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May 24. 2014 1:42AM

Fighting addiction: Farnum's new way

New Hampshire has a serious addiction problem, and it is getting worse. How do we fight it? With stories.

If every Granite Stater with an addiction could have been in the room at the Farnum Center's fundraiser last Tuesday night, many of them might be on their way to recovery already. Farnum Center board member Melissa Crews, who organized the event, made the brave decision to use her own experience with recovery to help others. One of the main reasons people do not seek treatment is fear of social stigma. Crews decided to fight the stigma by outing herself, and she persuaded others to join her.

That night, Crews stood before more than 250 people and talked about her recovery from alcoholism. Others followed. A doctor of psychology. A business owner. A young man just out of the Farnum Center. A company president.

Members of the audience who are in recovery then stood, followed by those whose families have been hit by addiction. Maybe half the room was standing. Crews' magic had worked.

On the long path to recovery, overcoming the fear of social ostracism is only a first step, but a big one. You can help others take it by supporting and encouraging them, or maybe by sharing your own story if you can.

New Hampshire has one of the highest rates of addiction in the country, and it is growing.

The sooner those who suffer know that they will not be shamed for seeking help, the sooner we can start to bring those numbers down.


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