Unfortunately there is an element of shame associated with having either a drug, (which includes prescription medication addiction) and/or an alcohol problem. Admitting you are in recovery often has a stigma attached. Regardless of anything else that you have achieved, the word “addict” or “recovery” can make you feel self-conscious. Addiction is the elephant in the room and often greatly misunderstood due to incorrect perceptions and preconceived ideas. This stigmatisation needs to stop right now!
Addiction is something which needs to be treated with compassion and open-mindedness. Labelling, pathologising and stigmatising people struggling with addiction does nothing to positively impact their recovery. This process begins with a clear understanding of what substance abuse is. So what is substance abuse?
Losing yourself into the depth of active addiction doesn’t happen overnight. It is a subtle and slow progression where people use multiple substances often in a pattern of repetitive destructive self-medication to escape from deep-seated feelings of pain or past trauma. The truth is it is an extremely difficult thing to live with.
Despite the fear of relapse, facing the world head-on and reintegrating into society knowing that many people will judge you based on your past, not your future potential is tragic. Everyone deserves respect, we are human beings with the same rights. In fact, your recovery and your experience of addiction will not only make you a stronger person who is more in touch and in control of their own emotions but also more empathetic to others.
Personal growth happens with support empathy and care and that starts by choosing the right words when referring to a person that is struggling with mental health-related issues.
Recovery Direct is a Cape Town Recovery centre that follows an evidence based treatment model that is specifically designed around breaking the stigmas and treating the underlying trauma that drives addiction based behaviours.