Education on Addiction to Help Break the Stigma – National Education and Sharing Day on Mar. 23rd
Get (more) Educated.
I was at death’s door when I first got to RES.
Little did I know, they were about to give me my life back and teach priceless lessons in the process.
Recovery is a very educational process.
Going through rehab sometimes feels like trying to get your degree.
Not only do you learn how to live a sober life, you learn a lot about yourself that you probably wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
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Education on addiction is unfortunately not as prevalent in our society as it should be.
We learn the basics of addiction in high school health class, but we don’t go much deeper than that unless we have experienced addiction firsthand.
Most people don’t know what to do when someone they love is struggling with drug or alcohol dependence.
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Unless you’ve had your own experience with addiction, you usually don’t have much input. This is one of the things that need to change for us to break the stigma of addiction. It’s not a bad thing to educate yourself regardless of your sobriety status. Life is a constant opportunity to learn. We learn about all sorts of topics that are foreign to us, so why can’t addiction be a more common topic among non-addicts?
Television programs like ‘Intervention’ and similar shows have helped people have a better understanding of the topic, but a lot of that stuff only shows us a small part of the process. These shows often focus on people in the process of hitting their bottom and only spend a small fraction of time on the actual rehab part. Where are all the shows that focus solely on the recovery part? We are more fascinated watching someone destroy themselves than getting better.
The More We Learn, The Better Our Chances.
When people are educated on the subject of addiction, it’s much easier to have compassion for the issues that addicts face. Most people don’t have much of an understanding of what leads people to addiction and what keeps them addicted. We all have a different story, but a lot of our stories have familiar aspects.
Childhood trauma, abuse, family history, there are a lot of things at play we all have in common. One thing is for sure… We all use our addiction as a cover. We use it as an escape. No matter what it is we are trying to escape, we can never run away far enough.
Those uncomfortable things that we are running from are always in the rearview mirror. They are never too far away, and you never know when they will come right up behind you. It’s usually when you least expect it. There has always been alcoholism in my family. For as long as I can remember, alcohol flowed freely in our household and always more rapidly during holiday get-togethers.
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My parents would openly argue at family functions, and most people didn’t bat an eye. They weren’t the only ones whose drinking affected their relationship. My grandparents, my aunts, uncles, everyone’s relationship was somehow scarred by drinking.
I have a very difficult time going to family functions now that I am sober. I have one sober uncle, but everyone else is still right in the thick of their drinking. I will usually leave functions early to avoid feeling triggered.
This is something that I felt guilty about, especially since everyone would give me a hard time for being the only one not partaking. Since I’ve been at this particular rehab, I’ve learned not to feel bad for taking care of myself. Who knows, I may be planting a small seed of hope in some of my relatives.
Be a teacher
I take a lot of pride in helping educate other people on sobriety. Sober or not, it’s something everyone should know at least a little bit about. There aren’t a lot of families out there with zero addiction issues. No matter who you are or where you come from, you probably know someone who is struggling or has struggled with addiction.
If you aren’t educated on the issue there isn’t much you can offer in the way of advice. That is something we can change if those of us in recovery take it upon ourselves to teach someone.
I try to be an open book. If a family member or friend asks me a question about the topic, ignorant or not, I try to give the best answer I can. I try to be transparent. I also try not to be pushy. We make up our minds. Something I learned early on in this process is that people don’t want to be preached to.
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I try very hard to let people know that I don’t hold myself any higher than anyone else.
I don’t push recovery on people.
What I do let them know is for the people who feel like they need it, it’s a true lifesaver.
Being a good teacher is a valuable asset in recovery.
We are all constantly learning new things about ourselves and new things about each other.
The more we listen to other people’s stories, the more we can use that information to help.
It’s probably my favorite part of my recovery process. Being helpful to others is what keeps me going.
If you apply this attitude to your journey, you may be the reason someone else continues theirs.