Addiction is Nothing to be Ashamed of


After so many years of addiction professionals trying to get the public to understand, people are realizing that addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. People from all walks of life, every race, and every religion struggle with addiction. The reasons for addiction are many, but the outcome is the same:  the only way to get help is to admit you have a problem and get the help you need. If you’re too ashamed to do this, you put your life at risk.

Addiction is a struggle to overcome. The biggest obstacle is the stigma society has placed on addiction. While the tide is slowly shifting, the common view of addiction seems to cast it as a weakness, a lack of willpower or moral fiber. This misconception is so common that even most addicts believe it about themselves and are too ashamed to get help.

The fear of being outed that results from this stigma stops many addicts from seeking the help that they need. This makes recovery more difficult and leads many to spiral out of control. Addicts believe that if they admit their addiction to anyone they will lose everything. Family members will disown them and friends will abandon them. They fear losing their jobs and all relationships that are important to them. They worry that exposing their addiction will bring shame and hardship to everyone around them.

What people don’t realize is that addiction doesn’t just hurt the addict. Even when family members already know about their loved one’s substance abuse, they too may feel forced to keep quiet about it for many of the same reasons. They might be unwilling to acknowledge the problem even when it harms them directly or the person who is addicted. They may even feel that the problem is their fault, that it means they are defective or deficient as a family. Intervention and family guidance is needed at this point. The stress and anxiety of living with an addict becomes a part of their daily lives. To cope with these difficulties, they develop defense mechanisms that allow them to keep functioning. They avoid bringing the problem into the light. Denial and secret keeping will eventually encroach on other aspects of family life as well. Each family member feels isolated and even unable to trust each other.

First and foremost, people need to understand that addiction is a disease, just like any other disease out there. There should be no more shame in becoming addicted as there would be in getting any other illness. The only shame is in not getting help, or helping a friend, family or loved one get help. Shame is not appropriate; it’s simply wrong.

Just like any disease, addiction is not something you can hide from. It will not just go away. Honesty really is the best policy when it comes to recovering from addiction. It starts with being honest and admitting there is a problem. It continues with discussing that problem openly with family and close friends to repair the damage that denial has caused. It means seeking help from a doctor, just as you would with any disease, and getting the professional addiction help needed.

If you know someone who is addicted, it’s important to seek help early. Contact the Arizona Addiction Recovery Center now by visiting or calling 602.346.9130.