Tag Archives: Progress

Resentment and Anger

“A former inmate of a Nazi concentration camp was visiting a friend who had shared the ordeal with him.
“Have you forgiven the Nazis?” he asked his friend.
“Yes.”
“Well, I haven’t. I’m still consumed with hatred for them.”
“In that case,” said his friend gently, “they still have you in prison.”

Resentment is the poison of the spiritual life. The word means, literally, “feeling again,” in the sense of “feeling backward”: the emphasis is on a clinging to the past; a harping on it that becomes mired in it. Resentment goes over and over an old injury: revisiting the hurt, the powerlessness, the rage, the fear, the feeling of being wronged. Scraping the scab off the wound, resentment relishes anew its pain; it is the particular kind of memory that reinforces the vision of self-as-victim. This vision is the antithesis of spirituality, for spirituality begins with recognition of our own imperfection. Focusing on the past faults and failings of others blinds us to reality of our own present defects and shortcomings.

It was this peril—the danger of cutting ourselves off from the spiritual resources that offer the only possible healing of our own imperfection—which the desert genius Ponticus cautioned against in explaining the proper use of anger. He noted that resentment—clinging to misdirected anger—stifled spiritual life by stealing the very tools of virtue:

We need to reclaim anger for its proper purpose. It is always a waste of good anger to get annoyed with other human beings…. What the ascetic needs to do is to focus his attention … on the fact that he is annoyed. Instead of seeing some other human being angrily, he tries to see his own anger. He can then begin to fight against it.

Anger can be an important part of the process, the journey that is the construction and discovery of our spiritual home. But resentment has capacity to stop that process, to abort that journey. The anger that metamorphoses into resentment isolates us, creating the illusion that the world has stopped in its tracks and has come to focus entirely upon our hurts, our desires, our victimhood. In resentment there is no chance of release but only imprisonment in a painful past and the gradual stifling of all serenity, indeed, of all humanity. “If a man removes his bitterness, he becomes human; otherwise he becomes an animal,” observed one Sufi teacher”

Resentment unites anger, fear, and sadness in a kind of closed-circle, scissors-paper-rock game. In absence of resentment, anger, fear, and sadness tend to heal each other. Anger can act like a scissors, cutting through fear—the fear that like an enveloping shroud wraps itself around and threatens to smother the rock that is sadness. But that very sadness, which rises from realization of our own transience and the ultimate futility of our human efforts to control, is the only tool we have to blunt anger—to forestall the resentment that anger becomes if nourished even after our fears have been quelled.

Excerpt From: Ernest Kurtz & Katherine Ketcham. “The Spirituality of Imperfection.”

Anger, Anxiety, Resentment, Stress and Basic Humanity

by Steven Stosny, Ph. D.
Anger In The Entitlement Age

After 30 years of work on problems of anger, resentment, anxiety, and stress, and half a dozen books on the subject, I still get sarcastic emails:
“I want to manage anger, anxiety, and stress, but I’m not interested in becoming a ‘better person’.”
Let me be very clear. Your chances of consistently managing anger, anxiety, resentment, and stress, without becoming a better person, are practically zero.
By the time we’re adults, most anger, resentment, anxiety, and reactions to stress are conditioned responses, usually caused by precipitous drops in self-value. That is, we feel devalued. To change conditioned responses, we must develop new conditioned responses, for example, conditioning behaviors that raise self-value to occur automatically when self-value declines. CompassionPower has techniques that, with practice, will build more beneficial conditioned responses. However, those won’t be enough. The only significant and lasting improvement in life and relationships results from becoming “a better person.” We become better persons by staying in touch with basic humanity, the survival-based capacity for interest in the well-being of others.
Basic Humanity and Survival of the Species
Early humans could not have survived competition from more plentiful and powerful predators without banding together in emotionally-bonded social units to defend and hunt collectively. Small, emotionally-bonded, cooperative communities became the natural order of human social organization. We’re so dependent on the consideration and cooperation of others that we condemn even minor deviations from them by other people, while ignoring or rationalizing our own lapse of compassion and cooperation. The “out-group” phenomenon, instrumental in racism, rises from the fear that “they” won’t be compassionate or cooperative.
Basic Humanity as Motivation
More important as a motivation than a feeling, basic humanity motivates respectful, helpful, valuing, nurturing, protective, and altruistic behaviors. In adversity it motivates sacrifice. In emergency it motivates rescue.
A Condition for Personal Growth
Basic humanity allows us to grow beyond the limitations of personal experience and prejudice. If out of touch with basic humanity for too long, we become locked in a prison of the self. The sense of self grows fragile, in constant need of validation by others, intolerant of differences, resentful, anxious, or angry. Other people matter only to the extent that they validate our (inherently biased) experience. We feel less humane.
In touch with basic humanity, we become smarter about the world around us and our relationship to it. There’s an intrinsic reward for this increase in vision; the more in touch with basic humanity, the more humane we feel.
The Prominent Emotions of Basic Humanity
Compassion – motivation to help relieve pain, suffering, discomfort, or hardship.
Kindness – motivation to help others be well.
Guilt – motivation to be true to personal values and community standards.
Shame – motivation to succeed or compensate.
Anxiety – motivation to avoid exposure to guilt or shame.
Violations of basic humanity automatically stimulate guilt, shame, or anxiety, to motivate humane behavior. But that natural motivation is subverted by the toddler coping mechanisms:
Blame, denial, avoidance.
Yes, these ways of coping begin in toddlerhood. Ask a two-year-old how the toy came to be broken, you’ll likely hear:
“He/she did it.” Or, “I don’t know.” Or the kid is preoccupied, ignoring you, or hiding.
Toddler coping mechanisms invoke the anger-resentment formula:
Anger = vulnerable feeling (guilt, shame, anxiety, sadness) + blame
Resentment = vulnerable feeling + blame, denial, or avoidance.
Blame, denial, and avoidance cut us off from basic humanity, which is why, to consistently manage anger, resentment, anxiety, and stress, we must become better persons.
The Modern Paradox of Basic Humanity
In general, cultures are more humane now than ever before in human history. (For example, see Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.) So why is it so hard for individuals to stay in touch with basic humanity?
The answer is simple: there are so many of us, and we’re all different. Basic humanity is easier for individuals to maintain in smaller communities of people who seem to be alike. The mammalian brain, a better safe-than-sorry organism, distrusts differences. The human bias is to distrust people who look different, believe different things, have different values. Yet our lives are clearly enriched by differences; sameness is boring, while appreciation of differences yields intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth.
How to Maintain Basic Humanity in Diverse Cultures
• Accept the complexity of human beings. When you’re sure you understand someone, you’re most likely oversimplifying, based on superficial observations through inherently biased lenses.
• Appreciate as many differences as you can; tolerate the ones you can’t appreciate.
• Focus on categories of values rather than specific values.
We tend to make invidious, largely error-prone judgments about people whose values are different. To obviate this unfortunate tendency, we must appreciate what we share with most others, value categories. The major value categories, which anthropological evidence suggests have been important to humans since our earliest time on the planet, are:
• The ability to form and maintain emotional bonds
• A sense of spirituality (desire for connection with something larger than the self)
• A sense of community (identification with or connection to a group of people)
• Appreciation of natural and creative beauty.
What makes me like myself better?
In general, feelings are not a good guide for becoming a better person, as they are always derived from past experience and acting on them runs the risk of repeating the same mistakes over and over. An exception lies in which behaviors or attitudes produce more positive feelings about the self.
Will I like myself better focused on:
How my values differ from someone else’s?
How the categories of our values are similar?
Do I like myself better:
When I’m devaluing other people?
When I’m in touch with basic humanity?

About the Author

Steven Stosny, Ph.D., treats people for anger and relationship problems. His recent books include How to Improve your Marriage without Talking about It and Love Without Hurt.

In Print:
Soar Above: How to Use the Most Profound Part of Your Brain Under Any Kind of Stress

Online:
Compassion Power

Website Link:
https://www-psychologytoday-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201708/anger-anxiety-resentment-stress-and-basic-humanity?amp

Self Compassion-Heal Yourself

by Kristin Meekhof* EDITED
After a loss in your life because of death, a breakup or even giving up your addiction there is pain. Your level, including anxiety, may actually increase as time passes because you are coming to terms with all that is broken. Unfortunately, a reboot isn’t available. The life you once had no longer exists. It is important to feel self compassion – heal yourself.
In understanding grief or loss, it is important to understand that healing doesn’t occur in one fell swoop. For some, there is much that waits to be healed. In addition, it is not unusual to feel anxiety, fear, doubt, anger and frustration. When working with these feelings associated with loss, practicing self compassion can assuage some of the emotional pain. For the purpose of this piece, I am defining self compassion as this: the act of practicing loving kindness both in words and actions with the intent to heal one’s pain.
Five Ways To Practice Self Compassion After Loss:
1. Journal Writing: This technique allows you to become transparent with yourself and show your deepest fears. It is difficult to heal that which you hide from yourself. Keeping a journal allows you to write the unspeakable. When you look over your journal entries, see the words you use to describe yourself. Take notice if you are overly critical with yourself.
2. Soften The Critical Inner Voice: Speaking to yourself with a harsh and cruel tone shapes the way you think and feel. Your grief can be overwhelming at times, so be gentle with your words. You don’t heal any faster with negative thinking.
3. Forgive Yourself: Mistakes both big and small happen. Beating yourself up isn’t going to change the past or help you cope better. And if you can’t forgive yourself for everything, then try with a small piece and forgive yourself for this.
4. Make Modifications: After a loss, you are not 100 percent. Instead of trying to do everything as you did before, go ahead and make small changes to your daily tasks and schedule. For example, you may still go to a work event, but instead of being the last one to leave you decide to leave early. It is okay to make other adjustments as well. You may not have the energy to clean your entire home at once, so you decide to break it down into small tasks and do it over a period.
5. Reach out: Grief is not a D.I.Y (do-it-yourself) situation. This means that you may need to swallow your pride and ask for help with plumbing, childcare. While you might think others should be at your doorstep volunteering to pitch in, this may not happen. Asking for help can save you a great deal of extra stress and frustration. You may also need to seek professional mental health treatment to help you cope with your bereavement.
Remember that practicing self compassion isn’t natural post loss. Unfortunately, there is not a set time frame for recovery. Your life sustained a severe complex fracture. Give yourself permission to be sympathetic to your own pain. Give yourself grace.

Self Worth


Author Unknown

I used to believe I was not worthy of happiness. I believed the first person that told me that. It became a subconscious mantra to myself. It defined the young woman I was I hid behind a mask pretending I was in control and I was “OK”. I ran from even looking at myself in the mirror because I had defined myself as less than. It was one of the most exhausting, debilitating, saddest times in my life. Using and drinking made me feel numb and gave me liquid courage, which was actually more, fear and pain. I didn’t know it at the time I just thought it was a fast and easy remedy. It was until it almost became my demise. It was then I decided I could no longer feel this way again. I didn’t know if I could recover but I had never gave it a true shot. I was truly scared to find out who I was. The REAL ME!. I must wholeheartedly say I’m grateful not only that I have given myself a chance at a beautiful life but I too was beautiful with every imperfection. I forgave my pain and what wreckage that came with. We all deserve to recover! I’m recovering and I’m the Best person I can be in a daily basis. Not perfect but better than yesterday

All Humans Unalienable Rights

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

I have the right to be treated with respect.
I have the right to say no and not feel guilty.
I have the right to feel and express my feelings.
I have the right to change my mind.
I have the right to ask for what I want.
I have the right to express myself openly without concern for my well-being.
I have the right to move freely within my country not causing harm to others.
I have the right toattitudeiseverything make decisions concerning my health and my body.
I have the right to feel good about myself.
I have the right to behave in ways that promote my dignity, self-respect and self esteem as long as others are not violated or impacted negatively.

Finding The Right Sober Living House

Author Unknown

Sober living facilities are needed to provide a supporting and pro-active healthy transition, allowing you to leave the safety of rehab and enter a less-restrictive living environment while maintaining a focus on recovery. Residents enjoy a less structured atmosphere while developing the tools and skills to sustain sobriety in the “real world.”

While there are many sober living facilities in Florida, you need to make sure the home you choose offers the highest level of care, qualities, and features that support recovery. You should never commit to living at a sober living home without visiting and talking with the owners and residents.

Here are the top five qualities you’ll want to look for in a sober living house:

#1 FARR Certified Residence

Picking a FARR certified residence guarantees that you are in the best possible environment that is regulated with the highest standards. This is a critical decision that affects your recovery. You are faced with an overwhelming amount of decisions each day; many affect your sobriety. You need to know the sober living has a proven structure to assist and support recovery. That’s why it’s so important to find a sober living home that implements a higher level of care…it should also implement rules and regulations, such as mandated curfews and a zero-tolerance drug-free environment.

#2 Safety

Being in a safe environment is an absolute necessity. Look for things like; 24/7 staff, if the entire staff is trained in CPR, do they have an emergency kit in case of an overdose, and a protocol for emergencies. What steps and measures do they have to absolutely make sure there are no drugs or alcohol on the premises? Is there a zero tolerance for possession and use of alcohol and drugs? Check out and speak to the people currently living in a sober living facility. Ask them about the technology and safety measures used by the facility.

#3 Connecting Atmosphere

The camaraderie, atmosphere, mood, energy, and vibe at the sober living house with its current residents are very important. During your tour ask to speak with the current residents, they will be valuable in your decision to pick the right place for you. What types of activities are there to help you develop new skills; assistance with job search, better eating habits, health and fitness. Make sure you feel a positive vibe; your gut will tell you if it is the right place for you.

#4 Supports and Assists Recovery

A solid support system is crucial for anyone in recovery. 12 step recovery is not for everyone, however the sober living should have other actions on and off the property in place like; relapse prevention, AA, NA, and counseling to assist you in recovery. When evaluating a sober living support team, it’s important to find a staff that truly cares about you and your success…but you also want a staff that’s unafraid to enforce necessary rules and regulations.

Everyone’s recovery path is different and proceeds at different paces, however individualized recovery plans are essential for staying sober. The employees should be professional, and be there to keep you on the road to recovery. They should be encouraging 12 step, AA, NA meetings or a support system that fosters sobriety. There should also be some sort of drug testing policy in effect.

#5 Take Responsibility; Own It

Remember, you must own your sobriety. That means that you may not always like following rules and regulations like a curfew, structured events, meetings, etc. You must be willing to do the difficult things to maintain sobriety. The sober living home should challenge you to be able to make that step to be fully functional on your own.

 

Beyond Sober by Stephen Doty

Published on Mar 29, 2014

Before you go to AA or therapy, try to quit on your own with this method. It contains 12 reminders for staying sober. It has already worked for others. You will go to a place where the use of alcohol has no appeal or place in your life, so it ceases to be an issue. You will move ‘beyond sober.’

Join others who have simply quit and are glad of it: Al Pacino, Bas Rutten, Chris Weidman, Gary Oldman, Joe Namath, Robert Downey, Jr., Jada Pinkett Smith, Joe Walsh, Donald Trump, and the millionaire DJ called Avicii (Tim Bergling) quit before the age of 25.

This video is designed to be a reminder, to watch once a week or so, to keep you on track. Robin Williams went off track, for example, after he quit initially. He was not ‘beyond sober,’ but you can be: a place where alcohol is no more tempting that a bottle of bleach or any cleaning product under the sink.

Conventional treatment by alcohol-addiction counselors is marred by widespread “myths,” as exposed by a professor of psychiatry at Stanford recently who calls himself an “addiction-treatment professional” too, so he knows it from inside the system. He says these myths include (1) that addiction is a “brain disease” (2) that drinkers have “no capacity for self-control” and (3) that “Among the most enduring of these myths is the idea that no one can recover from a drinking problem without our help… National research surveys have shown repeatedly that most people who resolve a drinking problem never work with a professional.” -Dr. Keith Humphreys WSJ 15 Aug 2015: C3.

So be suspect of counselors who just repeat second-hand opinions that they memorize. They may mean well, but they have no real knowledge of what they say whenever they repeat such myths. This video was based on actual experience, by contrast, with no esteem for any of those three myths. The touchstone for this video is the facts of actual experience.

“The Biology of Desire,” by neuroscientist Marc Lewis, was released since this video was made. He agrees that “addiction” is a bad label, since drug use is really just the normal process of “habit formation.” Just as those habits are learned, others may be learned to take their place. He gives examples of people who have beaten addictions to drugs through new habit formations and identities. The book was reviewed in WSJ 7/22/15: A13. The words addiction and disease are misbegotten, misconceived, misleading and tossed around by mindless imitation, despite being enablers for drinkers who use them as a shield – “It’s an addiction, a disease.” Ask what purpose that serves in the dialogue? It is designed to absolve them of all responsibility for their habit and to ask you not to blame them for continuing to drink forever. It is an excuse, a lame excuse, founded in bad words for the facts. Don’t play their cultist, dogmatic game. Drinking is a habit that can be changed by adopting new habits.

Regarding drugs that may help you, the Betty Ford Clinic now uses naltrexone (Vivitrol) and acamprosate (Campral). Some doctors also recommend varenicline (Chantix) and disulfiram (Anatabuse). These pills have various effects on various people.

Find the video on YouTube.com Titled Beyond Sober

Pilgrim’s Progress

Excerpt from “The Spirituality of Imperfection” by Ernest Kurtz

The classic literature on spirituality suggests a more ancient image for the spiritual life-that of building, in which our life’s time is occupied in the construction of a spiritual edifice, a kind of “home.” The rich metaphor of architecture offers several advantages. It invites thinking in terms of tools, materials, and choices: Which tools, which materials do we choose to use in shaping our spiritual abode? Building also requires a plan, or at least planning, and so thinking-how and what one chooses to see-makes a difference to the outcome. And finally, although the task of construction is laborious, mistakes can be undone, and what is learned from them can be used to improve the structure as a whole.

While both growth and building add useful shades of meaning to the experience of spirituality, the spirituality of imperfection offers an alternative image for the spiritual life: that of journey. And the practice of storytelling brings the metaphor of journey to life, for the narrative format of “what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now” suggests the particular kind of journey that is a pilgrimage. That “plot” bestows on the storyteller the “identity” revealed by the story, the identity of the kind of “journeyer” who is a pilgrim.

The pilgrimage metaphor conveys spirituality’s open-endedness by reinforcing the essential distinction between confident certainty and the mysteries of uncertainty. A pilgrimage involves not a settled and determined lockstep march to a fixed point, but a winding, turning, looping, crisscrossing, occasionally backtracking peregrination-the ancient name for “pilgrimage” that conveys its wandering essence. It is no accident that Bill Wilson’s favorite image, repeated literally thousands of times in letters to people who sought his advice, depicted sobriety as “a kind of Pilgrim’s Progress.” “We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection,” reminds the A.A. Big Book.

The paramount discovery gradually dawns as the pilgrimage continues-the realization that the ultimate goal you seek is not some reality “out there,” but the awakening of an identity that lies within.

“Our destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things,” writer Henry Miller noted. Such a destination fits T. S. Eliot’s description in concluding Little Gidding, “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

The goal of the pilgrimage that is spirituality is, simply, to keep moving-spiritually–one step at a time. Or as Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.”

 

Does Childhood Trauma Lead to Addiction?

Healing
Healing process of trauma and addiction

by Lyle Fried
It would be nice if humans came equipped with diagnostic sensors that could immediately pinpoint the root of any condition we were struggling with —to be able to see into a person’s timeline and say, “There it is. Right there. That’s where addiction began.”
Unfortunately, it takes many of us years, even decades, to uncover enough of the pain to understand why our journey took the turns it did. No one wakes up and decides to become an addict. But somewhere on the timeline of our lives, many addicts have experienced trauma points. This trauma awakens the desire (either conscious or unconscious) for what all trauma survivors long for: control and safety.
At the core of addiction is the search for positive outcomes —such as a brief reprieve from fear or an escape from overwhelming memories. In order for true and lasting recovery to take place, a certain level of awareness, acceptance and healing must take place.
What is Trauma?
Research proves that trauma can activate survival oriented behaviors that lead to addiction. It can manifest as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, overeating, compulsive sexual behavior and an entire list of other addictions.
But what exactly IS trauma?
The Office of Behavioral Healthcare Equity at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines trauma as a stress that “causes physical or emotional harm from which you cannot remove yourself.”
It can take many forms: abuse, neglect, a frightening experience, bullying, a car accident, a sudden life change (divorce), death of a family member or friend, witnessing an act of violence, and many others. The trauma point can spark feelings of intense fear or helplessness, which can lead to long-term battles with anxiety, depression, and addictive or impulsive behaviors.
This is where co-existing disorders come into play in the treatment of addiction. They are often connected.
Trauma Linked to Substance Abuse
Is trauma linked to substance abuse? Numerous research studies point to “yes,” including The Adverse Childhood Experiences study, which compiled data from over 17,000 participants. The findings revealed that physical abuse, verbal abuse, neglect, domestic violence, loss of a parent, or having a parent who is addicted or mentally ill greatly increased the likelihood of addiction in the individual.
Here’s the breakdown in numbers:
Physical Abuse
General Population: 8.4%
Alcoholic Males: 24%
Alcoholic Females: 33%
Sexual Abuse
General Population: 6%
Alcoholic Males: 12%
Alcoholic Females: 49%
The likelihood for addiction also increases with the amount of trauma —if the stress was ongoing, for example, as opposed to being an isolated incident.
The study revealed that a child with four or more adverse childhood experiences is five times more likely to become an alcoholic and 60 percent more likely to become obese. Men with four or more childhood trauma points are 46 percent more likely to become IV drug users.
…46 percent.
That number is staggering.
The research also found that the most destructive form of trauma is “chronic recurrent humiliation” (emotional abuse in the form of name-calling or ridicule).
Trauma occurring during childhood is particularly damaging. Young children are not equipped mentally or emotionally to make sense of traumatic experiences since they have no frame of reference to put the experiences into context. Plus, a child’s primary outlet for support should be the parents (or family), which are often the source of the trauma. As a result, children can begin to seek out unhealthy means to get their emotional needs met, leaving them highly vulnerable to addiction later in life.
When drugs or alcohol become an option, it can be used to disconnect from feelings, numb guilt or rage, and as an attempt to find some solace from anxiety or fear. Drugs and alcohol can also be used as a way to replicate the missing sense of belonging and acceptance as individuals form connections with other drug users.
How Can Addiction Treatment Help?
Eventually, the trauma survivor / substance abuser, begins with one problem and complicates it with a second. Once substance use progresses to abuse and then to addiction, treatment is often necessary.
It is through healing the wounds of the past and providing skills for a new, overcoming future that substance abusers can then move on to a life that doesn’t include the dangerous cycle of addiction relapse.
The connection between trauma and addiction is real.
If you are struggling with addiction and can’t see a way out, please know that a clean, sober, healthy life is just as real as what you’re experiencing right now.
Don’t wait another day. Get help now.

This post originally appeared as a blog on September 30, 2015 at the link below…

Does Childhood Trauma Lead to Addiction?

Stigma

By David L. Rosenbloom, Ph. D.
Stigma is one of the meanest and most difficult aspects of addiction because it makes it harder for people and families to deal with their problems and get the help they need. Society imposes stigma – and its damage – on addicts and their families because many of us still believe that addiction is a character flaw or weakness that probably can’t be cured. The stigma against people with addictions is so deeply rooted that it continues even in the face of the scientific evidence that addiction is a treatable disease and even when we know people in our families and communities living wonderful lives in long-term recovery.
Stigma is the reason there is so much social and legal discrimination against people with addictions. It explains why addicts and their families hide the disease. Discrimination always hurts stigmatized groups because they are excluded from the rules that apply to “normal” people. So insurance companies get away with refusing to pay for alcohol or drug treatment, or with charging higher deductibles and co-pays than for treating any other disease. People who need the help are often afraid to speak up. State and federal agencies feel safe in denying food stamps and baby formula to mothers who have past drug convictions because mothers who used drugs have few supporters in the political system and face lots of people who think they must be “bad mothers.” Though studies have found that helping employees to recover is more cost-effective than termination, some employers believe that firing an employee with a drinking problem is a lot easier than providing rehabilitation. A firestorm of protest would erupt if employers treated workers with cancer or heart disease the same way.
People who are victims of stigma internalize the hate it carries, transforming it to shame and hiding from its effects. Too often, people with alcohol and drug problems and their families begin to accept the ideas that addiction is their own fault and that maybe they are too weak to do anything about it. In many ways, hiding an addiction problem is the rational thing to do because seeking help can mean losing a job and medical insurance, or even losing your child when a social service agency declares you an unfit parent because you have an alcohol or drug problem.
The stress of hiding often causes other medical and social problems for the individuals and their families. This is especially true when an adolescent has an alcohol or drug problem. Fear often prompts kids to hide the problem from parents. Then, when parents find out, stigma makes them feel guilty and somehow negligent. Illness and family dysfunction explode. When that happens, parents find it even harder to fight for the care and resources their child urgently needs from a social and medical system that blames the family and the child.
FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO FIGHT STIGMA

We may not change overnight the way society feels about people with alcohol and drug problems, but we can end the legal discrimination caused by stigma
1. Demand equal medical insurance coverage for alcohol and drug treatment.
2. Tell your elected representatives to stop punishing babies for the past problems of their mothers.
3. Tell your state lawmakers to remove the legal barriers that prevent people recovering from addictions from getting jobs.
4. Give more than lip service to the reality that addiction is a disease, not a character weakness.
5. Be an advocate for an individual or family with an addiction problem.