When you think back on how you used to be in active addiction, it probably makes you cringe. You vow to work hard to never go back to that place again. Since you have entered recovery, you have made many changes in your life and within yourself. It’s a lot of work on your part and you’re doing your best to make things right. But it’s hard to shake off the old you because people have labeled you “the addict” and that label is loaded with negative connotation. These people treat you differently because of the past you are trying so hard to escape. It is frustrating and discouraging to work so hard on your recovery, yet still, be stigmatized. Finding a way to rise above the stigma is necessary and even lifesaving.
Consequences of Stigma
People are going to judge and label people; it is what it is. However, stigma has major consequences that could derail your progress.
Consequences of Stigma that threaten Addiction Recovery:
- Reluctance to seek help
Stigma does not just affect you. It affects your loved ones as well. This makes it harder for everyone to move forward and heal. This can cause even more stress for you because you don’t want to see your loved ones hurting, either. Learning how to fight back helps you and your loved ones work through this situation.
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5 Tips to Fight Stigma
Stigma is not going away any time soon, so the best thing to do is learn how to rise above it. Here are five tips on how to work through it.
- Find support: Relying on people who truly understand addiction, recovery and everything in between helps tremendously. Attending AA/NA groups and other support groups brings you strength in numbers.
- Don’t fall into the negativity trap: You might hear negative things being said about addicts and recovery, but you don’t have to believe everything that you hear. It is hurtful to hear the negative things but you can turn it into a positive. Use that negativity as fuel to work harder at your recovery.
- Healthy coping skills: This can be an emotionally charged situation. Keeping all the feelings you are experiencing in check and coping with the negative stressors in healthy ways helps you work through the situation.
- Set goals and work toward them: The best way to fight the stigma and the misconceptions about addiction is by showing people how wrong they are. Addiction doesn’t mean you’re morally weak, a failure, a criminal or unproductive citizen. Work hard toward your recovery and life goals. Show the world that you are a reliable person who overcomes challenges successfully.
- Promote awareness: Our society has a skewed and stigmatized view of addicts and addiction. It’s time to change that perception and it starts with you. Joining groups that promote awareness and advocate for your rights is a start. You can also take the time to educate people about addiction and recovery in your everyday life.
Breaking Through the Barriers
It’s not easy to deal with stigma, but with a good attitude and support system, you can overcome this. Don’t let other people get in the way of your success in recovery. Getting through these challenges helps prepare you for other challenges in life.
Stepping Stone Center for Recovery in Florida is a top-rated alcohol and drug rehab facility. Our addiction specialists are available to you by phone for questions on admissions and detox treatment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 866-957-4960today for help.