Addiction Does Not Define You
Those who have been in substance use disorder treatment or recovery have had to deal with feelings of guilt, shame, and other negative emotions throughout their experience. Although the substance use counseling that takes place during treatment helps address the psychological effects of addiction, many patients still struggle with their self-identity outside of their addiction, regardless of how long they’ve been working to heal.
Change the Language
Despite how far addiction science has come, there are still plenty of archaic attitudes about the disease and those who deal with it. Today’s most effective and successful treatment clinics have done their part to change the language surrounding addiction to help those in treatment and recovery separate their chronic illness from their identity. Words like “addict” and “drug abuser” have been removed from their operational lexicon in efforts to move away from the derogatory language in favor of more people-first terms. Substance use disorder is a disease just like any other, and it’s time to remove blaming and shaming language when discussing those afflicted.
Letting go of Labels
Modern and updated recovery methods recognize that the mantra “once an addict, always an addict” is not conducive to healing. While these old-school tactics may work for some, placing such a label on someone recovering from a chronic disease is unnecessary and harmful. People suffering from depression or cancer are not regarded negatively, and neither should people with substance use disorder. Part of the recovery process is getting away from having addiction rule over a person’s life, therefore having them label themselves as “addicts” is regressive and unproductive towards moving forward.
Stop the Shaming
Outdated attitudes towards addiction uphold the belief that anyone with substance use disorder simply has no impulse control and made terrible decisions. With the nation-wide opioid crisis over the past two decades and with so many people who have developed opioid use disorder after being prescribed prescription painkillers, we know that it’s not the case. It’s time that more focus is put on the addictive nature of the substances themselves and the discoveries that have been made in addiction science that tie substance misuse to untreated mental health issues and trauma. Shaming those who became unwilling victims of addiction serves no one, especially those working hard to improve their lives and get better.
Antiquated attitudes towards addiction and those with substance use disorder should be addressed whenever possible. With the opioid epidemic still looming over every corner of America and heroin relapse rates once again on the rise, those who struggle with addiction must be no longer be made to feel that it defines their lives.
Whether it’s your first attempt at addressing your substance use disorder or you’re looking to get back on the road to health and healing, BAART is ready to provide high-quality, comprehensive addiction treatment. With flexible treatment plans and an outpatient format, people from all walks of life can effectively and conveniently work towards long-lasting recovery and freedom from addiction. Contact us today.