On Bigger Than Me week 4, Rocky and T discuss the topic of stigma and how it’s incredibly detrimental to those seeking recovery and those who are affected by the disease of addiction. Through personal experience and the way, they’ve seen other people react to someone disclosing being in recovery. An incredibly bold article title sparked it: The Stigma of Addiction is More Dangerous Than Drug Overdoses.
The author says, “If you wouldn’t shame me for my sexuality, race, gender, class, level of education, or faith, then don’t shame me for my addiction, either.”
There are very varied responses that we receive when disclosing that we’re a person that has or is struggling with substance abuse or alcoholism. They can be anything from negative and absolute banishment from that social circle, or it can be embraced and taken for what it is. Someone suffering or previous sufferer from the disease of addiction.
Personal Experience of the Stigma of Addiction
Rocky experienced how stigma affected him even when he was in addiction after being called a crackhead by his mother. The stigma attached to being a “crackhead” even to someone actively using crack was still a dirty, shameful feeling and left a bad taste in his mouth.
T also talked about how even being in recovery her family was still very unsure as to what to say to others as far as why she was where she is. Even while she was actively using the actual subject of addiction was never broached, it was always about the external signs of why can’t you keep a job, why don’t you come to family functions anymore, why do you look so different. The subject of addiction was never approached due to the implications of what others would think of them that they had a daughter who was addicted to drugs.
How do we Approach Stigma?
We must approach stigma by having a multi-faceted solution. Think globally and act locally, it will start with education. When shown with facts there’s not too much that can be argued, but not just education as to what the disease of addiction is but resources to help heal the communities. I have yet to personally meet one person who hasn’t been affected by addiction or alcoholism personally. When we have people attacking others on social media platforms it is because hurt people, hurt people.
Somewhere down the road, their life had been touched by addiction, and it impacted them. If we start giving the proper tools and have a solution that is effective, doable and we have the right people and organizations to implement them. If we go into this with peace in our minds and the agenda to achieve that we can always try to end the stigma and start helping heal everyone.
Treatment: Breaking the Stigma and Enter Sobriety
If you or a loved one is ready to smash the stigma of addiction and start the path out of the darkness of addiction, reach out to GateHouse Treatment at 855-448-3774.