There are a lot of obstacles that might stand between a person and addiction treatment. One of the most pervasive in our society today, though, is feelings of shame that are pushed on to the patient by others. With this stigma heavy on their heads, people find it more difficult than ever to work through to recovery.

We Need to Open up About Addiction Treatment

Many people struggling with an addiction think “that there’s more of a stigma around being a recovering alcoholic drinking than there is about being an active drinker.” The same could be said of drugs or other substances, but the bottom line is the same. Even if they are in recovery and working toward a healthier future, others still view them as people who have some kind of weakness, failing, or moral shortcoming, and often make those opinions obvious.

As you may have guess, this is hugely detrimental to the person who is trying to make a new life for themselves. If someone is hanging over their head offering judgment without reservation, then it’s sure to negatively impact that person’s experience overcoming addiction. “Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) indicates that shame is the largest barrier to alcoholics getting treatment.” This is perhaps badly ironic, since they should be praised and supported in their decision to not only admit that they have a problem, but to actively seek addiction treatment. And yet, this isn’t the case.

Though these people don’t report these feelings of shame within their treatment programs, often, they do experience it from others outside of those walls. As a result of that, many people who successfully work through a recovery program don’t share their positive experience with others, and thus don’t help to overturn the negative stigma. If those who found success in recovery more openly spoke with others about the way they overcame their addiction, then others might be inspired to do the same. Unfortunately, because the patients who entered into treatment are hesitant to talk about it for fear of shame, others can’t follow their example.

“If those in recovery are no longer anonymous but are your neighbors, friends, and celebrities whom you respect – we may begin to see them as human beings instead of representations of their addiction.” How, though, do we get people to both stop shaming those who are recovering, and encourage those who have recovered to share their stories? There have been marches, speeches, and TV specials, and these are all good stepping stones. Hopefully, they will allow more and more people to ‘come out’ with this news so that others can also lead healthier lives.

Put simply, the more people who step forward and share their stories, the better off everyone related to the addiction community will  be. Addiction treatment isn’t a solo experience even if the person opts for something like individual therapy: it involves them, their counselor, their loved ones, and even their community, in many ways. That community and those loved ones, then, should be nothing but loving and supportive, even if they don’t yet understand the difficulties of addiction for themselves. A little education and understanding go a long way.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction and need professional aid, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.