Drug and alcohol addiction is not something to be ashamed of. It is something to take responsibility for. There is a lot of secrecy about drug and alcohol addiction and that needs to end now. People feel embarrassed that they are drug or alcohol addicts, and so they feel the need to hide it and lie about it. Well, when did any real work get done in the dark? If you can’t see, you’re never going to get anything done. Hence, the talk of the day is that struggling addicts need to be incredibly upfront about their substance abuse habits, and the more open and honest they are about it the greater the chances are that they will actually be able to get some help with their problems and that they will possibly be able to grow and flourish and even prosper into recovery by getting help from someone or some group that heard their proclamation of their addiction.
Amy Dresner wrote a great article about anonymity and addiction, and how dangerous and unhealthy it is to try for total secrecy about addiction. Her viewpoint is that the more in the open addiction is, the less stigma it carries, and the more we are able to confront it and address it. She says that:
“But when did getting sober become something to be ashamed of? The more people come out about their struggle with addiction and sobriety, the more quickly we might destroy the stigma. If addiction is truly a disease, where’s the embarrassment? Getting sober is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. It was by far the hardest thing I’ve done — over and over again.”
She raises a good point. After all, at what point did addiction become such a secretive thing? And why is it so secretive? Is it the fear of punishment or the fear that others will abandon the addict? These are legitimate fears, yes, but if addiction is approached as something to get rid of, and not something that we are going to have to have for the rest of our lives, then it should be approached with far more openness so that such thought and feelings are not actually the talk of the day.
Encouraging Anonymity in Addiction Treatment
Total openness, no holds barred, no lies, no secrecy, indeed total openness needs to be the main goal of addiction treatment. It is really the only way that recovery is going to be achieved and that people are actually going to be able to find a new life and a level of sobriety that they can actually be happy with. It is the only way that true freedom will be found from the horrible trap that we all know as addiction.
The grim truth of the matter is that substance abuse issues continue to present themselves in different ways and wearing different faces every year, all on an increasing and continuing basis. The problem only seems to get worse as the years go by, and this truth can be seen pretty easily by the simple fact that addiction has now been labeled as an actual epidemic, not a crisis, but a legitimate epidemic, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) themselves. Drugs and alcohol have never before been given the classification of an actual epidemic in the nation as they have now, which bodes ill for people and which will only create more and more dangerous and worrisome conditions and situations as a result.
At the end of the day, it is a course through an inpatient rehab center that will save lives, and it is such a course taken with an open heart and an open mind that will do the most good.