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Sharing My Stigma- The Stigma From Addiction

I often worry that people will have negative thoughts about me being in recovery. I believe people will judge me and not give me a chance to open up to them before they make automatic assumptions.

An article on This Naked Mind does a good job explaining a little more about stigmas and ways to reduce stigma (see article below). One way to mitigate stigma according to this article is by educating ourselves. For example, for me it is important to educate myself more around the opposing arguments and views that people have around addiction and alcoholism. For others, this may look slightly different.

Stigma around alcoholics and addicts include things like assumptions that we are low in social class, do not have an education, do not care about other people, will steal from others for fun, cannot be trusted, are dirty, are losers, and are self inflicting. The worst assumption I have heard in my past is “you can chose to stop so why don’t you?” and “Alcoholism is not a disease.” In my heart I know these two statements are wrong, so why can’t everyone else see that too?

One way that helps me feel comfortable when meeting new people, is telling them a little about my sobriety, if it is appropriate. I know when going into new relationships, whether it is new friends, classmates, or a new boyfriend, that some people may have stigmatized thoughts around people in recovery. Although, I find that once I share more about myself, people are more open to my recovery and more understanding.

It is realistic that people have different views of addiction than I do because they have not lived my life. My life and my past have shaped my views just as this is true for other people’s views. It is important to remember that although some stigmas may be hurtful, if we slowly educate and let others in to our world, maybe these stigmas can change.

An article from This Naked Mind.
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