Stigma is a negative attitude imposed by society on people who it judges as not ‘normal’. It is a reaction of fear, ignorance and prejudice. Unfortunately, this stigma can prevent people from seeking help for alcohol and drug problems.
The science vs the myths
It is scientifically proven that addiction is a disease of the brain, but there are still people who believe that alcohol and drug addiction is a sign of weakness and a moral failing; many people even dispute the scientific research in favour of their own prejudices.
Dealing with the stigma of alcohol & drug addiction
Accept that you have an illness, but an illness that is treatable if you work hard. In addition, recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is possible.
Go to a self-help group like Alcoholics Anonymous / Narcotics Anonymous
You will meet others recovering from alcohol and drug addiction at these meetings. These groups are incredibly reassuring and motivational. You will realise that you are not alone and that there is a fellowship of mutual support for you to lean on.
Include your family
Please help them see that addiction is a disease from which recovery is possible. Show them you want to change. Then, persuade them to go to Al-Anon meetings. Al-Anon is a branch of AA that helps families deal with the effects of alcohol and drug addiction on their lives.
Seek expert treatment
Suppose you have tried to quit drinking or drugs on your own and can’t then turn to the experts for help. At a residential rehab clinic, you will receive round-the-clock medical supervision, intensive counselling from trained therapists and thorough education and advice on the disease of addiction. If there are any underlying causes or effects of your addiction, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, these will also be treated.
Don’t isolate yourself.
Speak to family and friends about how you feel and your worries about your alcohol and drug problems. They will be grateful that you are opening up to them and can help you recover.