Monday, June 24, 2013

Stereotypes: Addicts, Alcoholics, & Prescription Drug Abusers


By
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Lonely.  Loser.  Good-for-nothing.  Lazy.  Apathetic.  Stupid.  Ignorant.  No good such-and-such.  Selfish.   Uneducated.  Poor.  Black.  White-Trash.  Failure.  Sound familiar?  That is the sound of harsh words that hurt broken people.  

Stereotypes are not a new issue for us humans to deal with on a day-to-day basis.  People are judged based on all sorts of criteria:  height, weight, hair color, sexual orientation, nationality, race, gender, religion, non-religion, education, lack thereof, and the list goes on.  None, of course, hit quite as hard though as ones associated with being an addict or an alcoholic.  

To be sure, society has made great strides from the 1930's when Alcoholics Anonymous first began it's meetings often in clandestine places so as to not be 'exposed' by the 'prim and proper' people of the time.  Now, it is much more common for people to admit they have a substance abuse problem and to go get help for it much like they would if they had pneumonia or chicken pox.  

However, stereotypes still abound.  One of the most common stereotypes about addicts and alcoholics is that they are just plain stupid because of their destructive choices.  What is often misunderstood is the fact that most addicts are longing to be free from their addiction and hate what it has done, is doing, and will do if they continue down the path they are on.  

Another common misconception and stereotype is often applied to people struggling with  prescription drug abuse and chronic pain medications.  When people hear that someone has gotten hooked on pain pills, they usually assume the worst and think the person is using just because they're like all recreational drug users and the pain is just an excuse.  The truth is people do not set out to use drugs and/or alcohol to destroy their lives.  It just isn't what people plan on doing.  To be sure, there are outliers for everything and exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking, people do not choose self-destruction just for fun.  This does not mean that when people use drugs and alcohol and act in harmful ways that it is ok or less of an issue because they are addicted.  As a matter of fact, the opposite is true, because they are addicted, they're behavior must change for all involved. 

At The Coleman Institute, everyone matters to us.  While our primary objective is to help people get clean and stay clean from drugs and alcohol, we also want to change society's perceptions and stereotypes about alcoholics, drug addicts, and those addicted to chronic pain medications.  If you or someone you love is struggling to get clean and stay clean, you're not alone.  We're here for you.  Please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  Our goal is make you feel at home in a safe, secure, and non-judgmental environment while you detox and begin your new life clean and sober! 

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