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Why is Addiction and Treatment Such a Complicated Issue?

Why Are Labels Not Helpful in Recovery?

People like to give labels but also think in terms of labeling themselves, especially in recovery. Using terms like ‘addict,’ only fuels the fire for stigmatizing people with addiction. When it comes to recovery, it can be difficult to get rid of labels and start working towards healing.

Bondage of Addiction

When someone struggles with drug addiction, there is a stigma that people face which can damage self-esteem and confidence for the long haul. There are even people who face hostility with addiction. Extreme prejudice against people who use drugs hasn’t necessarily changed, it is just different. Sometimes it is a quiet stigma of people looking at you differently, other times it is more overt. With the advent of social media it seems like people will say whatever they want to say however they want to say it and there is no filter.

Facing Stigma

One of the greatest stigmas for people living with addiction is to not believe in their own recovery, that they can give up drugs or alcohol to stay sober. Labels do not help because they further send people down into a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness, which is like a form of being victimized for their circumstances. What anyone needs, especially people with addiction, is to be released of labels and allowed to live as they believe by owning how they want to be named. People are desperate to stop using drugs or drinking but may get diverted into programs that don’t support their needs, sent away by well-meaning family members who don’t really understand what they need, and don’t actually find what is helpful for their circumstances. When a person with addiction is ready to face the stigma head on, they:

  • Feel empowered to seek help
  • Feel able to manage their needs and desires appropriately
  • Can set goals and look towards the future
  • Are less likely to relapse or stay in addiction because they feel there is hope

When people feel hopeless is when they are most likely to quit trying to give up the drugs and alcohol. Even labeling oneself as being ‘in recovery’ can feel stigmatizing for some, but it may be that it takes time to get used to owning the truth of one’s own experience. That has to come from within, not from outside people who tell others who they are, what they are (or should be) and how to believe in themselves. When a person wants to change, they will make the change themselves, not before, and not after, they are ready. Only when they admit the need for help will they finally seek it and stick with it for the long haul.

Serenity helps you get past the labels to just heal and offer support. We offer programs that bring you to a place of rest, healing, and restoration after addiction. Whatever your needs are, we will help you meet (and surpass) them. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401