Words have power. What we say about addiction impacts the stigma around it. Saying words like “addicts,” “alcoholic” or even “drug-fueled” can cause problems. Stigma can lead a person to keep their addiction a secret. They may also avoid seeking help.
You may not even be aware that you are promoting stigma, but a mindful approach can help you take a new view on addiction. You can help reduce stigma with small changes. With more thought about the words you use, you can make it safe to talk about addiction.
Awareness of promoting stigma
Addiction often begins when a person uses substances to cope with emotional pain. Stigma can push many of the same emotional buttons. A person facing stigma can feel shame and humiliation. The addiction, stigma and unaddressed emotion issues feed into a harmful cycle.
Stigma also prevents people who need addiction help from seeking it. Some may have faced stigma in healthcare settings as well. Avoidance of care is a health risk. But people with addiction issues may take that chance to avoid more emotional pain.
Substance use disorders: Listening and learning
Dignity and compassion are key aspects of treatment. Reducing addiction stigma allows trust to grow. When someone with an addiction lowers their guard, they can begin healing. With safety and support, a person can begin to accept help.
Listen to people who have been through the cycle of substance use disorders. Hearing recovery stories from others can give you a new perspective. You never know the power of stigma until you hear someone describe it from the other side.
Listen to someone when they tell their addiction story. Personal details make the recovery process more relatable. Addiction affects millions of people. So even a small reduction in stigma can make a big impact.
Change your viewpoint of substance use
Your view of addiction and recovery affects the way you speak about it. Mindfulness can help you change your mindset. Start with being more self-aware of your beliefs and thoughts.
Take a mindful approach when talking or reading about substance use issues. When speaking with someone, think about the words you use. Do you catch yourself using labels like “alcoholic” or “addict”? Remember that these people are human like you.
Labels can put a person’s identity into a narrow category. Be mindful of a more flexible viewpoint. A person struggling with addiction can become a person in recovery. That is a small but vital shift in wording. And that shift can give hope for change and growth.
Reducing addiction stigma
Are you or someone you know and love trapped in the cycle of addiction? We can help you take a step towards becoming your best self. At The Right Step Hill Country, we will educate you on your substance use.
We’ll teach you how your emotions and environment can impact your reliance on substances. You can create a treatment plan that will help you manage everyday life.
For more information on our programs or the admissions process, call us today at 844.767.9965.