A note from Give America Hope's founder and president
My father was a gifted entrepreneur...
and my stepfather was a very talented man. Yet, for decades, alcoholism robbed them of everything meaningful in their lives. I felt powerless and frustrated by my inability to help them—feelings that still resonate with me.
After enduring my parents’ divorce, witnessing alcohol abuse, and experiencing several other traumas throughout childhood, the same seeds of addiction emerged within me as a college student and young businessman. Despite the odds, I somehow changed course before addiction imprisoned me.
My businesses grew over time. I was grateful for the people I had met and the opportunities afforded to me so I prioritized giving back by expanding my community involvement and community investments.
Then, like a wildfire, the opioid epidemic spread. I wept with friends and loved-ones who lost family members. And, one day, the call came for me.
“Why do so many get trapped in a cycle of addiction and relapse, but so few are able to succeed in long-term, stable recovery?”
After a decade-long struggle with opioids, my godson died of an overdose.
Like so many others, I felt compelled to take action. In the early days of Give America Hope (GAH), my main goal was education. You may read about an early GAH effort here. Since then, we have been flooded by media coverage of the opioid crisis. Additional problems, like polysubstance abuse, also persist.
As I thought about next steps, I decided to focus on questions that had haunted me since my teenage years: Why was I able to escape addiction when my father and stepfather were not? Why are so many people trapped in a cycle of addiction and relapse? Why do so few of them succeed in long-term, stable recovery?
Over the last several years, my research has included conversations with policymakers, researchers, service providers, and people who have struggled with mental health, substance abuse, and addiction.
My team and I have not found a clear consensus on the most effective strategies for facilitating movement from addiction and treatment to sustained recovery and little credible evidence on the factors that contribute to a successful, long-term recovery. While we continue to navigate these efforts, we also focus on prevention as well.
As such, GAH established clubhope™ to actively promote wellbeing in the areas of mental and physical health, substance abuse, and addiction. This youth movement employs structured club meetings where peers engage in open discussions on critical matters that routinely affect their lives. Through education and interaction, participants are able to recognize and prevent destructive behaviors and situations. They also learn techniques to help them feel better about who they are and improve their self-confidence so they are able to help themselves and each other. You may read more about clubhope™ here.
I ask you to partner with us on this journey. We believe change is possible—and hope and collaboration are catalysts for change.
We believe change is possible—and hope and collaboration are catalysts for change.