When it comes to looking at addiction honestly and removing the stigmas around it, those of us who have lived with addiction firsthand can begin to change the narrative of it for the larger culture to be able to learn from our experiences. We can express ourselves and speak about our experiences. We can shed light on the truth of addiction and how pervasive it is in our families and communities. We can illuminate for people just how destructive and debilitating it can be in our lives.
For us to be honest about our struggles with addiction, we have to muster a level of courage we might not think we possess but which is part of our inherent inner strength. Once we realize our potential and claim our voice, we can tap into the strength and courage within us. Many of us have only ever discussed our addiction with those closest to us, with our support groups, close family and friends, or therapists. Many of us haven’t even brought ourselves to tell our loved ones about our addictions. Why would we hide such a huge part of our lives from other people, especially those that care about us? The answer lies in fear – the fear that fuels the stigmas around addiction in the first place, and our fears of being judged and rejected by the people we love and by society in general.
Fear causes us to misunderstand each other and the illness of addiction. Just as depression and mental illness are still widely misunderstood, addiction also suffers from the negative stereotypes, stigmas, misconceptions and misinformation surrounding it in our culture. Working to summon our courage means realizing that we might always have fear on some level but that we can transcend it. We can give addiction a face and a name. We can change the dialogue around addiction to be inclusive of the addicts who have had personal experience with it, not the people who are most judgmental and fearful of it. We can give ourselves a voice and reclaim the discourse around addiction, for ourselves and for our larger communities. We can redefine addiction as something that impacts our lives but doesn’t have to dictate them entirely. We can see our addiction as something we can learn from rather than be devastated by. Healing from our addiction can be part of what empowers us, rather than just being a memento of our self-destruction. The memories we hold of our struggles can motivate us to move forward, rather than staying stuck in the past, mired with regret.
The community at Enlightened Solutions has years of personal experience with addiction, recovery, and helping others in recovery. We can help you too. Call (833) 801-LIVE.