A: I believe people are afraid of addicts they don’t know. People are afraid of anything they do not know about. The fear of the unknown has plagued people for years.
The stigma attached to addiction creates this fear. Of course you’re going to be afraid of a person who society has told you is a thief, criminal, liar, prostitute and a killer. So you’re not gonna want an addict involved in your life if you think that they are all of those things.
So this question for me is a little tricky because I do not think society should be afraid of all addicts and alcoholics. I think they are because of the stigmas and because of what is placed in the media and on the news and societies general limited understanding of this disease. I remember listening to a politician stating that in his state they do offer treatment as an alternative to jail and that the addict gets one chance at treatment. Well this is a chronic illness, do you think they’d do the same to a diabetic.
“You’ve got one chance to get you diet and lifestyle change because we will only offer you one treatment”
Now when it comes to families, things look very different. Family members interact with addicts all the time and they are not afraid at all. They’re so unafraid that they give them money, they give them the passwords to their ATM cards. They give them access to their purses and their cars and homes. Families of addicts and alcoholics are not afraid at all and they should be. An addict and alcoholic is more likely to hurt or steal from a family member than they are to hurt or steal from a stranger.
They know the family member will forgive them and not call the police, they know the family member will get over it at some point. This is why families need to rethink and get in touch with there fear and let fear trigger them into action action that at first might be difficult but in the long run may save your, finances,your relationships,your health, your sanity and would probably save the addicts life.
What is the action? Well the action is change. Setting boundaries,seeking professional help, engaging in self help, following the path of others who have been successful. There is help available, just reach out.
Love is what works, you can call it tough love but how we love has to change.