At the EcoLuxe Lounge in Park City, Utah, OneRepublic guitarist Drew Brown talks about erasing the stigma attached to addiction. Anybody who has dealt with the effects of addiction in their lives, whether through their own struggle or that of a close friend or relative, can tell you that the hardest part of making the journey through the recovery process is the beginning – realizing that there is a problem and reaching out for help. A lot of this has to do with feelings of guilt or shame. Many people are simply unable to come to terms with the fact that their lives are not in their own control anymore, and that their substance abuse has taken over. The feeling of being ashamed about addiction comes from a stigma attached to it by those who don’t truly understand it. There is some preconceived notion about people who struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, a mental picture that many people have when it comes to addiction. It’s the guy living under the bridge drinking from a brown paper bag, or the shady character hiding out in a shadowy alleyway waiting for some unsuspecting target to walk by. But the reality is much different. Addiction can affect any person from any walk of life. Rich or poor, young or old, addiction knows no boundaries. This stigma often keeps people form reaching out for help when they truly need it. They may think to themselves “Well, I’m not that person, I can handle it on my own” or “What will the guys at work think of me?” Sometimes, this shame keeps people from seeking treatment until it is too late, and they finally fall victim to their addiction. That is why it is so important to erase the stigma attached to it – we must help people understand that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that things can only get better from this point forward. In order to share this message and break that stigma down, Choices Recovery often reaches out to others to open dialogues and encourage discussions about the issues surrounding substance abuse and recovery. The more people know about it, the better prepared we are to handle it if and when this situation arises in our lives. This mission took us once again to Park City, Utah as a sponsor of The EcoLuxe Lounge, an event held in honor of the participants of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Organized by Debbie Durkin of Durkin Entertainment, the industry leading producer of sustainable and eco-friendly product placement in television and film, the EcoLuxe Lounge makes appearances at several red-carpet events throughout the year, gathering some of the world’s leading providers of holistic and ecological goods and services. Hundreds of people, including dozens of celebrities and entertainment industry professionals, visited the EcoLuxe Lounge, which was held inside The Blue Iguana in DownTown Park City. Gretchen Rossi of TV’s Real Housewives of Orange County was the special guest host in the Choices Recovery Media Center, spending her time chatting about substance abuse and rehabilitation with many of those visitors. Among them was the talented Drew Brown, guitarist for the band OneRepublic. As a musician and performer, Drew has been in the entertainment industry long enough to see the rampant substance abuse that has claimed the careers and lives of so many artists over the years. He also understands that, without the stigma of shame attached to addiction that might have kept them from reaching out for help before it was too late, many of those lives might have been saved. “I feel like we’ve come along way as a society as erasing the stigma involved with addiction,” Drew says. “I still think there’s a lot of work to be done there, and I’m hopeful that the progress continues with people understanding the nature of addiction more and the way that recovery works. Anybody that’s fighting that fight deserves all of the support in the world.” Drew also realizes that, as a performer and public figure, he not only has the ability to change the world around him for the better, he has an obligation to do so. Sometimes, especially when it comes to our nation’s youth, musicians and artists can get through where parents and other authority figures can’t. So it is important that people use their platform to speak out about these things. “The reality is that it takes a lot more effort to erase a stigma than it does to create one,” he explains. With the help of people like Drew, that is one of the most important things that we strive for at Choices Recovery.