Letters to Society
Max Liles, Senior Director, The Counseling Center
To this point, we’ve touched on the various ways that Substance Use Disorders are marginalized on multiple levels.
When you talk about “addicts” – or as we like to put it, “A person with a Substance Use Disorder,” there are such strong reactions on both sides.
In some ways, we have recently seen, more than ever before, people in recovery are finding their voice; sharing their story; having their message of hope heard. (I mean, combined The Addicts Diary and Humans of Addiction Facebook pages have, like, three-quarters of a million likes!)
But even with the progress we have seen recently, substance use disorders still haven’t made it out of the dark.
This disease is stigmatized by society: “Addicts are weak! Why can’t you just stop?”
This disease is divided into its own category by the professionals that treat it: “Mental Health AND Substance Use Disorders.”
This disease even holds us apart from one another in recovery: “You didn’t get clean like I got clean.” (For more on that ask someone you know about the AA v. NA v. Everyone Other Recovery Group beef in your local community; seriously – LOL)
Over the last few weeks, Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Sweden Carter, has been working on a project that highlights **what people with a substance use disorder wish that society knew about them, personally.**
Sweden told us,
>“We have been discussing the stigma surrounding addiction, defined as ‘a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.’ The group spoke about how damaging this public shame and stereotyping had not only been to their use, but also their recovery efforts in the past. This shame also plays a huge role in why people don’t seek treatment or help. They want society to see them for more than their addiction-because they are so much more. Addiction is one of our nation’s biggest public health problems and it is vital that we change society’s perception of addiction, so that we can better address this. We do this by de-stigmatizing the disease and giving those who struggle with addiction a voice. Collectively, we decided to write these “letters to society” as a way for their voices to be heard and for people to see that they are much more than what society would say about them.”
I encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram as we continue to share our thoughts and practices in the business of Mental Healthcare. If you or someone you love is in need of behavioral treatment of any kind–reach us at 740.354.6685.
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