It is National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, and with that theme, we wanted to address a myth while bringing attention to the disparity of addiction. Particularly, we will be using this blog to highlight drug and alcohol addiction.
The myth we will be shattering: All addicts are the same and have the same story. While this may not initially appear to be a significant myth, it is.
Before we take a more depth look into breaking down this myth, we first need to explore the stigmatization associated with drug addiction.
The World Health Organization defines stigma as, “the single most important barrier to overcome in the community is the stigma and associated discrimination towards persons suffering from mental and behavioral disorders.”
Stigma paralyzes. It leaves an individual with feelings of isolation, shame, exclusion, and burden. Putting an end to stigma is where our focus should be. Collectively we should strive to support individuals, so they can receive the appropriate help they need.
“Myths and stigmatizing language, especially among emotional and confusing topics like addiction are heavily prevalent. Many of these factual inaccuracies, like people with addiction problems, cannot hold down a steady job, prevent individuals from even wanting to seek treatment if they do not think they fit the stereotype of an addict”- John Driscoll
Now, returning to the myth: All addicts are the same and have the same story. We begin by breaking this myth down into 2 parts so that we are able to take a better look at the facts.
Addiction is a disease that can affect any one person. As Hazelden Betty Ford states, “It’s a chronic disease that can be successfully managed for life; and that it affects individuals who are every bit as moral, productive, intelligent, talented—and humanly flawed—as the next person“.
This also goes to say, while this disease can manifest itself in some intense ways… there is hope. There is hope for ALL.
Individuals who struggle with substance abuse are not all the same. They live in various areas and have unique lives.
“The truth is that people addicted to substances exist in every walk of life regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, employment, or economic status. Addiction is a condition that can affect anyone”-John Driscoll, CCPA President
Addicts are not solely living on the streets homeless; they are business professionals, parents, spouses, and members of society. It is important to realize that anyone can be or become addicted. In making this connection, one can become more open and aware of ways to help that individual, and supporting them through a sober lifestyle.
Those addicted all have different stories, being that they are different people with different experiences and life stories. Myths truly can be harmful, so recognizing they are false makes a huge impact on how to face and treat addiction recovery.
Let us work together to rid ourselves of the myths, and become more attuned to the facts! In doing so, we can help to support all lives!
To check out some other myths, click here!