People have opinions about all sorts of societal issues, challenges and problems. Addiction is one that is highly charged with negativity, especially with the opioid crisis careening across the country. Addiction can kill people, ruin their lives and those of their families. Paychecks are squandered for six packs, pints and drugs. Those looking at it from the outside and from the firsthand family experiences may judge those with substance abuse addiction as losers and good-for-nothings. They charge, if people wanted to stop they could, and, with all the warnings out there, they are just plain stupid to pick up in the first place.
You can spend time feeling badly or ashamed when you hear such vehemence. You can even understand in part why some may feel this way. However, when you got sober you learned about the disease of denial. You learned what chemicals and alcohol do to your brain, and why it’s so hard to stop abusing your body. Unless the greater public educates themselves, chances are they aren’t going to cut you any slack. You may have a better chance getting through to family and friends about why you became addicted.
People who have gone through something traumatic or very difficult, like you, can show greater empathy. No one knows what it’s like to lose a parent unless they’ve experienced it themselves. The same holds true for addiction. So when you hear someone maligning an alcoholic or an addict, it’s important to put these views into perspective. Even if you inform a friend of family member what you’ve been through while you were actively in addiction, and what you are going through now, you may experience a backlash.
It is possible that experiencing a lack of empathy from a friend may change with time. They may hear you and understand, but not be at a point where they can forgive you or really engage with the empathetic part of themselves. It’s wise not to try and debate someone about addiction. While you may feel hurt that they don’t want to engage with you, you could use the opportunity to turn the table and carry empathy for them in your heart.
People in AA have said they are glad that they are an alcoholic, not because of the destruction to their lives and those around them, but what comes from gaining sobriety and living a sober life. The range of feelings explored, the suggestions, even the slogans all add up to helping a person change and become their highest and best.
Cypress Lakes Lodge offers treatment for addiction in a peaceful, remote, oxygen-rich environment. The program encompasses holistic addiction therapy for the mind, body, and soul. The focus is on physical, mental, and emotional well-being by generating the balance of life-enriching treatment, wellness, and healthy, sober, sustainable relationships. Call us to get started: 409-331-2204