Actor Murphy Pham talks about raising awareness and finding solutions at the EcoLuxe Lounge in Downtown Park City, Utah.

The biggest issue that we come up against in fighting the epidemic of addiction that our society faces today is the lack of understanding that people have regarding substance abuse and rehabilitation. There are many preconceived notions regarding addiction, and while some of them are based on some fact, far too many of them are completely false. If we are to have any hope of a healthier and more positive world, we must raise awareness in the general public and help them to understand the facts surrounding these issues.

Choices Recovery is mainly focused on providing an effective substance abuse treatment strategy to those who find themselves struggling with a drug or alcohol problem. However, we also understand that our responsibility in the fight against addiction does not begin and end at our doors. By reaching out to others and opening discussion about these issues, we can help people to have a better understanding of addiction and recovery, and lead more people to a more positive lifestyle through healthy decision-making.

This goal brought us to Park City, Utah during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a sponsor of The EcoLuxe Lounge, a premier red-carpet event honoring festival participants organized by Debbie Durkin of Drukin Entertainment, the industry-leading producer of on-screen sustainable product placement. The EcoLuxe, which makes appearances at several awards ceremonies and festivals throughout the year, is a gathering of some of the world’s top providers of holistic and eco-friendly goods and services.

Hosting the Choices Recovery Media Center was our friend Gretchen Rossi of reality TV’s “The Real Housewives of Orange County, who spent the day chatting with dozens of the performers and entertainment industry professionals who stopped y the EcoLuxe Lounge. Their conversations focused on the problems causing and created by substance abuse, and what we as a society can do to help.

One of the many guests that Gretchen spoke with was actor Murphy Pham, a young performer with many roles under his belt, including a recurring role on the series “Strings.” Murphy recognizes the importance of raising awareness about issues and educating people so that society as a whole can become more tolerant and understanding. In fact, he was at Sundance raising awareness for another cause that he feels passionately about.

As Murphy sat across from her, Gretchen couldn’t help but notice the bright, multi-colored scarf that he was wearing, so she asked him about it. “The scarf is actually to bring awareness to children with autism,” he explains, holding it up to show the puzzle design the garment featured. “This is letting people know that they do belong.” Just like with addiction, the misconception that some people have about those with autism has a deep effect on those people and their family members.

Murphy also spoke about what he believes is one of the biggest causes of addiction today. In a culture where everyone is used to getting things right way – from fast food to “On-Demand” television entertainment – people often search for the easiest and quickest way to cope with their problems, too.

“Everyone has always been prone to instant gratification,” Murphy points out. “Addiction can be anything, even outside of drugs – gambling, alcohol, prescription drugs – they want to feel that instant high so they can get through their day.” He really hit the nail on the head. Even though most of the people we see at Choices struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol, anything that gives a rush, or provides some sort of escape, can become addictive.

One of the most important parts of the program at Choices Recovery is helping our patients to find healthy and positive alternatives to using drugs or alcohol. Rather than escaping from the stress of daily life by getting high or drunk, some find that playing music or sports is more beneficial. Others might take up drawing, or rekindle an old passion for writing. Even taking a walk through the woods can serve as an “escape.” Murphy had some advice on that as well. “Read some books,” he suggests. “Everyone is so prone to watching videos and stuff like that. They don’t understand how powerful books can be. It’s fantastic.”

At Choices, we don’t just help our patients get clean and sober. We help them find the tools and skills to stay substance-free after they graduate. They find a path to true recovery, and the ability to build a more positive future for themselves and their loved ones.

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