Although progress is made everyday in the field of drug addiction, addiction-related stigmas are still prevalent in our society. Even in the face of scientific evidence, some still feel addiction is merely a character flaw, a moral failing and a reflection of the household.
Twisted and Tangled Feelings
Unfortunately, many parents of addicts internalize these stigmas and transform it into fear, anger and shame.
What will the neighbors think? How will our family be treated? Maybe I am a bad parent.
Although parents with a child preparing to attend rehab may feel relief, they may also be consumed with these thoughts – especially if the issue was kept secret. Now, you feel everyone knows the situation and are judge you and your family. You are not alone in this oppressive land of stigma and shame.
Attending a rehab program is a brave, conscientious decision. It is not an admittance of failure – not for the addict and not for the family.
Searching for Relief
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million people over 12 years of age may need professional assistance with drug and alcohol abuse. This is nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population. Of this number, only 9.5 percent actually seek professional assistance.
Can you imagine stigmatizing that percentage of the population for any other reason? So why do we allow addiction to shame people and families into silence?
To alleviate feelings of shame, parents must understand that seeking treatment is a proactive act compassion and reasonable response to a child in need.
Curing the Shame Sickness
In addition, parents must also understand that guilt, remorse, and shame are very raw emotions for a child in early recovery. Once the shroud of intoxication is lifted, addicts feel these emotions strongly – and with a new sense of accountability. It is also important to focus on the child’s health and sobriety, rather than allowing him to dwell in feelings of shame. As a parent, you can aid in your child’s ongoing recovery by removing feelings of shame from the household.
Shame-inducing stigmas are an emotionally tolling aspect of addiction. However, other parents are walking the same path to recovery in this same land of stigma and shame as you are. For additional and ongoing help, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon provide excellent road maps and support for this walk, helping many parents find a way out of the shame and into the light.
Learn more about getting help for yourself and an addicted family member.
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