Anyone who has worked in the addiction field or struggled with addiction understands just how hurtful the stigma surrounding addiction can be. Due to lack of understanding or personal prejudices, many people have developed a judgmental mindset about addiction that only hinders the recovery process.
When groups of people feel stigmatized, they are much less likely to talk about their issues and seek help, for fear of rejection and negative repercussions. This leads to feelings of guilt and shame, which compounds the original issue. Removing a stigma begins with a change of heart, mindset and behavior. Here are some of our thoughts on turning the tables on the societal stigma of addiction:
Compassion Versus Judgment
As with any difficult situation, responding with compassion is always 10 times more effective than responding with judgment. Before reacting to another person’s addiction, always ask yourself if your comments come from a place of genuine goodwill and care, rather than blame and disapproval.
Educate Yourself on Addiction
As with any marginalized group, the stigma oftentimes arises from an overall lack of understanding on the subject. Consider addiction like you would a medical condition – learn about the causes, physiological changes, and treatment process of drug and alcohol addiction. An overall better understanding makes it easier to approach the subject from a logical, rational perspective, rather than make rash assumptions. Our qualified team is always prepared to answer any questions on addiction you may have.
Remember the Causes of Addiction
Contrary to common belief, addiction does not result from weakness, apathy or lack of willpower. Many people who struggle with addiction have experienced a series of pains and difficult life circumstances – abuse, trauma, mental health, etc. – that have led to drug or alcohol addiction. Remember, never stigmatize before knowing the full story (and even after).
Use Non-Stigmatizing Language
The language we use says volumes about a group of people, which is why it is important to avoid using stigmatizing terms when speaking of addiction. Words like “addict,” “junkie” and “alcoholic” imply that a person is defined by their addiction, which is simply not true. These words are hurtful and fail to recognize that each individual is a unique person of dignity – some just have different struggles than others.
Talk About Addiction
Treating addiction like it is a taboo subject that should be swept under the rug perpetuates the idea that one should keep their drug and alcohol abuse a secret. Speaking openly, candidly and compassionately about addiction and the resources available to achieve sobriety is an excellent first step in removing the shame surrounding the topic.
Our team fully understands what it’s like to be in the throws of drug and alcohol addiction. Our Boulder addiction treatment program is designed to build a brotherhood of support and create a unique addiction treatment plan for each participant. Learn more about our programs today: 720-577-4422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.