When news travels at the speed of social media there isn’t much of a waiting period for responses to issues that strike a nerve with people. As we were writing and publishing our first response to the story aired by the NBC News Investigation host Megyn Kelly, along with other media outlets such as The New York Times, a fire was catching that lit the internet up.
While we already wrote a response to the Megyn Kelly piece, we wanted to also highlight the amazing response from the recovery community!
The Megyn Kelly story was focused on exposing the fraud and corruption that has infiltrated the addiction treatment industry in South Florida, utilizing interviews with local law enforcement, first responders, politicians and victims of patient brokering and illegitimate sober homes. While it may have been an eye-opener to some in other states, this wasn’t news to the population of South Florida. These tragedies and indiscretions have been talked about for years now. The topic is still causing contention and debate within the community.
However, when the piece aired just this past weekend, many of South Florida’s recovery community set aside much of the debate to answer what was being said.
South Florida Recovery on Social Media
Facebook turned into a major platform yesterday as new hashtags went viral, including:
A huge number of these posts were attached to personal stories of suffering, recovery and astounding accomplishments. Others were attached to photos. Many posts demanding that the media acknowledge the voice of the actual people in the South Florida recovery community. Most of the posts included people sharing their sobriety dates (meaning the day they finally stop drinking or using drugs).
There is a clear message here- the South Florida recovery community is strong and willing to take a stand.
This profound and inspiring response has been completely organic. One after another people from many areas, especially Delray Beach, started sharing their experience with treatment and recovery in South Florida. Megyn Kelly was tagged in these posts, so surely her social media team got pretty busy sifting through all those notifications.
Some were from people with several months clean and sober, other posts were people with a couple decades of recovery time. There were those who came to Megyn Kelly’s defense, while others took the whole thing as an opportunity to attack her… or the people responding to the story. Still, the presence of South Florida’s own population of people overcoming addiction was making a lot of waves.
The Megyn Kelly Conversation
One thing we should acknowledge about the piece on Megyn Kelly’s show… is it worked.
Granted the camera and narration do not paint the most flattering picture, but it revitalizes an important conversation- safeguarding the addiction treatment industry in South Florida. It worked because we can at least take something from it; the South Florida treatment industry needs to work together with community leaders, officials and people in recovery in the area to help make things better.
However, people in the recovery community did take offense to statements made by people during interviews that implied people were not coming to South Florida and getting better. It might not feel fair to a lot of people who thrive in South Florida’s recovery community that they felt marginalized or misrepresented. Some of the comments suggest that people sent to Florida are more likely to end up dead than they are to end up better, but there seems to be a lot of people with something to say about that.
After hearing the Megyn Kelly story the recovery community in South Florida chose to take the opportunity to stand up for one another. Overnight there was an up-welling of support for those who have come to South Florida, made a life for themselves after treatment and become active members of the community.
It’s About the People
More importantly, this is all about the people who have recovered and the people who are most desperate for it. We want people to know that there are unethical and illicit businesses in every state that exploit this same system, but there are world-class addiction treatment programs in South Florida that take great pride in being part of the solution, not the problem.
This is about the people who have changed their lives, acknowledging their strength, hope and adversities. It is about the people who want to believe that there is a safe place with people who care about improving themselves and each other. We have to let people know what to look for, how to ask the right questions and how to make educated decisions on how to best treat them or their loved ones.
For a more detailed look into the difference between addiction treatment programs and sober living facilities, download our FREE e-book:
5 Critical Mistakes When Picking a Treatment Center and How to Avoid Them
We are proud of how the recovery community of South Florida has responded to the Megyn Kelly story. Part of fixing the issues facing people with addiction is to strip away the stigma of substance use disorder, and a keystone to fixing the stigma is education and awareness. South Florida stood up and told the world #wedorecover because they know if we #tellthewholestory then the entire nation may see that addiction treatment is about healing and helping people together.
South Florida recovery set social media on fire a few nights ago… because South Florida recovery is full of absolutely amazing people too! Imagine if we did that all the time! Imagine if we took it upon ourselves to make this happen every chance we got! Who might get the help they need because of what we share?
My name is Justin Mckibben
My sobriety date is November 28th, 2013