Suboxone is frowned upon even though it saves lives. Naloxone has a bad rep, even though it reverses fatal overdoses. Sober living facilities are being hated on even though they help people in recovery get back on their feet.
One question: Why all the shade?
Eye of the (Media) Beholder
It’s no secret that the public image of recovery is tainted by societal stigma – mainly due to addiction’s inaccurate portrayal by the media. TV and film often depict those of us with struggling with substance abuse as unemployed, homeless people without family or friends. In some cases, we’re even made out to be dangerous, unpredictable, and responsible. These portrayals only help to create more negative attitudes about recovery.
Displays of discrimination can lead us to think of ourselves as people who are unable to succeed in sobriety…as if we’re undeserving of care.
These feelings lead us to experience shame and low self-esteem, which keeps us from reaching out and seeking help.
Finally, societal stigma can block access to care. In fact, negative stereotypes can make providers less likely to endorse recovery as an outcome of care or refer us to much-needed consultations and follow-up services.
Let’s Alter the Perception
What can be done to counteract this skewed view of addiction recovery? For real change to occur, here’s what has to happen:
- The media must play a role in changing the negative perceptions about substance abuse.
- Accurate and positive messages must become more commonplace.
- Success stories highlighting real people who have struggled with drugs and alcohol need to must be thrust into the spotlight.
Additional Reading: Haters Gonna Hate – But Don’t Let it Derail Your Sobriety
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