Letter to the Editor: Addicts are not “bad” people

To the Editor:

Addiction is a disease that can be hard for the addicted person to explain to their family and friends. Some aspects of addiction are isolation, depression and denial that the dependency exists in the first place.

Addictions and substance abuse disorders still carry too much stigma. There are well-known facts about addiction that scientists agree on. For example, addiction is a disease of the brain. Here are three myths about addiction and recovery that are still very well established in society today:

1. Addicts Are “Bad” People, And They Don’t Deserve To Get Help.
Of course, addicted people aren’t “bad” people, but they are sick, can do “bad” or illegal things, and need help. Many people addicted to drugs don’t see a way out of their predicament. Unfortunately, these people may do desperate things to continue to stay high, and continue to use despite negative consequences.
2. An Addicted Person Chooses To Stay Addicted.
At any given time, a person who isn’t savvy about the facts surrounding addiction and recovery claims that addiction is a choice. This belief is just one thing that can prevent addicted people from getting help. Addiction prevents people from making healthy decisions.
3. People Get Addicted To Just One Thing.

This myth is a common misconception. It’s easy to believe that a person addicted to Oxycontin can still have an alcoholic drink now and then, but this isn’t the case. Cessation of all alcohol and drugs is considered important in recovery.

Addiction is a disease, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you or somebody you care about has been affected by it. To get free from a substance use disorder’s grip, you must quit using and start the road to recovery. Building a new support network and creating new habits is essential to sustaining your life in recovery.

Being in a safe place that also offers a therapeutic environment can make all the difference. If you are ready to stop, call the SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This is a confidential, free, 24 hour a day, seven day a week service for individuals or family members facing mental health or addiction issues. This service provides referrals to various community services and treatment facilities.

If you are having difficulty with an addiction or struggling in recovery and need to talk, I may be reached at gottahavehope38@gmail.com.

Respectfully submitted,
Mark Jacobson,
Certified Peer Support Specialist
Winona, MN

 

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