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Home » Addiction: A Story of Stigma, A Story of Hope – Scott McFadden (Transcript)

Addiction: A Story of Stigma, A Story of Hope – Scott McFadden (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Scott McFadden’s talk titled “Addiction: A Story of Stigma, A Story of Hope” at TEDxColoradoSprings conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


Understanding Substance Use

As I was trying to understand my own long journey of substance use, I came to realize that its roots took shape long before I even picked up a drug. I remember I was 13 years old, ran away from home with my friend Michael. Excuse me, we didn’t go far, stayed around the neighborhood, but managed to stay out a couple weeks, sleeping in people’s basements, in an abandoned car, and one night in a park. Finally got tired, cold, and hungry enough and went on back home.

And when I got home, I wasn’t whipped, I wasn’t beaten, like my friend Michael. I was actually hugged. My mom held me and cried and asked me not to do that again. And I got to tell you, for me, this was miraculous. There were no hugs in our home. No expressions of affection or caring. I hadn’t heard the words, “I love you,” and I didn’t hear them then, but I knew that’s what she was trying to say, even though she didn’t have the emotional vocabulary to express that.

Seeking Attention

But to my young adolescent mind, there was another message coming through there. What I heard was, “Oh, so this is how I get love. I need to act out, run away, get attention.” So I started running away more, playing sick to get out of school, getting invites at school. Then at 15, I found this whole new exciting way to get that attention.

I was introduced to meth by some high school friends. We injected it, and I immediately fell in love. It felt so incredibly good. So good, in fact, that I thought, “Well, I am just going to have fun for the summer.” I’m going to do this all summer. When the summer’s over, I’ll get back in school, maybe just do this on weekends. Didn’t quite turn out that way. So by the time I was 16, I had tried every drug imaginable, except maybe birth control pills.

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