Substance abuse carries a stigma. On social media and news articles, we see images, videos and comments that make addiction feel like a character flaw or moral wrongdoing. While it’s safe to say that we have made progress in the way substance abuse disorders are approached and treated by rehabs in Phoenix, it’s hard to remove decades of stigma overnight.
Addicts need more compassion and understanding, but this is harder done than said. Your loved one may have lied to you, stolen from you, kept you up for hours at night or blamed you for their problems. How can you show them compassion without being vulnerable?
At Continuum Recovery Center, we work closely with families. We recommend showing compassion in the five following ways:
Educate yourself on the nature of addiction.
Stay up-to-date and informed on substance abuse. You can do this by reading books and news articles, watching videos and listening to podcasts. These resources help you understand how addiction works on the brain and body. You can also learn essential tools such as how to recognize the signs of relapse and how to stop the cycle of enablement.
Participate in counseling and support groups.
When addiction is this close to home, it affects you, too. There are probably feelings you need to work through to offer the full support your loved one needs. Talk with a therapist, participate in family counseling sessions at a Phoenix treatment center and join a family support group like Al Anon or Nar Anon. It’s okay - and even necessary - to give attention to yourself.
Avoid passing judgement on others.
It’s easy to judge others. People do this all the time. In a sense, it’s a way for us to cope. We like to rationalize that something won’t happen to us because we make smarter decisions. The reality is that we’re protected from very few things in the world, including addiction. It can happen to anyone, even those coming from good families and affluent neighborhoods. When you feel like judging, turn this into empathy instead.
Change the way you talk about addiction.
As a society, we have called attention to the way we talk about certain issues such as race or sexual orientation. However, when it comes to addiction, a lot of people still use words like “junkie” or “druggie”. This language can sound insensitive, so work on how you discuss the subject. Remember, addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease. Not a choice. Not a label.
Listen to stories from recovering addicts.
There are many recovering addicts out there who are happy to share their stories. You can find them on blog posts, podcasts, websites, email chains, social media and forums. Take the time to read their stories and congratulate them on their progress. This puts good into the world. Personal stories share information and provide perspective, but they also do something else - they give hope.
Addicts need more compassion in the world. As you work on educating yourself, getting the help you need and changing your perspective on the disease, you can offer the true support and understanding that your loved one needs. To learn more about the family-focused therapies offered at our drug treatment centers in Phoenix, call Continuum Recovery Center today!