Empathy Trumps Apathy

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What most of us believe will happen will, in many cases, actually happen.

If most of you believe that signing the Anthony’s Act petition http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/anthonys-act… is a waste of time because it won’t lead to reform of substance abuse treatment, or because you believe we don’t need to reform the way we treat those suffering from addiction, or because you believe that addiction does not affect you, then you won’t sign the petition, we won’t be able to show legislators that addiction treatment reform is an important issue to voters, and nothing will change.

And your belief will be validated.

On the other hand, if most of you believe that together we can effect change by a strong show of support for the idea that long term in-patient treatment provides the best chance for recovery from addiction and will lead to fewer relapses, if most of you believe that our legislators will listen if they see that a huge number of voters consider reform of addiction treatment an important issue, if most of us believe that our legislators will act if they see tremendous support for the idea that ninety (90) days needs to become the new standard for how we treat substance abuse, then you will sign the petition, we will be able to show strong support for Anthony’s Act http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/anthonys-act… and change will come.

And your belief will be validated.

This is what’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy, which Wikipedia defines as “a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.”

The key to making Anthony’s Act a reality, to making support for ninety (90) days inpatient drug or alcohol treatment a self-fulfilling prophesy, is in those three little words in the first sentence:

“Most of us.”

Filmmaker (“The Anonymous People “) and activist Greg Williams explains what “most of us” means this way:

“Twenty-two million Americans are currently suffering from a substance use disorder. More than 23 million others are living in recovery. When you include the families of the afflicted, addiction impacts over 85 million people – we all know somebody. It’s not ‘those’ people. It’s all of us.”

Eighty-five million Americans. That’s one out of every 3.74 people in this country. “Those people” are our family, our neighbors, our classmates and our co-workers. They are us.

So far, 40,000 people (thank you all very much) have signed the Anthony’s Act petition. Unfortunately, that’s not “most of us.” That’s only one out of every 2,125 Americans who have been touched by addiction and that’s just sad.

But I am not discouraged. I am not defeated. And you shouldn’t be either.

I refuse to believe that only one out of every 2,125 Americans who have been touched by addiction believe we need to reform the way we treat our fellow citizens who are suffering from addiction. And you shouldn’t either.

I refuse to believe that only one out of every 2,125 Americans who have been touched by addiction believe that a minimum of ninety (90) days of in-patient treatment will result in more long term recovery for those suffering from the disease of addiction. And you shouldn’t either.

I refuse to believe that only one out of every 2,125 Americans who have been touched by addiction are willing to take 30 seconds to sign the Anthony’s Act petition
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/anthonys-act…. And you shouldn’t either.

I refuse to believe, in other words, that apathy trumps empathy and that indifference will be our self-fulfilling prophecy. And you shouldn’t either.

I choose to believe, instead, that we simply aren’t reaching enough of the 85 million who have been touched by addiction and that when we do we will get a lot more signatures and our legislators will start to pay attention to us.

That’s my self-fulfilling prophecy.

And I’m asking you to make it yours by sharing this post or by making your own. E-mail every one of your contacts. Share your support for Anthony’s Act with everyone you know and encourage them to do likewise because everyone you know should have a stake in making long term treatment of drug or alcohol addiction a reality.

In the words of JFK, those suffering from substance abuse “need no longer be alien to our affections or beyond the help of our communities”

If you haven’t yet signed the Anthony’s Act petition, please go here http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/anthonys-act… 1and take a moment to do so right now and please share this message.

Choose Life. Support Anthony’s Act. Now More Than Ever
Every Day In America 120 People Die of A Drug Overdose