The open discussion of addiction to drugs and alcohol, along with other mental health issues, was once almost forbidden. These types of problems were kept hushed up, with great emphasis placed on how shameful it was to have these kinds of problems in your family. Men were labeled as weak, women were simply said to be dealing with hysteria, and countless were simply locked away, to be out of sight and mind. This intense stigma has lingered on, even in today’s more open society. In some parts of the country, or in certain social groups, the mere whisper of someone struggling with addiction can lead to that person becoming a social outcast, and often, cruel words make it back to the person with the addiction. Despite addiction and mental health problems being a global issue, these feelings of guilt or shame are often the most common reason people don’t get help – they are simply too humiliated to ask for help. For many battling addiction, the idea that they would have to tell their family or friends that they’re struggling with an addiction can be extremely distressing. They mistakenly believe that by acknowledging their problem and bringing it into the open, they will be seen as a failure by their loved ones, for falling into the cycle of substance abuse. Guilt can have a powerful effect on the human mind, and many people who struggle with guilt over their addiction often increase their usage to compensate for how they feel. For family and friends, the most important thing for them is ensuring that their loved one gets into a treatment program that works for them. They want their family member to get the help they need, and begin to rebuild their lives. Those trying to get help for a loved one should take care; a lot of people fighting addiction may take offense or feel rejected by an attempt to help, when neither was intended. This can simply add fuel to the internal guilt they feel, and cause further tensions between families. Feeling as if they could face some social backlash or family rejection often deepens anxiety and depression, two of the pillars that addiction commonly builds on. When you’re ready to get help, or talk to a loved one about their addiction, remember to be compassionate. It’s not your place to judge your loved one, or even yourself. Instead, help reassure them that they’re not defined by their addiction, and they have no reason to be ashamed.
Your story is waiting to begin with the rest of your life. Treatment is the beginning of the journey that changes your story. At Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in Orange County, California, we believe that when you change your story, you change your life. Call us today for information on our programs for treatment, including our exclusive executive track. 877.279.1777