• Staff Writer

How Do I Handle Judgment in Recovery?


Unfortunately, addiction is a disease that is often heavily judged by the public. Even when someone is in recovery, there is a lot of judgment regarding the addiction itself and how it started or its effect on others. Even though it is common, many people don’t understand it.

Recovery focuses heavily on self-love and forgiveness, but when others view addiction as a moral failing rather than a brain disease, it can lead to a lower self-image. When others don’t accept you, it is challenging to accept yourself. One vital aspect of addiction treatment and recovery is overcoming that stigma and perceiving yourself without the judgment of others.


Why Is There Judgment in Addiction Recovery?


The behavioral symptoms of addiction can lead to a narrow view from outsiders. Those without any education on addiction and treatment might consider it a disgrace. This results from ignorance and a lack of education on the topic. They may see only the symptoms and not the person behind them. Naturally, the symptoms of addiction like legal trouble, relationship issues, and dangerous behavior often lead to treatment, but others may only see the signs, not the cause or healing.

Those affected by addiction often feel shame regarding their behavior when in active addiction. Still, the outside judgment can make that worse and even increase the severity of the addiction in some cases. Rather than promoting addiction treatment, many people shame the afflicted into hiding their continued use rather than seeking help. That judgment has often led those struggling with substance use to avoid treatment. This only leads to more problems and prevents recovery.

When recovery and addiction are considered taboo topics, people don’t want to acknowledge their problems or admit they need help. They don’t want to appear weak or seem like a failure to their loved ones or themselves.


Facing Stigma During Treatment


Although the judgment of addiction begins as someone starts showing signs of being addicted, it tends to feel more intense as they seek treatment. Once they’ve detoxed, they may be more observant of the world around them. They may begin noticing the judgment from others and even the public regarding recovery. There is ignorance around this subject, and fighting it can be one of the more challenging aspects of addiction recovery. The important thing is to remember that an individual's recovery is about how they see themselves.

Letting the judgment of others impact an individual's treatment progress will only set them back. Overcoming judgment is what leads to healing. Part of that is adjusting one's own mindset. Instead of considering themselves a failure, recovering individuals must realize they’ve endured a lot and are coming out the other side. The language many people use when discussing addiction is negative. Instead of finding shame in a drug test and considering it a lack of trust or faith in an individual, realize it is a part of their long-term recovery.

Although most medical professionals working in the addiction treatment sector understand the importance of these strategies, some may show judgment. It is important to remember that sobriety is most important right now, not someone else’s lack of understanding. Embracing addiction treatment is about the patient's mindset. They must make goals and stick to them. Focusing on one's progress will help one heal much more than focusing on the skewed view of others. When counselors support and encourage patients rather than judge and shame them, they promote a new healthy lifestyle.


How to Deal With Judgment in Addiction Recovery


Within the walls of a treatment center, people may find a lot more understanding than in the real world. During treatment, recovering individuals are surrounded by others in their position and professionals trained in this subject. As they move back into their everyday life outside of treatment, they may experience more judgment from others. Fighting that stigma and focusing on their recovery is key.

Committing to sobriety means having to shut down those whispers of shame. Letting judgment get those in recovery down ignores all the hard work they’ve done to improve their life. Through therapy, recovering individuals work on forgiving themselves. As they make amends with those in their life, they face their past behaviors and move forward. Continuing with therapy and peer meetings helps them maintain their progress and work toward their goals. Being around others with the same mindset helps those in recovery stay encouraged and motivated moving ahead in their recovery.

One's support system is so critical to recovery. Having people who understand and are there to support the one in recovery will keep them going. They have no control over the thoughts of others; recovery teaches people that they can control themselves. They can cope with stress and triggers that spike addiction symptoms. Every time they use the methods they learned throughout treatment, it reminds them that they are stronger than judgment.


California Care Detox & Treatment is a judgment-free zone where you can rid your body of addictive substances and move toward your recovery goals. We do not shame our clients but appreciate them. We encourage everyone that seeks treatment with us to remain strong in their convictions and remember why they decided to seek treatment. They wanted to better their lives for themselves and their loved ones, not to please strangers. The stigma surrounding addiction recovery may be lessening. Still, there will likely always be those disinterested in understanding, so it is up to us to keep the focus on the positive parts. We can help you learn how to cope with all the challenges you’ll experience during treatment and recovery. Your growth and healing are critical to your sobriety, and when you focus on that, you can keep going. Call us now at (949) 281-0632 to get started.

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