You have undoubtedly heard the things people say about addicts. It’s possible that before you or a family member developed an addiction, you may have thought them yourself:
“People with addictions are lazy.” “People with addictions are weak.” “People with addictions are hopeless.”
Almost all the stereotypes you hear about addicts are negative. These broad generalization aren’t just false, they’re damaging to recovery.
There are a lot of misconceptions about addictions and those who struggle with drug or alcohol abuse. You rarely hear them described in a positive light, even when an individual makes the bold and admirable decision to get help for their problem.
This negative labeling can hinder the progress of people in recovery, giving them negative feelings about themselves that can lead to relapse. Most importantly, these stereotypes are false. Individuals suffering from addiction do not choose addiction.
What Do People Think of Addicts?
Why do these negative stereotypes persist? It is partially out of ignorance. If you haven’t had a first-person experience with addiction, you believe what you see in the media or hear from other people.
After all, how often do you see a character on TV or in the movies who suffers from drug or alcohol addiction and is painted as an utter failure? It happens all the time. Here are just a few recent examples:
- Peter Russo from “House of Cards,” portrayed as a weak-minded Congressman
- Lucille Bluth from “Arrested Development,” portrayed as a lazy rich woman
- Seth Rogen in pretty much every movie, portrayed as a hopeless pothead
This is one of the reasons these character traits are given to real-life addicts as well.
What Is an Addict Really Like?
Addiction is vastly different than the media’s depictions. In real life, individuals struggling with alcohol and drug addiction are no lazier than anyone else. In most cases, they are good, loving people who happen to need assistance with a problem that is threatening their lives.
Addiction is not a choice, just like you cannot choose to be born with blue or brown eyes. Anyone who has witnessed the recovery process, which is challenging and requires dedication, knows addicts are not lazy. They are definitely not weak and not hopeless.
Through confronting their addiction, they have a depth of courage few can ever understand. They also develop true empathy for others who have suffered the ravages of disease.
At Clarity Way, we understand the frustration and disappointment those struggling with alcohol or drug abuse feel when other people judge them based on their addiction. We strive to provide education that can show families and friends the truth about addiction. Contact us today to learn more about the road to recovery.