirdo or feel like an outcast.
Fortunately, there are brave souls among us speaking out and writing about their experiences. More people are emerging from the shadows and saying, “yes, me too. I know what this is like.”
As a result, more people are openly embracing recovery. The more we talk about recovery and the more awareness we bring to the issue, the more we can make the case that it’s a perfectly reasonable way to live!
Here are 7 TED Talks about recovery that can motivate us to stay the course and help us educate others on substance use disorders.
- Recovery Out Loud – Tara Conner
Tara Conner is a former Miss USA who was scandalized for testing positive for cocaine. She is refreshingly honest and witty. In this talk, she lets us in on her troubling upbringing and how she turned to substances. Conner has channeled her energy into advocacy for erasing the stigma of addiction and providing access to treatment and prevention programs nationwide.
2. Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong – Johann Hari
I first watched this TED Talk when I was in treatment with less than a week in recovery. It profoundly changed my view on the disease of addiction. Johann talks about his experiences growing up in a family that struggled with addiction and how different countries are approaching the problem, implications of their findings and how we can change our own drug policies. He offers a different perspective about what is truly at the root of addiction.
3. Addiction is a Disease. We Should Treat It Like One. — Michael Botticelli
Michael Botticelli is a recovering alcoholic and former Director of Drug Policy for the Obama Administration. This talk is a great look at how we’ve historically treated people with addiction in the US and our flawed attempt to “arrest our way” out of the problem of substance use disorders. He offers an alternative solution for how we can tackle the addiction problem plaguing our country that goes beyond criminalizing addiction and actually putting systems and policies in place to help treat people who are suffering.
4. I’ve Been Duped By Alcohol – Paul Churchill
Paul shares his journey to recovery and how more often than not we are taught about the dangers with drugs, but not alcohol. He also speaks about shining light on recovery and reducing the stigma related to substance use disorder.
5. Gray Area Drinking – Jolene Park
Park defines “gray area drinking” as not having a rock bottom and wanting to be a social drinker, but always winding up overdoing it and regretting the amount of alcohol they end up consuming. You may have heard the term “functioning alcoholic.” She shares about being able to stop but being unable to STAY stopped. Park coined the acronym NOURISH which can be used as a tool to maintain recovery.
6. The Stigma of Addiction – Tony Hoffman
Tony discusses how his first-time smoking marijuana led to his eventual drug addiction, homelessness, prison, and finally redemption. He is a former BMX Pro who founded The Freewheel Project, a non-profit organization that mentors youth through action sports. He advocates for a shift in thinking towards current addiction and recovery processes.
7. Making Sober Less Shameful – Clare Pooley
Clare gave up alcohol and months later she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She told everyone about the breast cancer, but, ashamed, kept her decision to stop drinking secret. Now, three years later, she has given up anonymity, and is on a mission to make recovery less shameful for everyone.