There’s no denying the fact that addiction is a massive global issue. Drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs; there are no set criteria as to what people become addicted to, but there are many common factors.
In any given year, one in five Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction issue, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. And by the time Canadians reach the age of 40, one in two have or have had a mental illness.
One British Columbian who has faced his own battles with drug and alcohol addiction is Sumit Ahuja. Anyone, in any walk of life, can be affected by addiction. Sumit is a practicing lawyer, representing clients in the area of family law.
In March 2017, his addiction almost took his life and had significant consequences on his family life and career. Sumit survived, attended a residential treatment centre, and receives aftercare.
The BC lawyer’s goal now is to help anyone dealing with addictions, including the family members of an addicted person, to help them find and understanding. That’s why he has established the liveBIG Society.
We spoke with Sumit and asked him what inspired him to establish the society.
“My personal struggles with addiction and life experiences. I have seen alcoholism from childhood. I have lost friends to addiction. During my addiction, the shame and guilt I felt made me not want to reach out for help. I feared being judged. Now that I am sober, I have learned that other people have suffered from the shame and guilt I felt, but I got well, and anyone suffering can too,” Sumit Ahuja told Daily Hive.
Nothing worked for Sumit until he became willing to accept the help available to him. That’s why he hopes to promote recovery and break through a culture of secrecy.
Sumit recommends that young people living on the edge “reach out for help and talk with someone” about what they are feeling. “Don’t let shame paralyze you from taking positive action,” he added.
Fighting the stigma
According to a 2008 survey conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, just 50% of Canadians would tell friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness, compared to 72% who would discuss a diagnosis of cancer and 68% who would talk about a family member having diabetes.
In 2015, a survey by the centre revealed that 57% of Canadians believe that the stigma associated with mental illness has been reduced compared to five years previous. However, the surface has only been scratched.
With the liveBIG Society, Sumit aims to help people take action and attend treatment, while also raising awareness. “We want to show people that recovery is possible and sustainable.
“We have built a significant relationship with Cedars at Cobble Hill, one of the best treatment centres in North America. Cedars is admitting liveBIG’s first client later this month. We are very grateful,” Sumit concluded.
For more information, visit the liveBIG Society now.
Daily Hive is a proud media sponsor of liveBIG Society