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Recovery, Shame, Stigma

On Thursday September 28, 2017 Zero Hour Life Center did our first Peer 2 Peer Support group online. It was something I (the Co-founder) wanted to implement because I felt like there are so many people that want support but sometimes adversity stops them from coming to the meetings.


I think back to just ten months ago I would never have gotten on Facebook and talked live about my addiction and my recovery. But since then, not only have I done my first Facebook Live, but I have also done eight episodes on our podcast channel about my addiction and recovery. Initially I was hesitant because of the shame I was carrying around. I thought about the burden of shame many addicts carry around because addiction makes the prettiest person do some horrible things. The shame I had was holding me back from connecting to the people that really need my encouragement and help. I could remember typing my bio for the website and our Facebook page I was holding back on telling my story and the reason why I wasn’t ready to accept I was an addict.


Shame and Stigma are in the same family. I looked up the definition of both and they are so similar in meaning. Stigma means “a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person” (Oxford University Press, 2017). Shame means “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of foolish behavior” (Oxford University Press, 2017).


I read the definitions and thought about them for a long time. In my opinion, shame and stigma are why we have an issue with addiction. For many recovering addicts it is the shame they feel that makes them reluctant to share their story. Shame makes people afraid of being judged by others. The family members of the recovering addict have been through so much with the addiction that they are ashamed because the family reputation was given a black eye. The only way things can improve and change in the battle of addiction is that we break the shame and stigma and tell our story.


Recovery is so much more than just giving up your addiction and starting your life over. Recovery is also about inspiring others who battle with addiction, who are lost and afraid to take that leap into recovery. I am very proud of myself since having taken leap of faith and telling my story. I will keep telling my story because I want to inspire others and free them from the shame and stigma of addiction. I believe a vital part of recovery is that every recovering addict becomes an advocate of the process. If we just reach one addict at a time we will start to see a change in the stigma in the battle against addiction.


Bibliography

Oxford University Press. (2017, September 30). Shame. Retrieved September 30, 2017, from Oxford Dictionary: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/shame Oxford University Press. (2017, September 30). Stigma. Retrieved September 30, 2017, from Oxford Dictionary: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/stigma


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