Other Stories of Addiction/Recovery

Uncle Learns to Not Stigmatize Addicts

I work as a nurse at a local emergency department, and I am ashamed to say that up until about seven years ago, I stigmatized drug abusers. I was often very dismissive when they came in with problems, citing the usual “you did this to yourself.” Around 1997, my nephew became addicted to heroin and was even distributing it. Unfortunately, this was responsible for someone’s death. Fast forward six years and some time in a recovery program, he is now clean and a successful adult married, working on a Family.

I say this now because having lived with addiction, my whole life… my parents, my older brother, and then my nephew addiction. It has been something that has always been around my family, but it was not until that situation that I stopped stigmatizing addicts and realizing that they themselves are struggling. They need love and people to be around them, and not to push them away. I am grateful that my story has a happy ending, as not many do. I am thankful for your message, Josh. I am thankful that you are alive to tell your story and I am thankful that I am alive to benefit from it.

2 thoughts on “Uncle Learns to Not Stigmatize Addicts”

  1. Hello,
    First off thank you for sharing your story. I too stigmatized addicts for a long time. It took me losing a family friend who had struggled with opioid addict since he was around 15. His struggle and death made me realize how deeply addiction affects some people and how the stigma can effect those who need help. Ending the stigma around addiction will help save lives and your story shows that. I’m glad that your story has a happy ending and I hope that it can help end some of the stigmas around this.

  2. Your self reflection is so important, I hope you’re proud of yourself for the growth that it took to get where you are. We are all learning and changing every day and we can only hope we’re changing for the better. Thank you for being candid, I can imagine it wasn’t easy admitting having that bias as a medical professional. However, this POV can help others to check their own biases as well! Thank you for sharing!

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