It’s hard for people without the disease of addiction to understand it. Very often you hear people say, just quit, it’s that simple. If only it were that easy. When you add children to the situation the judgment really comes out. Even those with the disease that don’t have kids yet are likely to agree. We are raised to believe that nothing can come between a parent and their child. In most cases that is absolutely true. Unfortunately, the entire definition of addiction means that children aren’t a good enough reason alone for most addicts to seek recovery and find a lifetime of success at it.
Don’t get me wrong, for many their children are one of the main reasons they stop using in the end. The problem is that usually there have been many years of using with the child involved. Then once they make the choice to seek addiction recovery at a drug treatment center they often relapse. Relapse can be devastating for family members that don’t fully understand the disease of addiction. Loved ones take a relapse personal as if they weren’t reason enough. Relapse doesn’t happen to everyone in recovery but it happens sometimes several times before the user finds long-term recovery.
Using While Pregnant
Using while pregnant is another situation where people have huge negative reactions. I was fortunate enough not to end up pregnant while in active addiction, but if I had, I know I would have used. It’s strange but it’s a hard to admit that I would have. Imagine how tough it is to admit that you did. Even our brothers and sisters in recovery have the tendency to pass judgment when this situation arises.
Last year people were shocked when the photos were surfacing of people overdosed in the car with a child. It wasn’t the overdose that caused most of the shock it was the fact that a child was present. Maybe it’s a good time to announce to the world that addicts have children and if there is a drug being secretly placed in their usual cocktail that kills people, their kids are going to witness it.
What Does Addiction Mean
These people have a disease called addiction. Addiction means that the person uses a substance over and over without being able to control it even in the face of dire consequences, including death. So why is it so hard to see yourself, if in active addiction, using while pregnant or while you were responsible for your children? Obviously, it’s not ideal and bad things can happen to the children if not watched properly and drugs can hurt unborn babies. That is a given but let’s stop the judgment.
We as a society have to stop being so judgmental when it comes to hearing other’s stories. There are women out there that are pregnant right now reading this article that needs to know that someone understands where they are coming from She needs to know that we see how torturing it is to love her child and at the same time not feel safe enough or strong enough to ask for help getting clean. Stigma kills more people than overdoses ever will. If the addict is too ashamed to admit they are an addict, much less where that addiction has taken them…they will never seek help.
What does stigma cause
If parents are too ashamed or too scared their kids will be taken away they will continue to hide and eventually something bad will happen. You don’t have to agree with where someone’s addiction has taken them to support them without judging. Everyone has something they don’t want anyone to know they have done. So maybe we should treat everyone the way we would want to be treated and that alone would put a serious dent in stigma.
If we put a dent in stigma we will put a dent in overdose deaths and everyone wants that.