Drug use is on the rise in the U.S. as more people become involved in addictive behaviors and substances that consume their lives. Most recent data shows that there are more than 20 million Americans that are addicted to alcohol and drugs. In spite of the prevalence of addiction in our country, there is still a stigma that exists about substance abuse that can prove to be an obstacle for people going into recovery.
Some people may even avoid getting help and professional treatment because they worry what people think about how it will affect their reputation to reveal that they have an addiction. Because people who drink heavily or use addictive drugs are judged harshly by mainstream society, people in need of help may hide their problem for years to avoid being stigmatized. Here are five important ways to move past the stigma of addiction and seek the help that you need to recover.
Admit that You Need Help
Even though you might be fearful of what people will say or think about you if you go public about your addiction it is important to recognize that without treatment it will be too difficult to quit. Understanding that you need professional help in order to recover can give you the motivation you need to get over the stigma. If you try to quit drug use on your own while continuing to hide your problem it will only lead to relapse. When you know for certain that a treatment center is necessary it can prepare you for opening up about your experiences.
Talk to Those Who Overcame Stigma
If you need insight into your fears as well as valuable advice about how to move forward you can begin to connect with recovered addicts. People in recovery may have their own stories about how they dealt with the stigma of addiction and were able to get past it in order to become sober. Most will probably tell you that the feeling of being stigmatized is no longer an issue for them. Seeing that the problem will eventually end can give you hope for the future of your recovery.
Focus on Personal Goals
If you are working towards your recovery and feel you are experiencing the stigma of being an addict then it can be helpful to focus your energy on your progress in treatment. Instead of worrying about how you are being judged, achieving recovery goals can be a more positive thing to think about and will take your mind off of your perceived stigma. If you work hard toward where you want to be you will be happier with yourself and will care less about what others think of you.
Make Long Term Plans
In order to maintain your focus on treatment and improving yourself it can be helpful to think about where you want to be in the future. Having a long-term plan ensures that you will always be moving forward and not as concerned with other people. Long term plans can plant the seed in your mind that one day in the future you will be completely sober and free from your struggles with addiction.
Get Involved in the Community
If you still feel concerned about the stigma of addiction then you can get active in projects and community events that work to break the stigma of substance abuse problems. There are plenty of community organizations that focus on this important subject and are focused on eliminating the stigma of mental illnesses and addiction. It can be a good way to connect with others that have similar concerns about addiction and are free from any judgment.