The Stigma of Addiction and Recovery
Even with the social progress we’ve seen in recent years with regard to understanding mental health and addiction, drug and alcohol abuse continues to be subject to intense stigma. Addicts often find themselves being treated as less than human, portrayed as lazy failures, hardened criminals, and pitiable lost causes on television.
Even as they seek to find sobriety, recovering addicts can still face painful, damaging assumptions that can hold them back from making good progress and sustaining sobriety. All of this creates a culture of silence around substance abuse and can keep addicts from admitting to their problems and reaching out for help when they need it most.
Facing Stereotypes in Sobriety
Breaking away from substance abuse is the first hurdle, but there will continue to be societal hurdles. One of the most hurtful stigmas related to substance abuse recovery is the idea that addicts can never change and that they will undoubtedly return to using drugs or alcohol eventually. Recovering addicts facing this particular stigma of sobriety can feel that no one believes in them, particularly if the message is coming from who they view as their support network.
Recovering addicts may also face the unique stereotype that they will be that “obnoxious optimist” who will only ever talk about recovery and become an armchair psychologist for anyone who will listen. If someone accuses you of being “pushy” about your recovery, consider if their statement holds any truths you can learn from. If not, don’t let the criticism hold you back in your journey to sobriety. Often, ignoring the stigma outright is a wise course of action.
Avoiding Relapse and Moving Past the Stigma of Addiction
Fortunately, there are many different coping skills that can help you get through recovery despite the stereotypes that abound. The following are just a few tips you can use to keep yourself on the right track and avoid relapsing:
- Maintain contact with a network of addiction specialists and other individuals in recovery who understand the stigma you face.
- Consider entering a sober living facility to minimize temptation and provide stability.
- Avoid people and places that may be triggers for you to use, especially in the beginning.
- Find or re-discover a healthy hobby that you can turn to in your free time and avoid the temptation to drink or use.
- Prepare yourself for unintentionally negative comments from others and, if necessary, calmly explain why their words are hurtful to you.
- Prepare to combat negative self-talk with positive coping methods.
Comfortable, Independent Sober Living at RECO Institute in Delray Beach, FL
If you’ve just taken your first steps toward overcoming addiction, you may be facing anxiety about returning to regular life, facing stereotypes, and managing temptations. At RECO Institute in Delray Beach, we offer recovering addicts the opportunity to stay in our professionally managed sober living facilities. During your time living sober with us, you’ll take on responsibilities and work together with your peers in recovery to prepare you for a lasting, life-long sobriety.
If you’re ready to seek stability in a safe, temptation-free environment, call us today at (844) 900-RECO.