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Dealing With The Stigma

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by Rainman, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    I saw an article today which reminded me that society regards drug addicts with contempt. They don't know a thing about addiction. They despise drugs addicts because that's generally what "everyone" does. Since addicts know they aren't liked much they don't even bother to seek treatment.

    Question: for those of you who've battled addictions and beat them how did you cope with the stigma of addiction [in recovery]?
    JayLyn likes this.
  2. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    I haven't beat the stigma... the stigma stays there for as long as those who know you well (and saw you high) live. It's part of life. I honestly don't care, I have so many health issues and many things to do right now, so to be honest I couldn't care less. I know my oldest sister and her new family will always see me as a junkie, but I don't care. They are no longer part of my life :) Actually when I think about this one phrase comes to mind: Those who matter don't mind, those who mind don't matter. As simple as that.

    But I know for a fact there will always be someone reminding me about my past with drugs, it happens, but it's part of life and you learn to live with it.
  3. Zimbitt

    Zimbitt Senior Contributor

    Honestly by hiding it and not telling anyone, as you said no one gets it, only my close family and friends really know the rest of them I keep a secret from them because I do not know how they would react.
  4. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    The least people know the better as far as I'm concerned. I know a lot of people won't agree and will say it's nothing to be ashamed of and hiding it away is the last thing you should do, and to a degree I think they're right.

    The problem with that is there is still a stigma attached to being an ex addict, and people will hear the words and automatically judge you before you even get the chance to prove them wrong.
  5. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    I think there would still be times that former addicts would feel afraid of being judged and despised by other people when they have learned about their past. I guess that kind of fear would always be sewn to their system. However, I think to be able to cope up, they just try to get used to it.
  6. FuZyOn

    FuZyOn Community Champion

    I was fortunate enough to have a couple of people that understood what I was going through, but it was definitely hard to talk about my problems in person. I mostly liked to keep to myself, not bother anyonen and keep going through with my plans - I didn't want anyone to interfere between me and my goal.
  7. MyDigitalpoint

    MyDigitalpoint Community Champion

    Being an alcohol addicted person, my main concern was saving myself from dying, I never thought of the stigma having others pointing at what I was, what I was doing, or what I would do or how I would be when the storm in my heart (that impulsed my addiction) would come to an end.

    Once recovered, I have not dealt with such stigma because I don't care what people think of me in present or past time, I don't care their opinions nor I'm interested in their acceptance.

    I show off myself in the way I am, people may know or may not know about my past addiction, but the outcome is the same, or they accept me as I am, or they go away, I don't care.
    Jasmine2015 likes this.
  8. rapido

    rapido Member

    The problem with addiction is that so few people understand how it occurs and how it changes the functioning of the brain. As a result most people treat addicts as people who are simply irresponsible and unwilling to change. To understand addiction and identify the struggles that addicts experience, you have to begin by understanding how substances change the functioning of the brain and the deadly grip such substances have on addicts.
  9. Ali16

    Ali16 Senior Contributor

    The only place I have trouble with stigma is with the practioners I see for my mental health. They never trust me with anything because I had an addiction in the past. They won't give me proper medication for my panic attacks because of the possibility that I would abuse it. It's very frustrating!
  10. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    I believe that the stigma associated with addiction is one of the biggest roadblocks preventing people from reaching out for help. Society still has such a negative opinion of people with substance use disorders. It's sad. We need to keep sharing our stories so that people realize addiction can happen to anyone. No one is immune from this horrible disease.
  11. LinB

    LinB Senior Contributor

    I've come to understand that we have to accept the consequences of our actions. I've also realized that peoples concept of you should not dictate how you feel. Once you know you are changed and you are living a changed of life, that's all that really matters.
  12. LinB

    LinB Senior Contributor

    I know what you mean. Once an addict, always an addict, according to some people. What we have to do is prove them wrong overtime. Time is the healer of our wounds.
  13. LinB

    LinB Senior Contributor

    It's good to have confidants with whom you can share your pain. It's just that these people are hard to find. They are so many persons who are just into the gossip and the sharing of your story with the whole world. I hate that.
  14. FuZyOn

    FuZyOn Community Champion

    I know it's not 100% relevant to everyone, but your family can be a really good support group. I know this doesn't apply for everyone, but they helped me a lot throughout my struggles. They had their pros and cons - so do I - but they cared about me and supported me every single step along the way.
  15. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    I actually think now that I'm recovered, lessening the stigma is all about talking to people - at least for me. I don't think anyone would guess from initial appearances that I ever had a problem with alcohol, and when they find out that I did, I think it makes them realize that it really can affect anyone.
  16. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    You would think that trying to save your life and put it back together again is more important than what you used to be but sometimes people will still act judgmental. There is a stigma when it comes to everything from what you wear to what you eat, what race you are born ect. Just live your life.
    MyDigitalpoint likes this.
  17. JayLyn

    JayLyn Active Contributor

    Your post and question really struck a chord with me. I have known for a long time now that addicts are centered out for attention when it comes to who to blame for societies ills. Because of this I started taking courses in social work so I could try to work on the problem from the inside out. I had seen, through my own experience, the struggle addicts go through trying to access resources and even help with treatment. I wanted to help because I didn't want other people (women and children especially) to go through what I have. I relapsed before I could do my practicum and though I completed all the courses required for my diploma, I did not finish.
    Since then I have gone back to take a course or two, one being in Native Studies because where I live there are a lot of First Nations people who are in need of people who understand their culture and have had problems themselves. My goal to advocate has stayed strong in me. I have thought of writing about my experiences one day, not to sensationalize, but to put a human face on a tragic, misunderstood, poorly treated and underfunded problem. Seeing your post reminded me of all of that and renews my resolve to join the front line workers who reach out to those suffering.
    How do I deal with the stigma? I do and I don't. Some days its easier to hold my head up and know that I am who I am despite of what people might think and others its all I can do to not hide behind a paper bag on my head. Still, I remind myself that I have stayed true to my core beliefs and am not easily swayed by public opinion. In the end they can take everything away from me but who I am, only if I give away my truth and take on their hypocrisy have they won. I hope this helps some.
    Rainman likes this.