You have undoubtedly heard the different things people say about addicts. It is possible that before you or a family member developed an addiction, you may have thought them yourself: “People with addictions are lazy.” “People with addictions are weak.” “People with addictions are hopeless.” Unsurprisingly, almost all the stereotypes you hear about addicts are negative. These broad generalizations and addiction stigmas are not only just false but they are damaging to the recovery of addicts and can be harmful in many ways. There are a lot of misconceptions about addictions and those who struggle with drug or alcohol abuse. You rarely hear about addicts being described in a positive light, even when an individual makes the bold and admirable decision to get help for their problem. This negative labeling can hinder the progress of people in recovery, and give them negative feelings about themselves that can lead to relapse. Most importantly, these stereotypes are false. Individuals suffering from addiction do not choose addiction. Read on to learn more about addiction stigmas in order to understand the difficult struggles that addicts face.
What Do People Think of Addicts?
Why do these negative stereotypes of addiction persist? It is partially out of ignorance. If you have not had first-hand experiences with addiction, it is easy to believe what you see in the media or hear from other people. After all, how often do you see a TV or movie character who suffers from drug or alcohol addiction and is painted as an utter failure? It happens all the time. Here are just a few examples:
- Peter Russo from “House of Cards,” portrayed as a weak-minded Congressman
- Lucille Bluth from “Arrested Development,” portrayed as a lazy rich woman
- Seth Rogen in multiple movies portrayed as a hopeless pothead
It is not at all uncommon to see these inaccurate portrayals in popular culture. This is one of the reasons why these character traits are given to real-life addicts as well. In order to understand what an addict really is like and what they go through, we must look outside of the examples we see in the media and start understanding real-life examples of addiction.
Overcoming Addiction Stigmas
Addiction in real-life is vastly different than how the media portrays it. In real life, individuals struggling with alcohol and drug addiction are no lazier than anyone else. In most cases, they are good, loving people who happen to need assistance with a problem that is threatening their lives. They are working hard to combat an addiction that overtakes their mind and life. Addiction is not a choice. Just like you cannot choose to be born with blue or brown eyes, you cannot choose to struggle with addiction or not. Anyone who has witnessed an addict in the recovery process knows that addicts are not lazy. The recovery process is extremely challenging and requires a lot of dedication. Addicts are definitely not weak and not hopeless as the media often depicts them to be. Through confronting their addiction, addicts have a depth of courage few can ever understand. They also develop true empathy for others who have suffered the ravages of disease. At The Ranch PA, we understand the frustration and disappointment that those struggling with alcohol or drug abuse feel when other people judge them based on their addiction or addiction stigmas. We strive to provide education that can show families and friends the truth about addiction. Contact us at 717.969.9126 today to learn more about the road to recovery. (photo via)