Saturday Night Live’s Darrell Hammond will headline a comedy benefit, “A Tribute to Lost Laughs, An Evening of Awareness and Entertainment” to draw attention to the major problem of drug addiction in America. The comedy event, sponsored by Facing Addiction and the Young Leadership team of Facing Addiction, will honor those who have struggled and lost the battle with addiction, while also providing hope and encouragement through laughter to those who are currently facing addiction and traveling the road to recovery.
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Darrell Hammond has openly discussed his battle with addiction to help others who suffer like he did. He will be the subject of a new documentary feature film scheduled for release in 2017 by Ripple Effects Films, Inc., in association with Artemis Rising and in partnership with Academy Award winning producers Geralyn Dreyfous and Regina Skully. “Through Darrell’s inspiring story, along with emerging research, the film will show that childhood trauma is predominant as the root cause of addiction. If we simply focus on the drug use, we are only treating the smoke and not the fire,” said Michelle Esrick, the film’s director. A play based on Mr. Hammond’s New York Times best-selling book, “God if You’re Not Up There, I’m F***ed,” opened last year to rave reviews at The La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, CA, and is slated to open soon on Broadway.
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“Nobody wants to ruin their lives with drugs,” said Mr. Hammond. “Drug addiction is complex and America needs to reframe the conversation so that, as a society, we start providing structured resources to help those who are suffering.”
Singer and songwriter Matt Butler will be telling his story about how, after battling with addiction since a very young age, he found a life of purpose in recovery. Growing up as a normal, ambitious and goal oriented kid from New York City, Mr. Butler said he was blindsided by anxiety and depression that wasn’t identified with drug addiction or alcoholism until much later in life and after a lot of damage. “Once I finally asked for help, I reconnected to the world through recovery. I want people to understand how beautiful a life in recovery is,” he said. Mr. Butler’s first album, a document of his struggle and recovery titled “Reckless Son,” is being released on September 9.
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“A Tribute to Lost Laughs, An Evening of Awareness and Entertainment” will take place Friday, August 19, 7pm – 9pm at Sag Harbor Cinema, 90 Main Street, Sag Harbor, New York 11963. Tickets prices are $50 student tickets (21 years and under); $250 open seating; $500 reserved seating. Corporate and personal sponsorship opportunities are also available.
Donations from this event will go to supporting the work of Facing Addiction, the not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating the most trusted nationally recognized place to turn when facing addiction. “Facing Addiction is rebranding addiction to create the understanding, empathy, outrage and demand, all urgently needed to advance solutions for the millions of Americans impacted by drug addiction,” said Robin Kiam Aviv, founding board member of Facing Addiction.
Facing Addiction provides evidence-based solutions for multiple pathways of recovery for 45 million Americans and their families directly impacted by addiction; influences legislation to treat drug addiction as a disease instead of a crime; and works to solve the systematic problems impending progress, including the replacement of outdated in-school prevention programs and properly training pediatricians and other health care professionals in early detection and referral. The organization also advocates for scientific research and educates America about the importance of de-stigmatizing addiction by opening hearts through personal stories about struggle and recovery in order to begin facing addiction out loud.
The Young Leadership Team of Facing Addiction are teens who have witnessed first-hand the suffering and sometimes fatal result of addiction and drug overdose, the number one cause of death in people under 30 years of age. These young leaders contribute time to their local communities to open up a dialogue that faces addiction head on and confronts the stigma through awareness-building programs and special fundraising events.