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Treated Like Everyone Else

Discussion in 'Sobriety Tips and Inspiration' started by AdamR, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. AdamR

    AdamR Member

    When do I want to be treated like everyone else -- hardly ever. I never expect special treatment but, especially in work settings, I enjoy when hard work is recognized. Outside of work or when I was going to school, there have been many times where I wished I was treated like everyone else and it's when my opiate addiction becomes know. All of us addicts know how were viewed. I can't say opiate addicts are more stigmatized that other addicts but as a heroin addict, I know that we often are viewed as less than human. But this post is not about when we are looked down upon. I want to share when I do get treated like everyone else and I hope others will comment with their tales of normalcy.

    I got to the store from needle exchange here is Las Vegas and always leave with a smile. Sure, clean rigs are nice but the staff there has a knack for treating me as if I was buying coffee at 711 or insurance at AAA. I get treated normal. I never get the sense that they are quietly judging me or get tired of my questions and requests. Everyone I bring there says the same thing. Its one of the few things I do where I don't have to hide a thing from anyone. It makes me want that in the rest of my life. And while the stigma surrounding addiction is not going away anytime soon, I am working on getting back on methadone maintenance. For a minute there, I had given up the will to get better. Thank you to those at the needle exchange (Trac B) for reminding me that I'm just everyone else.
    deanokat, True concern and lonewolves like this.
  2. Dominica

    Dominica Author, Writer, Recovery Advocate Community Listener

    @AdamR hey there. thanks for sharing and so glad you are treated well at the needle exchange! you are human...and you are a good soul. there will always be people who judge others...i think we've all been judged before and it's not fun...but then i just think of those that judge as being less conscious, awakened, etc.... not able to look past the surface and really SEE people for who they really are at the core....

    you are a good soul struggling with an addiction. my hope is that one day you'll be able to beat that addiction, but even if you don't, you are good and you deserve unconditional love.
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  3. Josh111187

    Josh111187 Community Champion

    I agree with you that there is definitely a stigma attached to heroin use, most certainly iv heroin use.
    I don't just say that because I think it, I lived it for the last ten years.
    I'm about 3 months clean now other than the small amount of Suboxone and I'm going to be finished with that taper soon.
    My brother is a coke head and bad, not mean or angry ever, but horrible functional alcoholic as well. I mean he wakes up at about two or three am with the shakes goes and takes a few shots of gin so he can go back to sleep. He wakes up at five so he has a full hour to "get his dringing" (term I coined for his drinking and drugging) on before work. He will regularly go regularly on three day binges and I know where to find him after. He'll be reclined in his car moaning in the horrible coke crash and hangover and saying please help me over and over again.
    He's actually my half brother, and twenty years older than me, I didn't even meet him until I was 17years old, but I also have another half brother who is 21 years older than me and he's a pill head and very angry drunk. He's not allowed at my parent home anymore, and my dad is his dad!
    But these two siblings of mine who are blood related to me have been taken out of my dads will. Me and my full sister who is by my dad and current wife of 34 years (our mom) are still in his will.
    But this does not stop my dad (and mom really) from using terms like just sad, beyond all hope, pitifull, and where did we go wrong, about my heroin use. Actually I think its the needle use, I don't really know.
    So even though they have been disowned by my dad and I have not, their addiction which has lasted 20 years longer than mine isn't as bad.
    I've never understood why?
    Eventually I decided to believe that they were just more concerned about me and worried sick because they love me, I meen I'm not disowned and me and my son currently have the whole east side of the house to us while I'm getting clean and getting my own house.
    So I don't know if this is true or not I am not even going to bring it up. But I believe it because its the only explanation for how I've heard them talk about me that doesn't make me totally sub human.
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  4. True concern

    True concern Community Champion

    I was treated with normality while i was working.The owners were good to me as were my customers,even most of my family.I guess the addiction gave me a false sense of accomplishment and some how i maintained long enough to be promoted to manager several times and once i got there the addiction slowly got worse and they all ended the same.
  5. deanokat

    deanokat DrugAbuse.com Community Organizer Community Listener

    @AdamR... Normalizing addiction is way better than stigmatizing it, for sure. The stigma is what makes people feel ashamed, guilty, embarrassed, and lesser-than-human. People struggling with addiction aren't bad people; they're sick people. But most of all...they're people.

    I'm glad those folks at the needle exchange make you feel normal. And I'm also glad that you're being safe by getting clean rigs. Like @Dominica, I hope you can someday overcome your addiction. But know that we love and care about you no matter what.

    Thanks for sharing, my friend.
    Josh111187 likes this.
  6. JanetP

    JanetP Member

    Sorry you feel judged elsewhere. The difference seems to be knowledge. The people at the needle exchange understand what you're going through and are kind and encouraging - others just don't understand. Keep your chin up because you're doing a great thing and trying to give up.
    If you feel you need more assistance, there's always rehab or a home detox. I've tried both and find that the support and kindness you're talking about helps encourage me to keep going. There's nothing wrong with saying that positive reinforcement helps!
  7. Josh111187

    Josh111187 Community Champion

    I agree completely positive reinforcement does help. Idk about las Vegas but here in Atlanta, and there's one further towards Savannah Georgia where I'm building my house (and that's way out in farmland) , called the Bradley center. Its a place where you can go inpatient and not go through detox necessarily, but be maintained on methadone while your there.
    While your in there for a week or two they will obtain all the info they need to put you on a taper plan specific to you. Its a bid deal here in Atlanta and if they even have one in more remote places like near the coast outside of Savannah Ga, there's got to be something like that near las Vegas.
    Anyway the Bradley I know is a very high quality facility,that's where I went to come off of alcohol. The staff are former addicts themselves and so they understand exactly how you feel and treat you like a normal person.
    During your stay, they take your blood urine monitor check vitals twice a day, and feed you really well. Kinda like a stay in a nice hotel with room service, they are just monitoring you and checking up on you.
    When I left I decided I wanted to continue with outpatient care for a while and that's only fifty dollars a month for meds doctor visits the whole works.
    Even if you don't think you're ready for getting off now at least they hook you up with free methadone and aftercare is way cheaper than the methadone clinic. Its government funded not sure if its a nationwide thing or a state thing. But check out the Bradley center. If there's not one near you there's got to be something like that close buy. God bless.
    deanokat likes this.
  8. Cametobelieve0202

    Cametobelieve0202 Community Champion

    So I’m kind of conflicted on this whole thread. I don’t think it’s the stigma that makes people feel ashamed, guilty or embarrassed. It’s the fact that we are behaving in ways that should make us feel that way. So when I was using I’d lie cheat and steal, I felt like **** about myself but that’s because I was doing shitty things that went against my morals. Someone once said in a meeting “if you want to stop feeling like ****, stop doing shitty things” that made complete sense to me. No kidding I felt bad about myself, I was doing a lot of bad things. I think part of what gets us into recovery is disliking the person we have become. Who would want to get sober if they liked who they were, were pleased with the direction in which their life was going, or felt no urgency to change. Being an active addict isn’t something to be proud of but being an addict in recovery sure is! I’ve been sober for awhile and whenever I’ve told people I’m in recovery or a recovering person I have never felt stigmatized. Almost everyone knows an addict or alcoholic who’s still suffering, so more often than not people seem inspired by my story and who I’ve become.
    True concern likes this.
  9. deanokat

    deanokat DrugAbuse.com Community Organizer Community Listener

    I see your point, @CMMW. And I think it's valid. I'm sure people who are addicts oftentimes feel ashamed, guilty, embarrassed, etc. because they know they're doing "shitty things." But I also think the stigma associated with addiction contributes to the negative feelings, too. When "normal" people look at you as some kind of second-class human being because of your addiction, that's demoralizing.
    True concern likes this.
  10. Cametobelieve0202

    Cametobelieve0202 Community Champion

    I understand that thought process, it makes sense, it’s just not mine. First, more often than not we don’t actually know what people think about us, more often it’s us projecting our thoughts onto them. I run under the notion that, “my perception of you is a direct reflection of me” so if I think people are treating me poorly or think I’m “sub human” it’s because I’m thinking that about myself. Now let’s say he is being treated poorly, is it not fair? Have you lied to the ones that love you most? Stole? Cheated? When were using we don’t deserve to be treated like the green of England ;) because our behaviors don’t garner respect. I think we should be treated with compassion and sympathy to a certain extent but that’s if we want to get sober. Next, do we want addicts to think highly of themselves and their behavior? Do we want them to continue to do what they’re doing with positive reinforcement? If we thought highly of addicts wouldn’t it just perpetuate the cycle of addiction? I think shame and guilt are key ingredients for getting sober. We NEED to feel those feelings in order to want to change. This guys story for example, he gets treated really well when he goes to get needles, thus he continues to go there, get clean needles and use. Helping to enable his use and perpetuate his cycle. Granted I’m glad he’s using clean needles instead of dirty ones but he’s still using just the same. His addiction is what’s killing him not the needle.
  11. Josh111187

    Josh111187 Community Champion

    I must say, that because I also have been a heroin addict stuck on the needle myself that the needle exchange is great as far as getting clean rigs go. I have been to them myself while living in the midwest. However the way they don't stigmatize drug use is almost to the other extreme, you can go in there and have a conversation with someone else who uses and talk about how great this next fix is gonna be or whatever.
    It almost reminds me of standing in the methadone line talking about how you're looking forward to your next dose. And what mgs you're on and what you're going to tell your Dr to up the dose. If you're one of the people that have ever been in the methadone clinic you know its always the same. And they say they're going to ween you off but I've never seen anyone come off of methadone alone.
    I don't think that addicts should be demoralized at all. But at the same time a pat on the back kind of attitude toward addiction that you get at the exchange is also not right. Dominica said in that post where she put the you tube video that there is a grey area and that is very true.
    I said that I didn't like the way my parents spoke about my drug use and its true. But after reading this I got to thinking about what they said about my brothers drug use, and I don't know. I don't know because I didn't care to listen. I was in active addiction and only cared to hear if it involved me.
    If I had not moved back south and been around my family and heard them and seen them stigmatize me then I probably wouldn't have changed. I think its ok to give out clean rigs. But I don't think that you deserve to walk out of there with your head held high because you're just like everyone else, because actually you're not at all like everyone else. At least not while in active addiction.
    This is coming from someone who has been there. So you point at an addict who says they are just as productive and honest and useful as a non using addict, then ill show you someone who is fooling themselves. That's why I don't know what was said about my brothers because I was too selfish to care. This is an interesting thread and has got me thinking alot.
  12. True concern

    True concern Community Champion

    Ok so i have been thinking about this thread quite a bit as well,on this one i've tried not to take my personal feelings into consideration and almost every other post is the same with different word's.Two sides of the aisle two different perspectives but the Core point is the same.Everyone here obviously cares yet there are two different takes on the topic which i think is great because we are not all the same there is no one approach or one method to helping people who struggle with addiction.I see separate opinions yet i feel they are both correct.Some of us need positive reinforcement to help us with self esteem and help us to help ourselves,some of us need to hit rock bottom and lose everything and there are still some of us who need to hear your about to die before they make the change.I am happy this conversation is happening because it means people care and i like that people care
  13. Jai50

    Jai50 Senior Contributor

    Just commenting on the way addicts are treated. I won't go to the hospital because if they see my arms they treat me like a drug seeker.
    I went cold tu
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  14. Dominica

    Dominica Author, Writer, Recovery Advocate Community Listener

    deanokat and True concern like this.
  15. Jai50

    Jai50 Senior Contributor

    I know how u feel. I won't go to a ER because I don't want them to see my arms. They treated me like ****.
    Anyway abt methodone. Please think twice B4 u go down that road.
    deanokat, Josh111187 and True concern like this.
  16. Jai50

    Jai50 Senior Contributor

    Keep it up. I was told I need to go back on Suboxone because I been so miserable depressed ext.

    Reading what y'all have to say is a big help.
    deanokat, Dominica and True concern like this.
  17. True concern

    True concern Community Champion

    @Jai50 this site is a big help for myself,i to quit cold turkey it was torture but now i have people i consider friend's on this site and even though we don't always agree 100% the one thing i think we do agree on always is everyone here cares and always offers the best insight and encouragement we can because we all truly care
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  18. Josh111187

    Josh111187 Community Champion

    Preach it man. I can't agree more. Adolf Hitler was the one who got his German scientists to come up it when opium started running out in the 2nd WW. It was originally called Adolfine.
    Then the Allies caught on and now we have methadone clinics.
    I think I speak for every other person that's ever been through those doors and come out with a dose when I say, you were looking for more that night.
    Or at least ready for it. Methadone is great heroin replacement...until its not.
    I have a deep hatred for the stuff.
    deanokat, Dominica and True concern like this.
  19. True concern

    True concern Community Champion

    Can't say i was a fan of it either
  20. Josh111187

    Josh111187 Community Champion

    It never ever not once lasted until the next dose for me. I was always standing in the line sweating and shaking and scratching you know the feeling.
    So they would always think I was on something else and pull me out of the line to drug test me. That put me at the back of the line.
    Then one time they said I didn't test positive for bupe, which is in methadone...so I got kicked out. I was taking it, they saw me, but I'm a small guy 5,8. 145lbs so I guess I metabolized the stuff fast idk. But I haven't had that issue with Suboxone, it does last around the clock and I can deal with that. It also doesn't geek me up like that did.
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