It seems now more than ever social issues such as suicide, incarceration, business failures, alcohol and drug misuse, and related disorders are taking an enormous toll on American individuals, families and society. For example, a recent report from the National Safety Council estimated the yearly impact of substance misuse is $240 billion for alcohol misuse and $193 billion for illicit drug use. These figures are staggering — and one of the many reasons why I decided to put together “Rock Bottom and Back — From Desperation to Inspiration.”
Featuring celebrities as well as ordinary people, BIC Media Solutions’ “Rock Bottom and BackTM” book and DVD reveal the tragedy of reaching bottom through loss; trauma; alcoholism; and drug, sex and gambling addictions. With “Rock Bottom and Back,” we wanted to personally address these issues plaguing millions of Americans. This book and DVD offer hope to those who have hit bottom or could be on their way there and a roadmap to wellness, redemption and ultimately a successful life. Although those featured in the “Rock Bottom and Back” book and DVD rebound- ed from profound despair to help others in extraordinary ways, millions of Americans out there aren’t so fortunate.
Here are 10 real-life statistics and rea- sons why “Rock Bottom and Back” is so relevant in this day and age in which addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), incarceration and homelessness are all so prominent.
1. Ninety percent of Americans with a substance abuse problem started smoking, drinking or using other drugs before age 18 (http://abovetheinfluence.com). This is a reoccurring problem in “Rock Bottom and Back.”
2. Approximately 1.1 million suicide attempts occur annually in the U.S., with suicide being the second leading cause of death among college students. Untreated depression is the No. 1 cause of suicide (www.suicide.org). In “Rock Bottom and Back,” after an attempted suicide, Tonja Myles realized she had to change her life. She made a promise to God if He helped her get well, she would dedicate her life to helping other addicts.
3. There are currently 2.2 million people in prison in America (www.sentencing project.org), which is more than in all the branches of our Armed Forces combined. Every year, approximately 636,000 people are released from prison (www.prison policy.org). Billy Rivers, featured in “Rock Bottom and Back,” spent 13 years in prison for smuggling Mexicans across the U.S. border. While serving his time, the former biker and gang member found hope through
the Christian Motorcyclists Association. Upon his release, Rivers began a ministry to help the homeless. Another hero featured in “Rock Bottom and Back” who spent a significant amount of time in prison before he turned his life around is actor Danny Trejo. We are thrilled to have Danny as the host of the “Rock Bottom and Back” DVD, and he is also featured in the book.
4. One in five incarcerated individuals are locked up for drug offenses. There are over 1 million drug possession arrests each year (www.prisonpolicy.org).
5. Seventy percent of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives, equating to approximately 223.4 million people. Up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop PTSD, and that equals approximately 44.7 million people who struggle with PTSD (www.ptsdunited.org). “Rock Bottom and Back” tells the story of Bradley Blue, a former tank commander who hit rock bottom when he was diagnosed with PTSD.
6. There are approximately 600,000 people in homeless shelters on any given night (https://thinkprogress.org). Tackling homelessness was at the forefront of “Rock Bottom and Back,” and BIC Media Solutions teamed up with Mission Media Productions, the production arm of The New Orleans Mission. Many of those featured in “Rock Bottom and Bock” were homeless at some point in their lives, and we even had members of the mission working on this project who were formerly homeless themselves. Those who were once homeless are now learning skills such as filmmaking and video production through “Rock Bottom and Back.”
7. More teens are killed by alcohol than by all other illegal drugs combined (www.niaaa.nih.gov).
8. One in five women and one in 71 men will be victims of a sexual assault in their lifetimes (www.safehorizon.org).
9. A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds (www.childhelp.org). In “Rock Bottom and Back,” we hear the story of David Bottner. Today, David is the executive director of The New Orleans Mission. But he once lived a life of excess fueled by traumatic sexual abuse he experienced as a child.
10. Approximately 2 million U.S. adults are estimated to meet the criteria for pathological gambling in a given year (www.ncp gambling.org). In “Rock Bottom and Back,” we learn about Bea Aikens, a businesswoman and advocate for compulsive gamblers, who tragically learned gambling is always a lose-lose situation. After recovering from her own addiction, Aikens tried desperately to help with her sister’s recovery. Through
Aikens’ story and the work she does with her foundation — Lanie’s Hope — we learn life is the only game worth winning.
Remember, addiction is a disease and not a decision, but doing something to help someone with an addiction is a decision. In the back of the “Rock Bottom and Back” book, we provide the Alcoholics Anonymous, The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence,
and the Gamblers Anonymous self-assessments to help readers determine whether they may be addicted to alcohol, drugs or gambling.
I’m so thankful those featured in “Rock Bottom and Back” decided to share their stories, and it took a lot of courage to do so. Storytelling is so important because it can change lives. These stories in “Rock Bottom and Back” changed my life for the better, and I know the same thing will happen to others who read this book and watch the DVD. I encourage organizations, associations and businesses to use the “Rock Bottom and Back” book and DVD as guides for turning tragedies
By: EARL HEARD, Founder and CEO BIC Alliance
into triumphs. Also, the “Rock Bottom and Back” book will now be placed in approximately 17 prisons in Louisiana and 60 prisons across the country.
For more information about “Rock Bottom and Back,” visit www.rockbottom andback.com or call (800) 460-4242. •