Stigma is a word that seems to trail around behind the word ‘addiction’ everywhere it goes. It is hard not to put the two together, because it has to do with shame. It is not something people want for themselves or their loved ones, but stigma seems to be everywhere addiction goes. Opioids are another issue that has taken over American consciousness lately with so many people dying from overdoses or struggling with addiction. It may feel hard to get past the stigma but it is not hard when community and loved ones surround a person with the addiction and seek to support them.
Barrier to Healing
One of the challenges of stigma is that it ranks high for people with addiction as a barrier. People who seek treatment often benefit from it, but ‘going there’ and moving forward with treatment is hard. Substance-abuse treatment is not something people like to talk about, even if that is changing the more loved ones realize the reality of addiction and need for help. The negative opinions are waning, but that does not mean people don’t feel a barrier to treatment. Many people do not seek treatment because they fear peers at work will know, their bosses will know, and they are not able to find sustainable employment after. Moving past the barrier to treatment is the best way to blow past the stigma.
No matter how a person developed an opioid use disorder, society and loved ones can treat them with respect. The majority of people with substance use disorders recover with the right help. Compassion is one of the keys to creating an environment that supports healing. With the replacement of stigma with compassion, people can find support and get what they need. Loved ones can:
- Offer unconditional support
- Create space to hear and honor their story
- Offer help with boundaries
- Go to support groups and find healing of their own
- Educate themselves about opioid use and alcoholism
- Speaking up when loved one is unfairly treated
The best way to fight stigma is to be an advocate for yourself or a loved one. There are many people who believe the person with an addiction can, and will, succeed in recovery. It is always a good idea to help the loved one see that they have the support and don’t need to listen to other people tell them they don’t have any support. If they have someone who cares about them, they can conquer anything, including addiction.
Oceanfront understands addiction stigma can be debilitating, but we also know rehab works. If you are committed to healing, we will help give tools that support your goals and help you fight back against stigma. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295