The founder of the latest online venture that will seek to connect individuals and families in need to addiction treatment says this effort will focus as much on building community as on facilitating referrals. Entrepreneur Peter Hamilton officially launched Freedom From Addiction this month as an attempt to become an information source for consumers and communities, and to strike against the stigma that breeds dangerous silence about the disease.
Hamilton says his own tendency to be quiet about his early recovery history did not serve him well. Taking a drink after 15 years of sobriety would put him on a destructive two-year path. Even to this day, discussions about addiction in parts of his extended family remain off-limits.
“When it comes to staying quiet, I don't see it helping the individual, or helping others,” Hamilton says.
The Miami Beach-based Hamilton, who founded payment processing firms in both California and Florida, is seeking to build an advertising model for his educational website, and adds that he would like to establish a nonprofit venture as well. He says he sees Freedom From Addiction as a safe meeting place and online resource, “a place for people to get information before they step out the front door.”
Technological features of the online resource center will include peer-to-peer story sharing, inspirational text messaging, and an effort to link individuals to “virtual sponsors.” Of the latter, Hamilton says, “People may share more with people they don't know, and there are people on social networks who don't know how they could contribute.”
A tagline for the Freedom From Addiction website reads, “Technology to Educate and Empower Society on a Path to Recovery. One Addict at a Time.”
Hamilton says the referral component of the site will have a national reach and will focus on inpatient services. Facilities will not pay for the opportunity to gain referrals. “We want to be about helping people seek treatment at an earlier stage,” he says.