In elementary or high school, were you or a friend known for a mistake or accident that occurred? Whether you fell down in front of everyone during a school play or a friend spilled lunch all over themselves, that single event trailed you like a shadow. No matter what you did, it always felt like that event defined who you were.
That’s what it can feel like for your loved one struggling with the stigma of drug or alcohol addiction. It’s often an invisible weight, but that fact doesn’t make it any less daunting for your loved one to carry. The good news is you can help your loved one overcome this stigma.
Why is There Addiction Stigma?
Before we dive into ways you can help support your loved one, it’s important to understand why the stigma of addiction exists. Society tends to stigmatize behaviors that are considered outside the “norm”. Addiction often falls into this category in many people’s minds because of the misconception that substance abuse is a choice or caused by some type of moral failing.
In reality, addiction is a disease that does not discriminate and has the potential to affect anyone. Until this becomes common knowledge across the general public, though, there will continue to be a stigma of addiction.
3 Ways You Can Help Your Loved One with the Stigma of Addiction
1. Talk Openly about Their Substance Abuse
A large part of what fuels the stigma of addiction is a lack of knowledge around it. If you or others in your loved one’s life don’t understand, getting your loved one to open up about their experience and feelings can help.
Of course, this can be a difficult step to take. That’s where your support comes in. Make it a point to talk to your loved one a few times a week. Listen to their story and experience at a pace that is comfortable for them. Once you have a better grasp of their drug or alcohol addiction, you can act as an advocate for them.
2. Help Your Loved One Find a Support System
It’s possible that your loved one is also fueling the stigma. Addiction can trigger isolation and make your loved one feel like there is something wrong with them, reinforcing the stigma in their own mind.
Encourage your loved one to connect with people who are in addiction recovery. Not only will they understand what your loved one is going through, but their stories can give your loved one a new perspective.
Start by offering to go with your loved one to a recovery or support meeting. Once your loved one hears from other people with similar struggles, that self-imposed stigma may start to fade.
3. Encourage Your Loved One to Find Addiction Treatment
Those who struggle with addiction often see asking for help as admitting weakness. This is actually part of the stigma linked to addiction, making it that much more difficult for your loved one to get treatment.
You can help your loved one overcome the stigma of addiction by finding the right addiction treatment center for them. The hardest part of finding help for an addiction is getting started. Talk to your loved one and help them create a plan for finding support. Your loved one is likely to be more motivated to go to treatment if you’re there to support them during the process.
We’re Here to Help Your Loved One Break Free from Addiction
Footprints Beachside Recovery is a family-run addiction treatment center in Florida. We’ve beaten addiction ourselves, which is how we know that your loved one has the potential to reach lasting recovery.
Get in touch with our admissions team today to learn how we can help your loved one break free from their addiction. You’ll receive peace of mind knowing your loved one is in good hands and able to privately heal their mind, body and spirit.