As Recovery Communities Grow, Is Addiction Being De-Stigmatized?

The US has a long relationship with substance abuse. What started as a widely accepted medical treatment (opiates were once considered a medical cure-all) has gotten far out of hand. The abuse of drugs and alcohol has become a pervasive problem in today’s society, and as a result, substance abuse centers are popping up all over the country.

Clearly the abuse and misuse of drugs and alcohol holds potential for destruction of the lives and relationships of many, but there may be a bright side to this widespread issue. As recovery communities grow, we’re seeing something incredible happening: addiction is slowly losing its stigma.


Even twenty or thirty years ago, society saw recovering addicts and alcoholics as outliers and outcasts. They were strange. Different. Maybe even people to be shunned or avoided. Now, recovered alcoholics and addicts can be found all over. They are active and productive members in our communities.

For example, in Delray Beach FL, there is still a great deal of stigma around alcoholism and drug addiction, but this stigma mostly exists in the minds of the ignorant. People who have never known members of the recovery community are often the biggest offenders. They blame their own unemployment on the “rehabbers.” Perhaps they knew one addict in their life who was dishonest and unable to stay sober, and so judged the entire 12 step community by this poor example.

In this dark cloud of stigma, we can look to other community members: “normies” who have befriended members of the recovery community and recognize that they are miraculously strong individuals who have overcome so much. Recovery is about recognizing that life has become unmanageable, enlisting the help of something greater than yourself, seeking peer support, and making a choice to live a healthier and more joyful life. Who could turn their noses up at such resilience?

One day at a time, we live our lives to the best of our ability, and hope that we are seen as humans seeking a better life, just like everyone else.

Understanding Entitlement

The Entitlement Mentality

Drug addiction and alcoholism often come with co-existing issues that can lead to chronic relapse if left unaddressed. One of the most common issues we have seen in recovery is a profound sense on entitlement (commonly referred to as Affluenza) in addicts, alcoholics, and especially chronic relapsers. A sense of entitlement in a person exists when that person feels the world owes them things: money, success, friendship, support, etc. They don’t expect to have to work towards their goals; their goals should just be handed to them and all they need to do is accept their privilege.

One of the greatest struggles in addressing entitlement is that it often exists with a hefty lack of self-awareness. The entitled are entitled in part because they don’t even realize they are harboring entitled thoughts. Often, these people mostly think about themselves in terms of what the are (or aren’t) “getting.” This can make it very difficult for family members to address entitlement issues with their addicted and entitled loved ones.

Healing entitlement is a great struggle when it is attempted within the family dynamic. Often, the family has reached the end of its rope trying to handle the entitled son or daughter. Even the most loving and caring attempts at reconciliation sometimes only serve to enable the entitled. On the other side of the coin, harsh words, aggression and anger are a common effect in this dynamic, and they still offer attention (even though it is negative) to the entitled person. This can be a heartbreaking struggle that leaves everyone involved feeling helpless.


Finding Hope

Since it is so hard to heal an entitled mindset within the family dynamic, professional help is usually sought. That’s where Practical Development comes in. Unlike most drug and alcohol treatment or rehabilitation programs, Practical Development recognizes and treats the sense of entitlement that often co-exists in substance abuse and narcotic or alcohol dependence. Contact us today to see if your loved one is a good fit for our drug and alcohol treatment program.