Substance abuse and addiction are largely misunderstood entities in our culture. A majority of society holds incorrect perceptions of addiction and substance abuse, largely negative ones. They assume that if a person is an addict or a substance abuser, they are somehow a failure as a person. They may apply this logic to any number of hard-working, family-loving well meaning people who also happen to be addicts. This logic is blatantly unfair and shallow and needs to be eradicated. Only through education on substance abuse and addiction do people begin to understand the true nature of these illnesses and know how to approach them respectfully and appropriately.
One way that a person may come to understand addiction and substance abuse is through research. This may be done through an educational institution or privately. Educating one’s self on addiction and substance abuse by reading material that is published by mental health professionals and experts in the addiction field is commendable. You would not lead an organized debate or presentation without first doing a great deal of research on the topic you are debating or presenting. In the same sense, you should not go into the world with strong opinions on addiction and substance abuse if you are not a credible source of information on it.
The other method of gaining credibility in the areas of addiction and substance abuse are through experience. This means having worked with addicts and substance abusers or having close personal experience with them. If the experience is personal, it needs to have been a well informed personal experience, not a biased one that was full of unbridled emotion. For example, if you grew up with an alcoholic father, you certainly understand a side of addiction, but it may have come imparted with traumas and psychological damage that make you biased against substance abusers and addicts. This blogger’s advice is not to have conviction without credibility. Educate yourself on the intricacies of addiction and substance abuse to learn how to approach them as ethically as possible.