Reverse Stigma: Addicts – Maybe Others Have Walked In Your Shoes

Why is it important to understand what “Reverse Stigma” can be in an alcohol and drug addict’s world?

Because, if you are an individual who has  made the wrong decision and caught the disease, you should know how your perception of others will change. As an addict, you must learn not to “judge a book by its cover;” you could lose big time and you need all the help you can get!

Note: For this post, it is very important that you put yourself into the mindset of the addict. Knowing you need something from someone, yet you “pre-judge” an individual. In your mind, you think they could never know what you know or have experienced what you have experienced.

The Brian Masters Story: I had to be treated in a medical facility after a hip operation in 2015. The hip operation went wrong and extended my stay in a skilled care facility for four months. I know the shelter and housing systems of my state, and it was time to find the roof over my head that would not put another scar on my face. A new director, Lisa, of Out Bound services, came to the facility. Lisa was blonde, 5 foot 6 inches tall, well mannered, attractive (in my opinion), mid-forties, and dressed professionally.

After one interview, I felt she knew nothing about helping homeless people get to the next step. I ignored her. Though my rule is not to talk badly about anyone, I left out anything good about her.

Note: We are speaking about serious next steps in my life as well as those who may come to her for help.

One afternoon, during a mandatory meeting, I threw the system in her face; how difficult it can be. Reader – was I wrong about her!

I discovered that Lisa had three children. The year before I met her, Lisa had been homeless in the western part of the state. Where to sleep, where and what to eat, and money? Lisa found a solution: a junkyard in the neighboring town. The junkyard had a very powerful and mean pit bull standing guard. Everyday, the family would gather some “meat” from the street for the guard dog. By repeatedly feeding the dog, the family would be able to get to the car that they made home. They adapted to the situation and made a safe roof over their heads.

My attitude was “reverse stigma.” Lisa and her girls had fought the fight, and now she had a great job. I had judged her wrong.

Note: Avoid having to experience alcohol and drug Reverse Stigma by not catching the disease.  And if you have caught it, look at another individuals and smile; you never know what they have been through.

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