The sports world was rattled yet again this week following the announcement from John Skipper, President of the world famous sports broadcasting network ESPN, of his resignation. Skipper cited his struggles with substance use and addiction as the reason for the statement, and it has brought to mind a few important factors that people often forget about addiction.
Skipper will also be resigning from the position of co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks.
Declaration from ESPN President
In his statement on Monday, Skipper states:
“Today I have resigned from my duties as President of ESPN. I have had a wonderful career at the Walt Disney Company and am grateful for the many opportunities and friendships. I owe a debt to many, but most profoundly Michael Lynton, George Bodenheimer and Bob Iger.
Skipper went on to say,
I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem,”
According to Skipper, he and the company came to a mutual agreement that it was appropriate for him to resign. He went on to state:
“I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down. As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding.”
Skipper has been the ESPN President since 2012, after joining the Disney-owned network back in 1997. According to Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Company, former ESPN President George Bodenheimer will serve as Acting Chair of ESPN for 90 days until a more permanent replacement has been found.
Bob Iger made his own statement supporting Skipper’s decision and showing his respect for Skipper. Bodenheimer also issued a statement, saying:
“I have great respect for John’s leadership, and I applaud the courage he’s demonstrating by addressing his challenge head on. The most important thing right now for John and his family is that he conquers his addiction, and the entire ESPN family is behind him.”
As the transition takes place, many seem to be supporting the ESPN President in his choice to step down and face his addiction. Thus far there haven’t been many specifics as to which substances Skipper struggles with, which is consistent with his request for privacy.
Addiction for Professionals
This is far from the first time we have seen an issue with substance abuse come up in the world of professional sports. Even with coaches and owners, substance abuse is not as uncommon as some might think. Back in October the video of Miami Dolphins offensive line coach Christ Forester snorting lines of white powder surfaced online and created an overnight viral controversy. While the story with John Skipper may be a bit different, they both remind us that even high-profile professionals struggle with substance use and addiction.
Too many people still have this idea that addiction is about moral failures, or lack of willpower, or simply the lack of character and ambition. Yet, time and time again we see stories of incredibly talented, successful, ambitious and influential people struggling with addiction. And it isn’t just rock stars and celebrity actors; we also see it in CEOs and high-ranking business people. We see it in star athletes and in politicians. Every level of success experiences the impact of addiction.
So it is sad to see Skipper say he is embarrassed to have to make this announcement. Even though he is brave to do it, it reminds us also of the stigma even he still might believe.
So we have to support those who are struggling and stop letting the stigma of addiction keep people from getting better by seeking the help that may ultimately save their lives.
The business owner or high earner might not seek help because of how they think people will see them. They might be afraid that being vulnerable will have others question their business. How will this reflect on my work? How will it reflect on my company? Will it destroy my professional reputation to get the help I need?
These are questions no one should ever have to ask.
Functioning Addicts Suffer
Many professionals might even consider themselves to be “functioning addicts,” meaning that even though they are in the grips of addiction physically, mentally and emotionally, they are still able to go on working, going to school or being active at home.
Again, this is a strong example that goes against the stigma people often associate with addiction. Too many people assume that for someone to be truly struggling with addiction, they have to lose their house, job, family, etc. But in reality, people with addiction can be fully-functioning members of society. Addicts can be excellent at their jobs, active in their families or communities, and even take good care of themselves in all respects other than using drugs or alcohol.
However, functioning addicts still suffer greatly. Often this manifests with internal suffering, mental and emotional. They don’t always “hit rock bottom” in the sense of their career, finances or home life. Sometimes it is everything going on inside that causes them the most turmoil.
Sadly, functioning addicts are also less likely to seek the help they need. They will believe that as long as they are working, taking care of the bills and not getting into much trouble, they are still in control. They are more likely to have people around them who do not understand addiction telling them their issues are not that serious. There is no telling how long ESPN President John Skipper was living as a functioning addict. The same goes for many professionals who have been struggling and are afraid that if they admit they need help, they will lose it all.
Addiction does not discriminate. It does not care what your net worth is. It never checks your credit score and it never asks for a resume.
Times are Changing
Luckily, over the past few years, the perception of addiction has begun to experience a cultural shift. Those who struggle with substance use and addiction now have more options for getting help. There are a variety of personalized treatment programs that offer effective and supportive solutions while encouraging people across all demographics to stay informed and seek help.
These days we see more celebrities, athletes, and professionals reaching out, getting help and speaking up about the dangers of addiction. The ESPN President is one of many public figures this year who has spoken up about the problems they have faced and reminded us how important it is to find help.
It is great to be reminded that times are indeed changing and that the stigma of addiction doesn’t have as much power as it once did. While there are still plenty of people across the world who still rely on these old ideas about addiction, much more are learning to better understand addiction and helping support those who need help.
Hopefully, with professionals from such high platforms stepping up to talk about their struggles, we will continue to see more executives, officials and business owners get the help they need.
Addiction is not one-size-fits-all, and neither is recovery. Palm Partners Recovery Center believes in supporting each individual through a personalized recovery plan to help them find an effective path. We want to help people who suffer get back to what matters most. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
By Cheryl Steinberg
We already know that campaigns like “Just Say ‘No’” and D.A.R.E. don’t work. Neither has the war on drugs. But there’s a new school of thought that seeks to empower teenagers when it comes to their drug use, with an emphasis on the decision-making part of the process.
Telling kids ‘no’ and *trying* to enforce an abstinence-based belief system doesn’t work. And, in fact, it may have the opposite of the desired effect – to keep your kids off drugs.
This different approach – I won’t say “new” as it was started back in 1990 – is called The Seven Challenges program and it aims to help adolescents and young adults make their own decisions about not only drugs but, about how they want the rest of their lives to look.
For decades, Dr. Robert Schwebel has been spreading the word about this novel approach and the evidence base that backs it. For him, the approach involves working with teens to support them in considering the choices they make about substance use.
And what they have found is that, ironically, this is the most powerful way to influence the behavior of young people and it’s way more effective than pushing an agenda that will only result in resistance from young people.
The Seven Challenges approach operates on the belief that recovery begins when people are willing to take that first look at their drug use behavior and then consider the possibility that it could be problematic. The Seven Challenges program also recognizes the incidence of co-occurring disorders and so it also has the teens begin by addressing co-occurring psychological and situational issues.
The participants meet with a counselor in a group setting where they talk about drugs, drug use, and consequences. These are the tenets of the program:
The Seven Challenges: Challenging Ourselves to Make Wise Decisions About Alcohol and Other Drugs
#1. We decided to open up and talk honestly about ourselves and about alcohol and other drugs.
#2. We looked at what we liked about alcohol and other drugs, and why we were using them.
#3. We looked at our use of alcohol and other drugs to see if it had caused harm, or could cause harm.
#4. We looked at our responsibility and the responsibility of others for our problems.
#5. We thought about where we seemed to be headed, where we wanted to go, and what we wanted to accomplish.
#6. We made thoughtful decisions about our lives and about our use of alcohol and other drugs
#7. We followed through on our decisions about our lives and our drug use. If we saw problems, we went back to earlier challenges and mastered them.
Empowering Teens When it Comes to Drug Use
It can be difficult for well-meaning counselors to resist the urge of hammering into their clients the harms of drug use and, ultimately, pushing their agendas. But the Seven Challenges program encourages teens and young people to first understand that they have options and then to weigh the costs and benefits of their options in deciding to make changes. The counselors also support their clients in succeeding in the goals they set for themselves.
Other (read: traditional) approaches take on “harm-based counseling” and are also referred to as the “mad rush for abstinence,” which have saturated the field for so long that it’s very hard for counselors trained to understand that people need to make their own decisions about drugs. And this includes understanding even the potential benefits they get from using drugs, and that they’d have to give up if they were to choose to quit or cut back. Basically, it’s all part of helping them to develop an informed decision.
Substance Use Disorder can require more intensive interventions in order to physically remove the person who struggles from situations that involve drugs and drug use. Alcohol and drug treatment programs that offer medical detox and inpatient rehab might be best suited for the teen in your life that is struggling to stop the cycle of their substance abuse. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.
If you find that your drinking or drugging has gotten out of hand and you no longer enjoy what you’re doing, chance are that your substance use has crossed over into substance abuse and even full blown addiction. Fortunately, there is a solution to your problem in the way of drug treatment in Friendship Village, MA. These programs offer various levels of support, starting from more intensive to less intensive that supports a successful chance at sobriety.
Drug Treatment in Friendship Village
Drug Treatment in Friendship Village will offer medical drug detox programs where professionals on staff will assess your situation through an interview and a drug screen. This is done to see how best to treat you. After the initial assessment, you will be started on a medication regimen to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms you will begin to experience. The medications are a blessing because going cold turkey from alcohol and/or drugs can not only be uncomfortable, even painful, but also life-threatening.
The rehab stage of drug treatment in Friendship Village can last up to 30 days, and offers safe haven while you heal and recover from your drug use. During the rehab phase, you will have all your needs provided for including comfortable residential accommodations and well-balanced, nutritious meals. You will attend group meetings as well as group therapy and individual therapy sessions where you will learn important and life-saving information about substance abuse and addiction. The rehab phase of drug treatment in Friendship Village is meant to serve you in such a way that you can begin to heal your mind and body while learning tools and coping methods in order to live a healthy lifestyle once you complete your drug treatment program.
An abbreviation for Intensive Outpatient Program, IOP is similar to inpatient rehab in that it consists of groups during the day with some individual sessions with a therapist. The difference is that you will no longer be living at the facility; you will either move home and be responsible for getting to and from the facility that houses the IOP or you can move into a halfway house or sober living community while attending IOP. It is recommended to first move into a halfway house because this will offer another level of support in your recovery program. Moving home too soon after drug treatment in Friendship Village can undermine your success at sobriety.
You’re Not Alone
Thankfully, substance abuse and addiction are now recognized as medical conditions for which there is treatment. Trying to stop on your own or going cold turkey not only are often times unsuccessful ways of getting and staying clean. And moreover, going about quitting like that can also be potentially fatal. Take comfort in knowing that there are strictly regulated medical programs such as those for drug treatment in Friendship Village that specialize in getting you healthy and supporting you with staying clean and sober. It is the mission of drug treatment programs to nurture, care for, and respect you while you are turning your life around.
If you or a loved one is looking for drug treatment in Friendship Village, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135