Facing the Stigma of Going to Rehab
Facing the stigma of going to rehab can require a good deal of courage. Addiction is not always understood to be the illness that it is. There is a great deal of misinformation about it. Consequently, there are also a great deal of negative stereotypes that color others’ perceptions of you and of the illness you have.
A Moral Failing
Historically, addiction has been considered by many to be a moral failing on the part of those who have the illness. People have mistakenly assumed that addiction is a result of character weakness and low moral standards. Not understanding the dynamics of addiction, people have also assumed that those addicted can simply choose to alter their behavior and be done with using substances. Symptoms of the illness such as compulsive use despite one’s own wishes have not been understood by those who see addiction as a morality issue.
As a result of this view, the stigma surrounding addiction in the family has shamed and alienated both addicts and their loved ones. This has led to the tendency for many to keep addiction a secret. Unfortunately, some have chosen to not seek help due to the stigma of having an addiction. Also, people have suffered alone without enlisting the valuable support of loved ones when it is most needed. At times, family members feel the stigma of addiction, too, as if something is wrong with the family because a member has become ill with substance use. Consequently, loved ones that need support may also not seek it for fear of being ostracized, too.
One of the first steps toward overcoming the stigma of addiction is to seek professional help and guidance. Addiction treatment professionals are trained to understand such issues and to help addicts and their families overcome them. Education about addiction and recovery are also valuable. It equips you with an understanding of how addiction and recovery work, the key issues involved and coping strategies to help everyone involved.
Immersing yourself in the available support resources is very beneficial. In treatment, and in self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, you will find countless people in similar situations who will accept and share your struggles. Having this type of support reinforces a more realistic and healthier view of addiction and the recovery process. With such support, healing on many levels is possible.