Many of us have heard the proverb, fall down seven times, stand up eight. It’s a simple proverb, but it signifies so much; it signifies resilience, strength, and overcoming struggle. Individuals experiencing substance use or mental health disorders witness the true magnitude of these words every day and every step of the way. So, it’s no surprise that the proverb became a motif at the recent Rosecrance 2018 Launch to Life Chicago Benefit.
The benefit, hosted at the JW Marriott hotel, featured keynote speaker Elizabeth Vargas, anchor of A&E Investigates and award-winning longtime anchor of ABC News. Additionally, the benefit included lunch, raffle prizes and inspiring stories of recovery from former Rosecrance clients.
In a room of more than 260 attendees, Vargas bravely shared how anxiety affected her life and career, and why she chose to publicly share her struggle with the disease of addiction and her ongoing recovery. She openly discussed her falls, failures and ultimately her journey to standing up again.
“Fear and worry seemed to be the constant drumbeat to the background music of my life,” said Vargas. “I thought I was singular in my struggles and that something was wrong with me.”
She added, “A glass of wine became a routine, then glasses became bottles, and I found I needed wine to relax. It was no longer soothing. It was fanning the flames of my anxiety, supercharging it. Still I kept drinking more and more…For people with this disease alcohol goes from magic, to medicine to misery.”
More than 60% of women with alcoholism also have anxiety disorder, and women with anxiety are also four times more likely to relapse. It’s unconscionable statistics like these that propel Rosecrance to continue to serve individuals and families experiencing substance use and mental health disorders.
During the past year, Rosecrance has served more than 40,000 clients and families. Specifically, with help from last year’s Chicago Benefit proceeds, Rosecrance was able to provide recovery home stays for 60 residents, and outpatient counseling services for more than 300 at the Lakeview campus in Chicago.
This year’s benefit again raised proceeds to support young adults in early recovery accessing life-saving programs at Rosecrance in Chicago.
Greg Orput, Rosecrance board member, closed the benefit by referencing the proverb, fall down seven times, stand up eight.
“The eighth step is the hardest step,” says Orput. “Some people don’t get back up. They never make it to eight … Addiction is the only disease where people struggle in such darkness and feel guilty about getting better. If it were cancer or diabetes people would be there cheering them on.”
Vargas adds, “Stigma keeps so many people from getting the help they need. People shun the addict, judge them to be undisciplined and flawed. Addiction is a disease and that’s why I am here today. If my story of recovery and struggle can chip away at stigma I am happy to do it.”