Category Archives: Safe House Wellness Retreat

RUSSELL BRAND – Comedian (Recovering Addict)

Brand is an English comedian, actor, radio host, author, and activist. He has abstained from drug use since attending rehab at the Focus 12 Centre in 2002. On 13 December 2014, Brand tweeted that he was celebrating his 12th year of sobriety. He has also acted as a “sponsor” for numerous people undergoing treatment at a rehabilitation centre.

In 2007, he had his first major film role in St Trinian’s, and the following year he landed a major role in the romantic comedy-drama Forgetting Sarah Marshall; the film led to him starring in a spin off, the rock comedy Get Him to the Greek, alongside Jonah Hill in 2010. He also worked as a voice actor in the animated films Despicable Me in 2010, Hop in 2011, and Despicable Me 2 in 2013, and played the title character of the 2011 remake of the romantic comedy Arthur. In 2013, he released the successful stand-up special Messiah Complex.
Brand has also been a public voice for addiction and recovery, even speaking in UK parliament about his belief that addiction should be treated as a disease rather than a criminal issue.
 Russell Brand
RUSSELL BRAND – Comedian (Recovering Addict) was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by Safe House Wellness Retreat

ELVIS PRESLEY – Musician 1935 – 1977 (42)

1935 – 1977 (42)Elvis Presley was an American singer, musician, actor, and a cultural icon of the 20th century. Presley is often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll.”Presley is said to have had a history of sleep issues dating back to his childhood. These issues intensified after his mother passed and after he was drafted to the army in 1957. By 1967, Presley was taking both uppers and downers—amphetamines prior to his shows and tranquilizers afterwards.

Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977. He was suffering from many health ailments at the time and is said to have passed from a heart attack made worse by his long history with substance abuse.

While it is unknown whether Elvis Presley ever checked into a rehabilitation centre, he was hospitalized several times for health complications tied to his frequent drug use.

ELVIS PRESLEY – Musician 1935 – 1977 (42) was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by Safe House Wellness Retreat

MARILYN MONROE – Actress – 1926 – 1962 (36)

1926 – 1962 (36)Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, model, and singer who gained immense popularity in the ’50s and early ’60s.Marilyn Monroe was initially prescribed barbiturates as an attempt to treat what she claimed were “voices in her head.” This lead to an increasing dependency on the drugs and ultimately to her death.
On August 5, 1962, Monroe was found dead in her L.A. home after allegedly committing suicide by taking barbiturates. The details of her death are still controversial.

Marilyn Monroe never attended a rehabilitation ccentre for her substance issues.




MARILYN MONROE – Actress – 1926 – 1962 (36) was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by Safe House Wellness Retreat

Mark Wahlberg – Actor (Recovering Addict/Alcoholic)

Mark Wahlberg

By the time Mark turned 13, he had developed a serious drug problem. Addicted to cocaine among other illicit substances, he quickly dropped out of school and joined a gang. Driven in large part by his drug dependency, he began getting into trouble with the law. He had more than 20 run-ins with police during his tumultuous teenage years. After withdrawing from cocaine in a prison rehabilitation centre, he reentered the music business as the front man for the hip-hop oriented group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. His debut album became an outstanding success.

Mark Wahlberg would go on to even greater achievements as a Hollywood actor. The final steps in Mark Wahlberg’s journey to sobriety were taken only recently. Spurred on by his love of his family, Wahlberg officially quit using tobacco, marijuana and alcohol at age of 40. In particular, the actor names his young daughter as his inspiration for giving up pot.





Mark Wahlberg – Actor (Recovering Addict/Alcoholic) was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by Safe House Wellness Retreat


1943 – 1971 (27)

Jim Morrison was an American singer-songwriter and poet, most noted for being the lead singer and frontman for The Doors.

Morrison developed a dependency on alcohol at a young age and struggled with other substance abuse throughout his life.
On July 3, 1971, after a night of drinking, Morrison is suspected to have mistakenly ingested heroin, thinking that it was cocaine. The circumstances of his death are uncertain due to the fact that no autopsy was performed.

Jim Morrison never attended a rehabilitation centre.




JIM MORRISON – Musician was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by Safe House Wellness Retreat


1943 – 1970 (27)
Janis Joplin was an American singer-songwriter, most noted for her solo work in the late ’60s.

After spending time in New York City, Joplin developed an amphetamine habit in 1966. She joined the band Big Brother & the Holding Company shortly thereafter and continued on a downward spiral of drug use and alcoholism.

On October 4th, 1970, Janis Joplin was found dead in a
Hollywood hotel room. Her death was caused by a heroin overdose.

Janis Joplin never attended a rehabilitation centre.




JANIS JOPLIN – Musician was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by Safe House Wellness Retreat

Addiction, a Stigma

The word Stigma means a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person.

Social stigmas are a way of people to judge others based on a certain belief they hold, regardless of whether it’s been proven wrong. In the case of addiction, many still believe it’s a reflection of a person’s character like weakness, delinquency or gullibility. On the contrary, science has long since proven that addiction is a disease of the brain.

Addiction is a “primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry,” as described by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The National Institute on Drug Abuse in the US also defines addiction as a ‘chronic, relapsing brain disease” that changes the structure and functionality of the brain. So why do so many people still think of addicts as drunks, crackheads or junkies?

Unfortunately, these perceptions have existed for as long as there have been addicts. Governments often treat drug addicts as criminals and even some in the rehab community use terms like “dirty” urine, which helps propagate these stigmas.

Employers often fire employees who are addicted, insurance companies often refuse to cover treatment or demand higher premiums, or add penalties and conditions to policies, to avoid the perceived risks. Families often try to hide their addicted loved ones from society to avoid tainting their standing, and in the hope the addict will grow out of it, or that the phase will pass. These perceptions lead to most people bullying or disrespecting addicts. This drives addicts deeper into their addiction as they feel cornered, misunderstood and ridiculed, or suffer from stress, pain and depression. And one of the worst consequences is that they will often refuse treatment, or leave it halfway, to prevent people from finding out their problem. This path can lead to overdosing and even suicide.

Now do you see why these stigmas are deadly?

Now, let’s look a little deeper into the worst ways that this stigmatization can affect those suffering from this disease, and what needs to be done to make things better.

Addicts avoid getting treated: If such a person gets into rehab, they believe, and rightly so, that society will start seeing them differently instead of commending them on taking the road to recovery. This, coupled with guilt, shame and the effects of stigma, leads the addicted to shy away from treatment. And this can be fatal. Without treatment, the chances of overdosing, depression and suicide grow by the day. Remove the misconceptions and the stigma and addicts would find it easier to find support.

Misperceptions of the medical community: As strange as this may seem, many doctors are not as well informed about addiction as you may think. Often, doctors recommend patients to 12-step programmes and support groups instead of directing them towards medical, evidence based resources. Such programmes have helped many addicts, but not all. Those who they can’t help find themselves lost with nowhere to go. It’s about time medical professionals started seeing addiction as the disease it is and send their patients to get better scientifically supported treatment.

Mental health personnel ostrasize addiction: Even psychiatrists and psychologists have a tendency of considering substance abuse patients to be untreatable and refuse to treat them before they get clean. This is such a massive problem because mental health issues may be the one of the causes of the addiction in the first place, or maybe psychological treatment is required for the patient to recover. Many clinicians dismiss what patients tell them and blame it on ‘just the drugs talking’. So you see? This helps no one. This way, the addiction stays and so do the mental diseases that could well be related to the addiction. Wouldn’t it be amazing if psychotherapists could consider substance abuse as a disease and equally worthy of treatment?

Addiction is considered a crime: In India, using drugs is illegal. This really is testament to how deeply ingrained this stigma against addiction is in our system. This in itself leads to insurance companies staying away from covering addicts and the lack of treatment, let alone subsidization of rehabilitation in our country. If we could somehow show our elected representatives the facts behind drug usage and addiction, there would be a massive change on how addicts are perceived and treated, don’t you think? But convincing them of these facts would be so difficult.

Stigmatization can continue, even during treatment: When a patient enrolls onto a rehab programme, they are very vulnerable. They’ve been fighting the addiction for so long that their guilt, shame and a feeling of failure becomes constant. Their brain chemistry has also been altered to such an extent that their mental health is very volatile. This makes it all the more important for recovery centres to be especially sensitive to their patients. If all the personnel don’t go through proper sensitization and training, some of them may hang on to the stigma attached to addiction. This could surface when they are interacting with the patient and reinforce the negative emotions the addict is already going through. So always make sure of the quality of the centre you are getting into and confirm that they take these factors into consideration and also involve the patient in their own recovery plan, like choosing modes of treatment and setting their own goals.

People in recovery are always under suspicion: Another serious problem is that people in rehab are still regarded as weak and susceptible to relapse. This would affect patients even after they leave the rehabilitation programme and start recovering at home. Every day, their family, friends and colleagues would question their ability to stay clean. These would act as constant hurdles for the ex-addict and sometimes hamper progress. Imagine how much quicker the person would recover without all the stigma he or she is faced with every day.

They confront stigma-based roadblocks constantly: People in receovery find it difficult to hold jobs, get welfare benefits or insurance, and so much more in addition to all the questions and criticism they have to face. Other who recover from disease feel proud that they had beaten back their illness. But those who went through addiction and recovery can’t raise their heads that high, as they always have to face the stigma that society holds for them.

But we must do something about this. Each one of us can contribute to spreading awareness of addiction and help society break free of its stigmas.

What we must do is talk about addiction and how it’s seen by society, and how it’s wrong. Show people how addiction is a disease and doesn’t reflect on the character of the person going through it. Rather, we need to support these people instead of shunning them. And, if you know someone who has an addiction, be supportive and make sure they know you understand what they’re going through.

We really hope this helps in opening minds, starting conversations and helping those suffering from addiction to come to terms with their condition. If you have any questions, please leave us your messages here. We really do try our best to help, and will get back with you as soon as we can!

Addiction, a Stigma was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by Safe House Wellness Retreat