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The answer is Palm Partners Recovery Center. It’s a proven path to getting sober and staying sober.

Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

4 Questions on Self-Love VS Narcissism

4 Questions of Self-Love VS Narcissism

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Narcissism is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. The “selfie society” that exists in a world of social media has some people saying we are more concerned with ourselves than ever. The new heightened sense of self-promotion causes many to feel we have become less interested in true connection with others. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with healthy self-love. Some may see it as simply embarking on self-exploration and celebration. Others may see it as self-seeking and being conceded. Are you more conscious, or are you pretentious? Are you introspective or disconnected?

At times the distinction becomes blurred, and that might not be your fault. Sometimes others will perceive us differently and it’s not our responsibility to change their minds. Sometimes people are afraid to give themselves the self-love they need because they don’t want to seem self-centered, but isn’t there a strong difference between self-love and narcissism?

True Narcissism

Let us be clear; narcissists seem to love themselves to an extreme, with the exclusion of others. This is often considered as a feature of a mental health disorder and includes an excessive interest in one’s self, especially physical appearances. It is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.

If you were to look up the definition of narcissism, you would probably find it also described as a social or cultural problem. It is a factor in trait theory used in various self-report inventories of personality.

Narcissism is most typically considered an issue in an individual’s or group’s relationships with self and others.

Egocentrism

Let us also be clear that narcissism is not the same as egocentrism. It is true that both egocentrism and narcissism appear comparable. However there is a distinct difference.

Much like a narcissist, a person who is egocentric believes they are the center of attention. However, this individual does not receive gratification by one’s own admiration, as the narcissist does. In other words, the egocentric individual must receive validation and admiration from outside itself, so the self-love aspect is not so much an issue from the egocentric perspective.

Self-Love

Self-love is being more subject to the broad-stroke of “narcissism” over time, but should be viewed in a different light. For example, two forms of narcissism are not considered to be as detrimental:

  • Primary Narcissism

Freud suggested that, simply put, the desire and energy that drives one’s instinct to survive is something he dubbed primary narcissism. This sense of self-preservation is supposedly ingrained in everyone as a sense of self that protects us, without abandoning empathy or loving others.

  • Healthy Self-love

The “healthy narcissist” can be characterized as possessing realistic self-esteem without being cut off from a shared emotional life. This expression of self-love, or “health narcissism,” is about having a honest appraisal of ones worth, and still valuing others.

All of this brings us back to the question; How can we love ourselves in a way that feels good and enhances the quality of our lives, but isn’t narcissistic?

Research finds four consistent differences between healthy self-love and narcissistic love. Take a look at these 4 questions that can help you with self-love vs narcissism.

  1. Do I need to be validated by others?

Narcissists need the validation of others; it is a primary motive for a lot of their actions. A true narcissist craves constant affirmation. They need to be verified by others because they haven’t created a self-sustaining sense of worthiness or self-compassion. They may seem to hold themselves highly, however they have no genuine instinct of high self-regard.

The narcissist will do things to win praise and recognition. They seek materials as tools to measure their own worthiness. Even the people they develop relationships with are possessions they use as a means of validation.

Healthy self-love is fundamentally different in the sense of measuring self-worth. With health self-love, an individual’s internal values are a primary influence of their actions. They behave in a way that is consistent with those values, and these convictions help to sustain their good feelings about themselves.

In other words, basing your self-worth on your beliefs, instead of what others may believe about you, is self-love.

  1. Am I focusing on my appearance or my performance?

This isn’t just for the sake of aesthetics either. It ties right into the last question.

A true narcissist will often make a great actor. They play many parts, such as:

  • Caring friend
  • Devoted lover
  • Good employee

But they are better at keeping up appearances than actually performing the role with expertise and aptitude. Like when an action movie hero does well at looking like they beat up a room full of ninjas, but in reality they have CGI and stunt doubles.

A narcissist doesn’t invest too much emotionally in the actual quality of their performance. They don’t mind how their role as a friend or lover actually impact the other person, they just want to make it look good, especially if other people are looking. It is another form of validation.

People with authentic self-love take real care in doing a good job and taking responsibility for their part in things, particularly in relationships. So it is very acceptable to be concerned with your contribution to relationships and how you impact others, because in a way you earn your own self-love from the way you treat others.

  1. Am I focusing on comparison or compassion?

Another huge piece of this puzzle is comparison. How do you perceive others in contrast to yourself?

Typically, narcissists are not self-loving or secure in their worth. Because of this, they often seek to compare ourselves with others. Now this isn’t especially exclusive to full-blown narcissism, because we all have a tendency to try and measure up.

But the narcissist will thrive on the belief that they are better than, or even the best. We all feel better about ourselves when we are accomplished or exceptional at something, but to require to always outshine others is a little more relevant to narcissism. The focus here isn’t so much on us being able to appreciate our own achievement as much as it is the need for other people to be less. In order for a narcissist to be more, other people have to be beneath them. It isn’t self-worth; it is self-inflation through the dispossession of others.

Healthy self-love and self-esteem is based on believing that we have a number of positive qualities, and that other people have such qualities. It puts us on a more level playing field and allows us to be compassionate whether or not someone is as accomplished in something as we are. So it is OK to excel at something, as long as you don’t make it about other people being less.

  1. Do emotions and attitudes seem “black and white?”

We have mentioned before the real dangers of black and white thinking. In the words of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi,

“Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”

Basically, the issue is that some people only let it be one of two ways. It has to be black or white, no room for grey area or compromise.

Research indicates a narcissists tends to either love or hate things. They don’t to tolerate the middle ground. Usually, something with themselves or others is either preferable and exceptional or totally unacceptable. They are either everything or nothing, instead of just letting it be.

As a result, when we can’t abide our own uncomfortable feelings, we’re more likely to project them onto others. Once we force those feelings onto others we create conflict, isolation, and self-disillusionment.

Healthy self-love allows us to tolerate uncertainty. It is important to have self-love because with a strong sense of self-love we have the ability to experience our own vulnerability. Where a narcissist feels angry or intolerant of their own vulnerability, a healthy, self-loving person will naturally resort to self-compassion. This same compassion for ourselves gives us a chance to feel more connected to others.

So don’t look at self-compassion as “letting yourself off the hook,” look at it as accepting your imperfections with humility.

Recovery is Self-Love

At the end of the day, what is the moral of the story here?

Is it OK to just assume that people who have a high opinion of themselves, who believe in their own capacity to be unique and successful, and who value and respect their own impact on other people should be considered narcissists? Should the term “healthy narcissist” be something we swap for self-love once in a while to consider it as a virtue?

In recovery we hear a lot about how addicts and alcoholics are especially selfish. As often as we are told this, should we also be reminded to use our own nature as selfish people in recovery to shape that sense of self into something more constructive and empowering instead of thinking we need to abandon it completely?

Let us not be so quick to label one another as narcissists, and learn to love ourselves thoroughly as we learn again to love each other.

Mental health and self-esteem is extremely important in regards to addiction recovery. Holistic treatment programs like Palm Partners are specifically designed to address unique issues in unique ways. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

4 Reasons to Keep New Year’s Resolutions in Recovery

4 Reasons to Keep New Year’s Resolutions in Recovery

Author: Justin Mckibben

HELLO 2016!!

Yup… it’s about that time ladies and gentlemen! It’s a New Year… a time to celebrate our successes and remember the times we’ve shared. New Year’s Eve we watch the ball drop, countdown the clock, shoot off the fireworks and prepare for another exciting chapter in life.

Of course there are the “New Year, New Me!” messages you are sure to see all over the place as people set resolutions- some for working out and eating better, others for finding love or a career, my resolution thus far has just been to stay sober another 24 hours- so far, so good.

So why is it so many people set these resolutions and then forget them halfway through February? Some of us will honor this tradition and declare our own New Year’s resolutions to the world… others will resist the urge, brush off the idea and even try to poke fun at it as a pointless exercise- typically the people who gave up on passed resolutions before they even made them.

So we look at these cynics and cross-examine their logic when they ask,

“Why bother to set resolutions if we will probably forget them?”

Resolutions are really just goals we set on January 1st. In recovery we are often told to take it one day at a time, and to accept that we are not in charge of the future… that may be a highly valuable philosophy, but it doesn’t mean setting goals in recovery is wrong. Even in sobriety we are allowed to set standards and achieve the things we strive for. Here are a few reasons why you should keep New Year’s resolutions in recovery.

  1. Stuff Gets Done

When we make a resolution or set goals, and actually put in the effort, they tend to actually get done!

When we put some work into it and actually commit to a resolution, the things we set out to do get done because we actually treat them like goals that need to be accomplished. If you make a resolution in recovery, you should keep it because it gives you some sense of purpose in your actions.

  1. Creates Clarity

Goals provide you with a vision and a direction. In sobriety setting resolutions in recovery can give your road through recovery a few travel destinations. Sure this goal isn’t the end of the journey, but its somewhere to set your sights on.

Resolutions create clarity because they give purpose to actions. Without goals in recovery we risk wasting your resources feeling disorganized and overwhelmed, which can lead to risky behaviors or other bad habits seeking to get outside of self.

In recovery you have an opportunity to reach for things you never thought possible, so set a resolution to see more clearly what you want in your life.

  1. Shows Progress

Setting a resolution itself can show progress for those of us in recovery because it shows us that we are no longer accepting the old self-destructive standards we lived by. Being active and taking initiative shows that we are willing to work for a better life, and having goals and reaching them is a good measurement of where we are headed and how far we have come.

Progress in every facet of life happens when people set, pursue, and achieve goals. “Progress not Perfection,” right?

Plus, when we go to help others who are struggling we can give examples of how we set out to accomplish things in life, and how recovery allowed us to make those dreams happen.

  1. They Give Us Purpose

When I was using and drinking life had no purpose… I get to live my life today with meaning and passion because setting goals helped me find a purpose. A New Year’s resolution may not be the pivotal point of your purpose, but it can reinforce the pattern that fulfills your life in recovery.

Goals give our lives purpose, and purpose is the reason for why we seek any outcome at all in life.

Underneath every resolution is an idea of our true self and what we want out of our lives. Maybe the thing you want isn’t the meaning of your life, but maybe ‘A’ gets you closer to ‘B’ which ultimately opens the door to ‘C’ and that is what you wanted all along.

After all, resolution is a synonym for purpose.

Purpose is what motivates us and moves us to take action. In recovery, having a purpose after living a life of hopelessness and feeling empty can be the difference between staying sober or losing sight of why sobriety matters.

#RecoveryGoals

Remember- the first day of 2016 can be the first day of a whole new life. Realistically, any day can be a new beginning if we choose to make it so. Never forget the power of your purpose, and how putting your drive and determination behind your desires can help move your recovery. Maybe your resolution just has to be to make the choice to take the steps to make a change. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

4 Ways We Can Help Ourselves Be Happy

4 Ways We Can Help Ourselves Be Happy

Author: Justin Mckibben

Last week I wrote a little bit about 4 reasons why we won’t let ourselves be happy and talked about how the pieces of us that refuse to let go, or refuse to embrace, are often a way we self-inflict our own misery and keep ourselves from what we deserve out of life.

Now I want to take a look at ways we can work on allowing the happiness we are all worthy of into our lives.

Again, recovery is all about healing in spite of our past, and about finding how to know ourselves, nurturing that new us and making a new and fulfilled contribution to the world. Having any kind of healthy relationship can be tremendously difficult for an addict, especially having a healthy relationship with ourselves. However, there are simple ideas we can put into action in our own lives that help us be happy.

  1. Face Problems

Problems are a part of the fabric of life; we cannot live without them in a world of duality and diversity. They say variety is the spice of life and without the zest of a few unsavory situations life wouldn’t be nearly as complete. You’re allowed to have problems, and you’re allowed to react to them, but how you react will ultimately have the impact on your happiness.

It is not always easy to know exactly how to do the right thing, the point is to do the utmost best you can and accept the results regardless. I can name more than a few times an outcome made me less than happy, but the simply fact I survived it anyway was enough to be ecstatic over.

If we are honest about the ups and downs, and if we can be honest with our answers to life’s tougher questions, happiness will be more genuine because in the end you are the one person your happiness will depend on.

The pain is real, recovering or not, and the atmosphere engulfing our human experience will expose you to this reality in a lot of very tangible ways… ways many of us in recovery have probably forgotten how to even experience . Mistakes, such as relapse, can happen… but that is okay as long as you look to these experiences as lessons… and actually learn from it.

Funny thing is, what makes you happy is sometimes subject to change, so the pain we experience won’t be the forever-kind-of-feeling we sometimes make it out to be. Sometimes we won’t even know it doesn’t hurt anymore until life makes an example for others out of our growth.

Do not shy away from the problems that you face, because in the end these problems are the soil we plant the seeds of virtue and strength in, and we nurture those seeds with action and principles, which grow into the fruits of our being.

  1. Believe You Deserve It

You are allowed to be happy, and you should know and believe that you deserve it.

Happiness is often referred to as an ‘inside job’ because behind it all the only thing that can truly allow you to be happy is you. Remind yourself as often as you can that your happiness is a priority, and it is not selfish to believe in that.

What point would there be to getting sober if we were condemning ourselves to a desert of misery, only so we could help others drink in all their happiness from the stream of life? We all thirst for that happiness, and you should believe you have the right to experience it. Sure it is important, especially in recovery, to do for others and do so selflessly but we should never cast aside our own sense of self-worth to do so.

If you are waiting for someone else to come into your life and make your happiness mean something for you, you will always be waiting. Once you understand how important your own joy and happiness is, you will be better suited to share it and inspire happiness in others. There is no point in being a martyr to the joys of others if happiness holds no value in your life.

  1. Be Responsible For Your Life

We learn in recovery not to try and control things that are not meant for our control. When it comes to my life in recovery, I try to remind myself that a lot of stuff is just quite simply not my business.

But my life is my business, and for that I am responsible.

You are responsible for your life, no one else is. When it’s over, no one else will be held accountable for how much happiness you allowed yourself to have. So when it comes time to make a change that will impact the degree of happiness you filter into your life, it takes action and accountability. We do have choices to make in our world, and if you make the wrong one once in a while it’s OK, but be willing to be responsible for the good and bad. Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them.

One of the most empowering ways to be responsible for your own life is to live it. Spend your time, talent and energy on the things you love and the people you love most. Feed your prosperity with the passions of your life, do not be the victim of circumstance, because your happiness should not be at the mercy of an ever changing world. Serenity is not always easy to find in the midst of a thunder-storm, but it can be the safest place.

  1. Love

This is the thing we are all made of, and the thing that gives us the most potential to be happy. The problem with most of us is we confuse it for something we have to look outside of ourselves to find, when the most we will ever sustain will come from within.

All the beautiful things that we are; our drive and inspiration, or wisdom and our talent, our passions and opinions are all empowered by this simple and yet infinitely indispensable element. Our happiness survives off this stuff, so why not create it as much as you can in your life?

Love is the essence of all things, and in that respect happiness exists purely through our ability to love. Be it one another, the things we are grateful for, or ourselves. In recovery we can find this a difficult concept to master, but with healing comes emotional sobriety and with that we re-learn how to treat ourselves, and how to treat each other.

Loving yourself is a tremendous feat sometimes, but try to remember that the way you love yourself sets the standard for the love you will accept from those around you, and for the love they will be willing to give you in many instances. Love yourself as much as you do those who you shower with your affections, and cherish who you are!

Being true to yourself and also grateful for the things you already have can provide happiness no one around you will be able to give you. Love is probably the greatest gift we all have, and we have it in unconditional and limitless abundance… share some… smile.

I said it before and I’ll say it again… happiness is what we make of it. Love is a key ingredient, along with acceptance and willingness we can change whatever hand we are dealt. Use every chance you get to help yourself be happy, and take the steps to better yourself on the way. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

4 Plans for Drug Reform from 4 Presidential Candidates

4 Plans for Drug Reform from 4 Presidential Candidates

Author: Justin Mckibben

It’s about that time ladies and gentlemen. Once again we will be voting on a new leader of the free world. With the 2016 around the corner it is time for the presidential campaign season. We have at least 4 serious candidates for the next commander and chief, 3 of which are Republicans, and 1 Democrat that is sure to make waves if elected for various reasons. Each is developing a plan of action for various issues, so considering the state of the nation it only makes sense that one of those be the subject of drug addiction and substance abuse.

Let’s take a closer look at the 4 individuals now, and see what they have in mind for the future of America’s drug policies.

  1. Marco Rubio- Republican Senator from Florida

First let’s just get this one out of the way. If you are about positive advancement in drug reform, you won’t be wearing a button saying “Rubio for President” anytime soon.

Last year there was an article published that described Rubio as:

“casually clinging to the War on Drugs”

This scrutiny was not without substance, as the information was based on an October 2014 Washington Times op-ed, in which he wrote:

“While individuals from a variety of perspectives have made a compelling case that American law has been over-criminalized and over-federalized, reform must come from Congress, not the administration. Also, reform should not begin with careless weakening of drug laws that have done so much to help end the violence and mayhem that plagued American cities in prior decades.”

So what’s wrong with this statement? 2 things.

  1. The first sentence seems to say “it’s not my job to fix this”
  2. The second sentence to say “drug policy doesn’t need reforming anyway.”

He has been an unwavering opponent of marijuana legalization, yet he has been evasive about questions regarding his own drug use. He was once quoted:

“You know why I never answer that question? I’ll tell you why I never answer that question. If I tell you that I haven’t, you won’t believe me. And if I tell you that I did, then kids will look up to me and say, ‘Well, I can smoke marijuana, ‘cause look how he made it. He did all right, so I guess I can do it, too.’”

So instead of being transparent and openly answering the question, he seems to deflect it. So if you are so firm on the idea that drug use (including marijuana) is wrong, why not share your experience on the subject?

  1. Rand Paul- Republican Senator from Kentucky

Rand Paul’s positions on these issues might surprise you, considering he’s undeniably conservative. Then again Rand Paul’s father Ron Paul was a former presidential candidate who was in favor of outright legalization of drugs. However Rand fell a little farther from the tree in the sense that he is not in favor of legalizing all drugs.

Rand Paul does however oppose strict prison sentences for drug crimes. Last year, he sponsored a bill called Reclassification to Ensure Smarter and Equal Treatment (RESET) designed to:

  • Reduced some drug felonies to misdemeanors
  • Eliminate the difference in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine (see #4 Hillary Clinton)

Rand Paul currently cosponsors the REDEEM Act with Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey which if passed would:

  • Raise the age of adult criminal responsibility to 18
  • Restrict the use of solitary confinement of minors
  • Restore food stamp eligibility for nonviolent drug felons
  • Create a possible mechanism for sealing criminal records

Some say these stances won’t please the Republican base during the primaries, and at the same time won’t be enough to win over many Democrats. Still though, REDEEM seems like it has the right idea when it comes to addressing the drug offenders without crippling their future.

  1. Ted Cruz- Republican Senator from Texas

Ted Cruz is another republican with an apparently refreshing view on drug policy reform. Along with Paul Cruz cosponsors the Smarter Sentencing Act. This legislation hopes to roll back mandatory minimum sentences.

Now at one point Cruz criticized President Obama for not enforcing federal marijuana laws when the Obama administration said it would not challenge laws legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington State as long as those states maintain strict rules involving the sale and distribution of the drug. In a 2014 interview Cruz said,

“Now, that may or may not be a good policy, but I would suggest that should concern anyone—it should even concern libertarians who support that policy outcome—because the idea that the president simply says criminal laws that are on the books, we’re going to ignore [them]. That is a very dangerous precedent.”

But with the current campaign it appears Cruz has had a change of heart in regards to marijuana legalization. Cruz now says legal marijuana is states’ rights issue, and back in February, he told Sean Hannity,

“Look, I actually think this is a great embodiment of what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called the ‘laboratories of democracy.’ If the citizens of Colorado decide they want to go down that road, that’s their prerogative. I don’t agree with it, but that’s their right.”

So while he has flipped the script on us, if this is how he really feels than he has become open to the idea that states have the right to make the call themselves and not worrying about heat from the federal level coming down on them.

  1. Hillary Clinton- Democratic Former Senator for New York and Former Secretary of State

Now the Democrat who is already a household name as a former First Lady, former Senator of New York, and former Secretary of State… Hillary Clinton. Clinton has already made a point to show voters she is listening to their concerns about mental health and addiction, and says it is a huge part of her campaign.

Firstly, some have pointed out that the Clintons’ drug policies in the 1990s have made a vast contribution to the current incarceration rate. That being said, Hillary has spoken out against a criminal justice system she calls “out of balance”, and she currently advocates for treatment instead of prison, much like her last run for office in 2007 when Clinton pushed alternatives to incarceration.

During this time there was also on the federal level a 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. Meaning 5 grams of crack cocaine would trigger the same 5-year mandatory minimum sentence as 500 grams of powder cocaine. In 2007 Clinton cosponsored a bill in an effort to eliminate that sentencing disparity. While that legislation didn’t pass, thanks to the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 there is an 18-to-1 sentencing disparity today.

In terms of marijuana legalization Clinton had opposed decriminalization in 2007, has continued expressing interest in further research. That being said she seems to take the same stance as Rand Paul when supporting marijuana legalization at the state level.

General elections are still over a year away, so don’t be surprised when more names pop up on the campaign trail. Either way we can remain hopeful that the subject will stay on how to improve our culture and thus our communities with drug reforms and rehabilitation. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

4 Ways to Fight the Addiction Stigma

4 Ways to Fight the Addiction Stigma

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Disease comes with stigma, there’s no denying that, no matter what brand of ‘unhealthy’ you have. It could be cancer, HIV, or Ebola and the idea of having a disease has always come coupled with a serious burden, which is the world passing judgment on those who suffer. Today mental health disorders, including addiction, carry what is sadly some of the worst stigma. It does not matter whether it is before, during, or after recovery, people who have struggled with addiction face it.

While there are a number of diseases that are stigmatized, mental health and addiction disorders typically carry the most severe prejudice and discrimination in the world today. Despite advances in our understanding of the biological groundwork of addiction as having elements of genetic predisposition, as well as advocacy for the past 80 years, the stigma against mental health and substance use disorders seems to only be getting worse.

Stigma against addicts exists because it is commonly believed that addiction is a choice. Because that makes the MOST sense out of every theory, right? People decide they want to grow up to be helplessly attached to something that eats away at their life, and their body, and pushes everyone and everything away from them. Who wouldn’t want that? The misconception about addictions choosing to have an addiction, and that they have control over their obsession is a cornerstone of the stigma. While it’s true no one is forcing addicts to drink or use drugs, there are fundamental changes in not only reward, but also executive control areas in the brain that make it hard to do what some consider a simple evaluation of the situation and chose differently.

How to erase the stigma of addiction

Even though people are beginning to believe that genetics play a relevant role in both mental health problems and addiction some believe that it is because we know more than ever about the biological underpinnings of addiction that people show less empathy. It’s not news that medical professionals stigmatize mentally ill, and especially, addicted patients. So how do we fight the stigma of addiction? Knowing that sometimes addicts ourselves can be some of our worse offenders.

4 Ways to Fight Stigma of Addiction

  1. Stop using stigmatized language

For those of us struggling with substance abuse, and for those of us recovering from a period of addiction, few things can be worse then trapping ourselves or one another in negative language and perpetuating stereotypes.

When we use words like ‘junkie’ or ‘drunk’ we are engraving those negative images in our own minds for ourselves, as well as re-enforcing that bad opinion in the minds of those on the outside looking in.

  1. Actively work on self-improvement

By trying to over-come our addictions and compulsive behaviors, we make great strides toward being a better example of what someone in recovery is, and what potential we have for improvement.

Working on yourself doesn’t just make your experience in sobriety more enjoyable and bring you more peace of mind to escape the stigma, but it helps raise the bar for those who have such low expectations of addicts or alcoholics, and it gives a light of leadership to those looking for change.

  1. Try to educate others on the disease of addiction

As a kid I remember a show that used to say all the time ‘because knowledge is power’ and it has always sat in the back of my mind. Growing in recovery helped me to understand the limitations, and how self-knowledge won’t fix everything, but knowing is half the battle.

Educating yourself and then others on exactly what is means to truly be an addict or an alcoholic, and letting people understand the disease in its entirety can show people a new perspective.

Respect for the disease can definitely change stigma in someone’s mind.

  1. Share your own story

One of the most powerful strengths that we have in the recovery community is our stories. Our stories are what connects us, what shows our individual path, and can be what drives us forward. Our stories can also be our most powerful tools for helping others.

Telling our stories, sharing our own experiences, and reaching out to help others not only defeats the stigma inside ourselves but it shows others that addicts and alcoholics come in many forms, from all different backgrounds and belief systems.

To prove that things like race, religion, social and economic class, even where you live and the way you dress do NOT make you an addict. And not every addict looks or lives like some would expect.

Stigma and stereotypes drive us apart in so many ways, and it holds too many people back from getting the help they need. Either because they have a false ideal of what an addict is and feel they don’t meet the criteria, or because they are afraid to admit that they suffer from the same disease that is so hideously dramatized in the media. In reality, the more we do to pull back this curtain of expectations, the sooner the world will understand how easily anyone can find themselves sick and suffering. Hopefully by then we will have more than enough resources to help.

For now, those of us who are lucky enough to over-come the stigma do what we can to help everyone we can. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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