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Heroes in Recovery: Defining A Superhero

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heroes-in-recovery_TheWatershedWho are the heroes in recovery for addiction?  A hero may get their title for being like a warrior when facing their disease and showing bravery by facing their fears.  These individuals can fight their way through the recovery process and prove they are a force to be reckoned with.  An excellent example would be Wonder Woman herself, otherwise known as legendary actress-icon Lynda Carter, who has been sober for 18 years now.

Heroes in Recovery: Lynda Carter

One of the major heroes in recovery includes Lynda Carter, but she wasn’t always a role model for others.  Being perfect isn’t required to be a hero, which Carter understands now.  “I’m focused on health, not perfection. I don’t want to be a weak, sick 90-year-old,” Carter elaborated.  “I try to help others and I’d like to take the stigma out of alcoholism, but I don’t struggle with it.”

Despite being in the spotlight, Carter claims she wasn’t active in her alcoholism during the filming of Wonder Woman, but started drinking during her mid-20s when the TV series ended.  Carter used alcohol to alleviate the pain from her failed marriage in 1982 with Ron Samuels, and later to cope with a location change from Hollywood to Washington, D.C.

Today, Carter directs her focus to helping others instead of turning to alcohol.  Carter explained how her disease gradually progressed, “It happened over a period of time.  It’s not like methamphetamine or heroin, where you get hooked and that’s it. But … over a period of time you begin to crave it.”  She reiterated the fact that alcoholism is a disease and that because it was on her mother’s side of the family, she had a genetic predisposition to it.

You Can Be a Hero Too

There are several Heroes in Recovery 6k Events hosted by Foundations Recovery Network.  Getting involved with the community is a great way for individuals to come together in support of those who struggle with the issue.  Heroes in Recovery is an initiative created to help break the stigma against addiction.  According to Heroes in Recovery there are 23 million individuals dealing with substance use issues and only 3 million seek treatment.  This leaves 20 million left to deal with the stigma and feeling very alone.

There can be many different definitions for heroes in recovery, so when an individual trudges along through the process of recovery they may be considered a hero.  As Lynda Carter, a hero in recovery herself, said, “Alcoholism is an abyss.  You are terrified of the addiction. You just can’t stop. The disease has taken over.  It is not a matter of having willpower.”

Drug addiction and alcoholism can be terrifying diseases, but conquering the fears to overcome them can pull the individual out of their misery.  Both the actual event Heroes in Recovery and being an example as a hero in recovery can help break the stigma of addiction.  This will allow society to begin treating these diseases like the illnesses they truly are.

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