Changing the Language of Addiction: Fighting Stigma

changing the language of addictionA client recently shared with me his experience of going to a faith-based recovery support group. He sincerely appreciated that he and the other attendees did not self-identify as addicts or alcoholics.

 

Instead, each person introduced themselves as a child of God.

 

How incredible, I thought. How healing it must have been, at a time when he is truly hurting, to identify with a label that affirms his value and worth instead of one that he experiences as shaming.

 

It was a stunning reminder of the power of language in our lives. There are few other arenas where the power of language is as strongly felt as it is with addiction. But why is this? Why is choosing our words carefully when we talk about drug and alcohol problems important? And how can we go about changing the language of addiction?

Why I’m an Addiction Therapist

addiction therapistAs an addiction therapist, I hear many stories of struggling with food, sex, pornography, or alcohol and other drugs. I recently wrote a short essay as a part of an application to an online training program in harm reduction from the Center for Optimal Living in New York.

 

It briefly tells my story and illuminates my passion for helping those struggling with addiction through compassionate, relationship-focused treatment. I thought I’d share it here with you.