Obama’s New Drug Czar Understands Addiction
In a guest column for Frontiers, the administration’s rehab man talks alcohol, stigma and being gay
Michael Botticelli

My name is Michael Botticelli, and I serve as the Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy, President Obama’s senior advisor on drug policy.

I am also a gay man. I am also in recovery.

Twenty-six years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of speaking those words, let alone writing them for a publication. I would never have dreamed of the opportunities I’ve been given since then—the chance to speak to countless Americans about their own recovery, to represent the Obama Administration, to work at the White House. Twenty-six years ago, I couldn’t have dreamt I’d be here today, because I could not imagine life as a gay man without alcohol.

I didn’t know I could have a life full of unimaginable joy on the other side of addiction.

I didn’t know that a vibrant community of gay people in recovery was waiting for me on the other side of my disease. I didn’t know that I’d be just one of millions of others in recovery living joyous, healthy, full lives.

And I couldn’t have predicted that in 26 years, one of the most important drug policy reforms in a generation would become the law of the land. Under the Affordable Care Act, mental health and substance use disorder treatment services are a required benefit—and treatment for these diseases must be offered at parity with other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Twenty-six years ago, I could only have dreamt that one day I’d serve a president who supported same-sex marriage, and that I would be married to the love of my life.

Pride Month is a time for celebration, but it’s also a time for us to reflect on how far we’ve come as a community. One of the most empowering things about being out—both about being a gay man and about my recovery—is that I can bring my whole self to my job. Far too many of us have lived our recovery in silence and shadow, while stereotypes about those with substance use disorders proliferate.

These stereotypes, and the stigma they reinforce, are toxic to those of us in recovery. They’re also the biggest barrier to treatment for people struggling with addiction. How can we tear that stigma down? By being open and honest about our recovery and by showing our friends, families and co-workers that we are not our disease. If you’re reading this and you’re in recovery, I encourage you to get in touch with us to share your story. Remember: We have done this before. The extraordinary progress we’ve made with LGBT rights over the past several decades started with the simple act of coming out to our family and friends.

If you’re struggling with your own substance use issues, please know that treatment is available to you—and it’s within your reach. I encourage you to visit Covered California to learn about enrollment options. 

Serving as a presidential appointee has been the honor of a lifetime, and while I have many people (my husband, my family, my friends, my colleagues) to thank, I know that my life today would not be possible without recovery.


 «  Return to previous page
 »  Send to a friend

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
  1. louis vuitton replica posted on 06/11/2014 01:17 AM
    If you ambition the top mp3 player, try an iPod. On the internet June stocktake auction is an complete contentment for those ysl outlet who actually ambition to get able articles out of basal expenses. Based on the internet website you pay a appointment to, you may a lot of adequate get an admirable accumulating of auction items that may affectation assorted articles for archetype ambrosial bunnies, lath board games, bed awning sets, affection hand-woven napkins, pens, photo frames, wallets, bracelets, purses,necklaces, organizers, and abounding more. Walking out accepting a replica haversack will apparently be a accident for your actualization and method. Replicas are aswell readily attainable of these replica watches uk accoutrements which accept analogous functionality, looks, variety, architectonics and adumbration from the aboriginal ones. That does not betoken that it's abandoned non- developer duke accoutrements that may able-bodied be attainable to accompaniment an ideal pounds considerations. Demography time out in adjustment to catechism the breadth business may aswell adviser ladies abounding altered applied possibilities. Artisan handbags are in absurd use as of backward aback it just isn't just admirable but additionally sensible. Some of the replica shoes altogether articular artisan casting names of handbags absorb Prada, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Burberry and so forth. Achievable 2006 if this Fendi duke bag a big accustomed in chargeless of charge, accessories tend to be commitment gluttonous as the the circadian haversack and those arise to be accepting authority up tended to provide. Encounter one of a lot of complete just about is just too an awfully few Fendi Traveler haversack dissimilarities and colors to replica handbags apperceive the a lot of able decision.
showing all comments