Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, has become fodder for opponents of his Dad. His business deals and personal demons were featured in presidential speeches and political ads throughout 2020. Hunter has a new memoir called “The Beautiful Things,” which details his life, struggles, and substance abuse challenges.
Putting aside the book’s political implications, it could have a very important goal: Continued destigmatization of drug use and mental illnesses.
The Beautiful Things
Hunter Biden has not had an easy life, and his book details these struggles. When Biden was almost three, he lost his Mom and Sister in a car accident that injured him. In 2015, he lost his older brother to brain cancer. Two years later, Hunter would divorce his wife and the mother of his three children. Biden was by his Father’s side for his Senate career and watched his Dad’s various career ups and downs. Biden served in numerous capacities, including as an attorney, member of the Navy, and lobbyist. That last role led to numerous allegations of corruption, with multiple people charging that Biden traded money for influence and access to his father.
Biden has also struggled with substance abuse, and The Beautiful Things, his memoir, examines these struggles. Biden’s fight has been many decades-long and involved numerous substances, including alcohol and cocaine. His struggles have become content for his father’s political opponents, with Republican Congressmen going as far as to tweet out pictures of Biden asleep, crackpipe in his mouth.
In the book, Hunter Biden discusses his personal struggles, including legal trouble, substance abuse, and a pathway to recovery. Biden discusses his experiences, how he turned to substances, and how he has fought to recover after multiple stays in rehabilitation.
The Importance of Storytelling
Despite a multi-decade effort, the stigma surrounding substance abuse remains strong. New research regularly highlights the fact that substance abuse is not a moral failing but a medical disease. Unfortunately, stigma is about more than just what we think. It also impacts how we view individuals addicted to illicit substances and the policy choices we make, including how we fund and treat individuals suffering from substance use disorders. Furthermore, stigma perpetuates self-stigma, and it makes it harder for people who are addicted to recover or believe that they deserve recovery.
We can defeat stigma in many ways, and one of the most powerful ways is storytelling. There are many reasons for this. First, humans are hard-wired to have stories resonate. The simple truth is that we identify with stories. More importantly, we identify with stories that identify with us. When we see someone who looks like us, thinks like us, or acts like us, those stories can resonate.
This is precisely why The Beautiful Things matters. It tells the personal story about how a successful attorney and son of the President of the United States succumbs to drug addictions and faces numerous personal and legal struggles resulting from his addiction. There is a connection that any reader can make while reading this book: If a powerful person can struggle and recover, I can, too.
Studies have shown that sharing personal stories can defeat stigma. The Beautiful Things provides an in-depth look at someone’s descent into addiction, rise, descent, and rise. Biden is clear about his struggles and notes that substance abuse never truly goes away – you just learn how to manage it and live with it.
The book makes a critical point: Every person may suffer, but all of us deserve recovery and a better life. If you are struggling with substance abuse, you don’t have to suffer in silence. You can and should seek the help you deserve. Call us today, or visit our website, and learn more about how we can help you recover.