Substance abuse is a debilitating condition that profoundly impacts individuals, families, and communities.
According to the World Health Organization, alcohol causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence. While genocide, warfare, and pathogens make for more dramatic headlines, alcohol kills approximately 2.5 million people every year. Yet despite the striking fact that one in twenty-five deaths can be attributed to alcohol, drinking continues to be a prevalent social activity in most cultures. In the US, alcohol use is often advertised as a fun, carefree pastime; images of young, attractive coeds having fun at a beach or in a bar are commonplace.
The combined cost to the United States of substance abuse related health care, lost earnings and crime is $484 billion per year. While this figure is indeed staggering, representing a significant percentage of GDP, the human costs, in terms of emotional toil, cannot be measured.
9% of (22.3 million) Americans over the age of 12 met the diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence in 2007 report. When one out of every eleven adults has a substance abuse problem, it is clear that drug and alcohol abuse have reached epidemic proportions.
• There is a high correlation between joblessness and addiction with 18.3% of those unemployed in 2007 abusing substances.
• According to a U.S. Conference of Mayors 25-city survey from October 2007 to September 2008, substance abuse is be the leading cause of homelessness in America beating out unemployment, poverty and lack of affordable housing.
• 41.3 million or 16.7% of the US population drove while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in 2007.
• In 2000, 102,000 deaths in the US in 2000 could be directly attributed to substance abuse.
For individuals recovering from substance abuse, countless obstacles stand in the way of achieving and maintaining a sober lifestyle. Options for individuals seeking help to stay sober are limited and generally include formal inpatient and/or outpatient treatment and 12 step participation.
Even with the help of such programs, the recovering individual may return home to their previous environment and be surrounded by cues that can trigger relapse, including friends, social events, and more. Unfortunately, relapse rates remain high and substance abuse treatment lacks the structures and methodologies necessary to address the chronic and episodic nature of the disease.
What is needed is a transformation of social norms and elimination of the stigma that pins recovering addicts in a corner where isolation is the only real option to avoid risky situations. If societal norms create the expectation that living sober is normal, fulfilling and fun, choosing to live sober would be a more natural and compelling option. Phoenix Multisport is determined to chip away at the stigma of addiction and begin to create new social norms where individuals in recovery don’t have to hide behind anonymity and instead create a positive social environment where individuals can hold their heads high and walk proud.
Sober Active Community - A New Social Network Model
A person’s social network can have a profound impact on his/her recovery, health and well-being. The larger one’s social network and the more sober social supports one has, the more likely he/she will remain in recovery. When individuals get sober, there is a significant need for new playmates and playgrounds.