It’s no secret that society stigmatizes addiction. And even with evidence to the contrary, the masses continue to think it’s a personal choice rather than a disease.
A large portion of society believes every single addict fits into one mold. They’re often pegged as weak, untrustworthy and undeserving of love and support. In response, society collectively turns them away and writes them off...until addiction hits home and it’s one of their children struggling with chemical dependency.
Suddenly, life gets real and the truth is staring at you through the glossed-over eyes of your own flesh and blood.
Your Own Personal Hell
In the blink of an eye, you’re drowning in the same personal hell that millions of other parents face – one that involves constant lying, manipulation, denial and fear.
What your teen is suffering from is a disease. Despite the public's misguided beliefs, in your own moments of silent suffering, you wonder how anyone on the outside could have been so wrong - how they openly judge and point fingers.
Unfortunately, judgment from others is something the chemically dependent experience on a daily basis - move that does a lot more harm than good. Not only does it make teens feel worse about themselves, it also deflates any hope of beating this disease.
Finding Solid Ground in a Shaky Situation
Judgment also comes from outsiders, particularly from those who are virtually clueless about addiction and whose opinions hold no bearing. After all, it’s impossible to understand what another person is going through if you haven’t personally walked in their shoes. Without knowledge or empathy, it’s easy to say you don’t care - it’s even easier to dismiss the events or situations that laid a foundation for addiction in the first place.
The bottom line is this: It’s not fair to say that everyone who’s struggling with an addiction is a bad person; just because they’re unable to stop using doesn’t mean it’s okay to label them as weak, immoral characters.
Chemical dependency can happen to anyone. It’s so prevalent that, if you don’t already love someone with an addiction, odds are you know someone who does. That’s why it’s so important to express compassion and support, rather than blame and disdain. So the next time you start to judge someone with an addiction, stop and put yourself in their shoes.
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