Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope
Whether you have suffered with an addiction or not, it can be difficult to understand the complexities that are involved with addiction recovery. You may find it hard to relate to someone who is struggling with addiction or unsure about the best way to approach an addict who is in recovery.
Whatever the situation may be, it is important to remind yourself that that person is fighting a battle that no one may fully understand. Even though you might fully disagree with their behaviors and choices, they are still a person that deserves to be loved, cherished, and find recovery from addiction.
Avoiding Treatment Because of Stigma
Because of the tremendous amount of shame and stigma that surrounds addiction, many people commonly misunderstand what addictions are and how one might find recovery. This often leads to preconceived judgments as well.
For example, it is commonly believed that addiction is something that can be “Stopped” at anytime or that people who abuse drugs or alcohol are simply doing so out of selfish reasons.
Addiction Is a Complex Disease
The reality is that an addiction to drugs and alcohol is something that develops from a multitude of factors that combine under the right conditions. A person does not develop an addiction on purpose just as much as an individual would not intentionally develop cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
When addictions are viewed with the severity and seriousness that they are, this can help alleviate much of the guilt and shame that is often clouded around these disorders, helping individuals find freedom to seek out the help and treatment they need.
Learn to Listen, Not Just Tell
Approaching and encouraging other addicts with humility is something that is needed for healing to begin and take place. No matter the journey you have been on, remember that you do not fully know the full story of other addicts who might be struggling.
Approaching others with respect and dignity helps reinforce self-worth and reminds others that they too are deserving of love, self-care, hope, and healing. As a community, we can rally together around one another to support the cause of treatment and recovery from addiction.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
What are helpful ways to break the stigma and shame that is often associated with addictions? What are practical ways to approach other addicts with humility?
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 26th, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com