Judgment & Perception of an Addict

One of the biggest challenges for some of our clients is dealing with a sense of self-worth. Those who suffer from low self-esteem struggle doing recovery work because they feel their lives are meaningless. Why do they feel this way? There could be a number of reasons, ranging from prior emotional abuse, to public perception about substance abusers.

Related Blog: Understanding the Progression of Recovery

You’ve probably heard, and maybe even thought, one of the following three phrases:

“I have no sympathy for the homeless; they are a bunch of drunks and drug addicts.”

“Why should I feel sorry for him/her? He/she made the choice to use drugs and screwed up his/her life.”

“Addicts are just a bunch of criminals and should be locked up somewhere.”

If you hear these types of comments about yourself, why would you try to get clean and sober? How could you believe that there is a better world of recovery out there and that your life is worth saving?

A client, who has been clean for a little more than three years now, said she feels so sad when she is driving down the street and sees the homeless or women in prostitution. She said, “people are so quick to judge them. No one knows their stories, but they are quick to judge them.”

This particular client was the youngest of three daughters in a middle-class family. Her mother worked in a group home for troubled teens. When the client graduated from high school and enrolled in a local community college, the mother released a big sigh of relief, believing, “I raised my children and they are good.” Only a few months later, she quickly saw the signs. Her daughter’s personality was changing and school didn’t seem like a priority. She wasn’t sure about the new boyfriend her daughter was seeing and despite her training in dealing with the teens, the mother made several mistakes, not wanting to believe her daughter was involved in drugs. The situation escalated quickly and before long, the daughter with the promising future had been arrested for shoplifting. The goods that were stolen were going to be sold or traded for drugs.

The mother was able to get the daughter into a treatment center. On the legal front, she still had probation, fees and restitution, but she was getting help for her substance abuse and that was important.

Three years post treatment, the client says, “that could have been me. Had I not been arrested, I could have ended up trading my body for drugs. Without the continued support of my family, I could have been kicked out of the house and ended up homeless.”

Going to treatment gave this woman her life back. She’s now the daughter, niece, sister, aunt and friend that her family and friends knew and loved. A mother herself now, she is still paying off legal debts, but plans to finish college.

If you have a friend or family member that you suspect is struggling with substance abuse, encourage them to seek help, to find a better life and change their ways. Contact Pathways for more information about our residential treatment programs by calling 855-349-5988.