Issues of drug and alcohol addiction often hide in the shadows of our society. There is a tremendous stigma around substance use disorder and the people who struggle with it. This stigma often pushes marginalized people further from treatment instead of closer to recovery.
Too many people believe that only a certain kind of person can become addicted. They believe that it will not happen to them or that they do not come from the kind of family that could be affected by substance use disorder issues.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In order for our society to take substance use disorder issues seriously and do the hard work necessary to address them, we have to move beyond this belief.
Members of my family have wrestled with addiction and substance use disorder for years. I have seen first hand how difficult it can be for people and their families to try to tackle addiction, but I have also seen how rewarding it can be to help them onto a stable path to recovery. I know that even when it seems bleak there is still a way forward. It may not be easy, but with a supportive network of people around them, people can find their way.
In order to ensure that people know the ways they can be helpful to people with substance use disorder, I hosted a panel discussion called “Our Role in Recovery.” We heard from people who work in recovery counseling, people who have lived experience with substance use disorder and people who have lost loved ones to it. One of the biggest take-aways was the need to reduce the stigma surrounding these issues. I hope that if you know someone with substance use disorder you will direct them toward recovery resources instead of trying to hide them. The Healing Place of Wake County, The Governor’s Institute, Oxford Houses of NC and Heroes in Recovery are all willing and able to help people and families in need of direction.
I know it can be hard to face the realities of substance use disorder, but it is nowhere near as hard as losing a loved one. Let’s all do our part to reduce the stigma by supporting people instead of shaming them.