For years (way too many) people have been allowed to freely assume, to judge & generalize, and to categorize & marginalized the people out in the community who struggle with addiction.
This is called stigma.
We (people who have struggled with addiction) are finally standing up to tell people that it’s wrong.
If you have allowed yourself to be conditioned by the old school hype, you’re wrong.
It’s all wrong.
For so long people haven’t had any reason to change how they view addiction.
People haven’t had to understand why this issue is so important.
They haven’t found themselves in a situation to care enough about something that hasn’t touched their lives.
Well, for decades, they haven’t.
But it’s beginning to change.
It has started to creep closer and closer to their families.
To their churches.
They have a friend, a co-worker, a niece, a friend of a friend.
It is begun to seep into their world and it is starting to affect them personally.
And that is exactly what it takes sometimes.
Sometimes, it takes a personal brush with something real, to wake up a community.
This happens, one person at a time.
What people are starting to realize is that the old, washed up, sad excuse of a definition of what and who a
drug addict person struggling with an addiction is,
has been a misleading, appalling way to view an epidemic that has killed so many people.
Here are some things ‘drug addicts’ have been labeled:
Losers. Worthless. Street People. Senseless.
Low-Life. Junkies. Drunk.
Here is the online thesaurus lists as synonyms for the phrase ‘drug-addict.’
Just for kicks, here’s one more.
Why does this need to change?
Two important reasons.
First, people die because of this stigma.
No. Stigma is not directly responsible for the deaths of these people.
But do we know how many of them were too afraid to speak up or reach out?
Do we know how many hid in fear of being found out by family or a boss, a friend, a peer group or a team at work?
Do we know how many may have just needed a tiny bit of encouragement but instead, we met with a nasty comment or a dirty look?
No we don’t.
And no, it isn’t your job to baby people who are struggling with something.
And no, I am not saying these deaths are your fault. I am simply saying that I know for sure at least one of these deaths could have been prevented, and maybe, just maybe, we could have unknowingly played a part in that.
Second, the people who live through an addiction aren’t anything like what stigma says they are.You might just be surprised to find the types of people who are living sober lives in your community. We are everywhere. We probably work right next to you.
We are friends with you or maybe your children.
We are your neighbors, your nurses, your counselors, your artists, writers, musicians, advocates, business owners or your teachers.
Before you judge, consider listening to that voice in your heart that tells you that you could be wrong.
You just might have been conditioned to think a certain way about a certain group of amazing individuals who you really don’t know anything about when it comes down to it.
I understand that it is so much easier to wash your hands of something that, if you’re lucky enough, hasn’t personally effected you (yet).
but you just might find that you have been missing out of some REALLY amazing people.