Rob Reiner Opens Up Addiction Conversations
We are firm believers in de-stigmatizing the word “addiction.” For too many decades, embarrassment has surrounded those struggling with a dependency that they truly can’t control. So when an influential celebrity opens the dialogue, removes the shame and shares their personal story, we applaud them for it. Such is the case with actor and director Rob Reiner, who is working to change perceptions from the public stage.
Rob has already brought the conversation into many of his movies. We had previously profiled his acclaimed film Being Charlie, which told a fictionalized account of his son’s battle with heroin addiction. Reiner currently has a new flick in theaters which, though focused on the administration of former president Lyndon Baines Johnson, also touches upon recovery and support.
And if that weren’t enough, Rob is using his current press tour to openly address the nation’s opioid epidemic.
“We need to normalize what a lot of people are wrestling with. If you’re hiding it, if you’re trying to push it under the rug, what you’re doing is adding to the stigma,” he explained to The Huffington Post. “People take drugs because they’re in pain. The solution isn’t tough love. It’s love. Just love. And sometimes that means accepting that someone you care about may be struggling with something, and you need to deal with that.”
Reiner is also making a point to meet with recovery advocates during this tour and participate in social media awareness campaigns. He recently sat for an exclusive interview with Facing Addiction counselor Ryan Hampton to discuss his movie and mission in more detail.
— Ryan Hampton (@RyanForRecovery) July 30, 2017
Throughout his conversation with HuffPo, Reiner elaborated on the “disease” of addiction and how those struggling should be treated with dignity and respect.
“There is a real lack of compassion for people with substance use disorder,” he added. “I almost liken it to discrimination against people with physical disabilities. It’s outrageous and wrong. We don’t punish people who are disabled, for example, or try to force them to walk when they can’t walk. We change buildings, structures, and technology to make them more inclusive. We create laws that guarantee equal treatment for everyone. Surely we can do the same thing for people with substance use disorder.”
Reiner also shared personal stories from a parent’s perspective and illustrated ways to respectfully help your kids if you sense there may be a problem (as he did for his own son, Nick). Recovery advocacy is such an important role in our society and you certainly don’t have to be a celebrity to get the message across. If you have been impacted or just feel passionate about the cause, speak out and help us change the conversation about addiction.