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When Addicts Suffer, So Do Families; Preach Support, Not Judgement

May 26, 2017
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An addiction is often thought as something that only a single individual has to go through, in the sense that they are isolated in their inability to remove themselves from the environment that is causing them to abuse substances. However, a closer look at the process that leads to an addiction shows that it isn’t the addict alone that suffers, but also their families. And perhaps even more devastating are the statistics that show families staying quite, instead of preaching support and encouragement. So the question remains, why does this happen, and what can be done to encourage families to open up about what they are going through, so that more people can be inspired by their journey instead of feeling isolated in their abuse.

Why Silence Prevails When Instead, Families Should Speak Up

It is undeniable that there is still a stigma involved when it comes to talking about any kind of addiction. Families tend to stay quiet because they are under the constant pressure of having to show others around them that their household is functional, adheres to the rules of society, and that it hasn’t failed. But the truth is that all families have moments of failure and defeat, and it’s weird to think how much more could be accomplished in treating those moments of negativity if the rest of the world wasn’t so quick to judge people for their actions.

On one hand, it is understandable to empathise with a mother who needs to deal with the judgement of her friends because of her son’s habit of abuse. But because there is such a small number of people who actually want to help or offer any kind of support, families are left to deal with their own problems the only way they know how – in silence, through arguments, and in fear of being excluded from society.

The Effects of Silence on Families and Addicts

1. The problem remains hidden for too long

If families and addicts are afraid to talk to their loved ones because they feel that they will be instantly misunderstood and judged they will remain quiet; and with their silence, their addiction will prolong for longer than it should.

2. Lack of Knowledge About Recovery Worsens the Situation

Rehab centers are rarely mentioned in conversation because there is still a stigma connected to them as places that house people with lack of self-control. Far from this very inaccurate portrayal, rehab centers are actually the only source of recovery that is available in our modern age. With professional doctors, and a safe, welcoming environment, rehab centers provide addicts with the time and space that they crucially need in order to recover and continue with their lives. Many campaigns have been made to bring this point across, but it is still greatly up to the families to educate themselves about rehab centers and everything that they have to offer, so that the problem of addiction doesn’t persist.

3. Society Cannot Be Considered the Most Important Source of Happiness

Although it cannot be denied that people feel great pressure and responsibility towards their society, it cannot be the most important source of their happiness or feeling of acceptance. Because both the addict and their family are affected by the addiction, the only way to deal with it is to sit down as a team and accept the situation together. The outside world will always have something to say, but that doesn’t mean that what it says is always right, or even kind hearted. The moment a family is able to open up about what they are going through is the same moment when serious recovery can begin.

Miramar created an infographic that breaks down the stages and effects of an addiction, and what needs to be done in order to reach a successful goal of recovery. It is not an easy process, nor something that any individual can do on their own. Its stages are complex, often involve relapse, depression, and anxiety, and above all, require all the support in the world in order to complete.

Preach Support, Not Judgement

If you want to make a true difference to the way that addictions are seen and handled, then preach support, not judgement. Understand that an addiction is medically considered a health problem and not free choice. As many have mentioned, it may be a choice the first time someone abuses, but what follows is a life that no one would wish for themselves.

When you find yourself in a situation where people are demeaning addicts, stand up for them, show your support, and try to educate people to stop judging others so easily. If you want to become part of a change in thought, you need to start with yourself. There are many families out there who need your support and would be incredibly grateful for it.

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