How Society Affects Recovery from Addiction

society affects addiction

Are you trying to recover from a substance use disorder? Being labeled a “drug addict” can influence a persons success in recovery once they’ve made the decision to get clean from drugs. Public opinions have a lot to do with how society affects recovery from addiction.

It can be detrimental for continued abstinence, but all hope is not lost. Learn more about the stereotypes that people with drug addiction go through and how they can move past it. 

Stigma in Society Affects Recovery

Trying to recover from drug addiction is hard enough since it becomes a chronic disease that needs continued treatment. Even the most tenacious person can become vulnerable to the temptation of one more high or shot of whiskey.

Recovering takes a lot of hard work and persistence in staying sober. However, when society pushes their own views onto you, it can severely impact your recovery.  


Society affects recovery even by the preconceived notion that all people with drug addiction, whether you are a current or former one, are all terrible people. Being repeatedly told by random people or old friends that you aren’t going to amount to anything due to your past will only sink into your subconscious and fester.

As reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, people’s stigma of those addicted to drugs results in them avoiding public places, believing they deserve poor treatment or foregoing other responsibilities in their life.

Therefore, other people’s opinion affects the emotional and mental state of an addict. This is very serious since it can destroy all the work you did in rehab, weakening all the perseverance you had. Those suffering from a mental illness and drug addiction could be at even more risk.

They might believe the things people say about them more than others since they aren’t always able to recognize the stigma for what it is. According to, a study found that those with a drug addiction observed the discrimination against them and became more depressed as a result.

Plus, those who previously suffered from mood disorders discerned even more negative vibes from people who were judging them. They are both medical issues that should be taken seriously. Instead, society creates an environment that makes people feel ashamed of themselves.  

Drug Convictions and Being Judged

Going to jail drug use can occur if you don’t get help for your substance use disorder. Each person’s case is different and may or may not result in jail time. Whether you were hooked on MethCocaine, or Heroin, there will always be a record with your name attached if you get caught and convicted.

Yet, the public fails those addicted once again by judging those with drug convictions. Most people are wary of those with this type of history since they think people can’t change.  It can be a real battle to find a legal, stable, and a good-paying job after a drug conviction.

There are very few jobs that will fall under this category, and some locations might not even have any that’s good enough. You might need money for child support or enough to live on by yourself. As stated by, anti-drug laws make it impossible for those trying to stay abstinent since it can be hard to find a job, support your children, get welfare benefits, and licenses.

So, how does someone recovering from drug addiction live their life? They have to struggle through their disease as well as being able to stay on their feet when there are so many rules preventing them from moving on and starting over.  

If people continues to judge them, and the law doesn’t seem to support their life after their past decisions, this is yet another example of how society affects recovery. When unsupported, many with addiction will lose hope and determination and their strive for a life of sobriety can slowly perish.

This is why there are so many relapses because there isn’t enough support for this type of disease for them to be able to fully recover into society again. There is always a problematic obstacle standing in their way. However, hope still lingers for everyone, so don’t give up the fight to continue your life and break the stigmas attached to drug addiction by: 

Surround Yourself with Support

Your family is a great support system since all they want is for you to get healthy again. They don’t want to see you suffer through another relapse. Let them be a shoulder to lean on once in a while because having support from friends and family can mean a huge difference. 

Attending AA Meetings 

Whether you have family and friends backing you up or you are alone, going to AA or NA meetings can be very positive for you. Having people you can relate to can help you drive past other people’s stereotypes about being addicted and be influential.

Your family might be supportive, but being able to connect with others who have similar experiences can help reinforce your continued abstinence.  AA meetings are all about hearing each other’s drug experience and mistakes without being judged. You can all learn from one another and have additional support when you feel cravings creeping back into your life.  

Continuing Therapy for Recovery

Talking to an experienced therapist can mean the difference between a sober life and going back to old habits. Why is this? Therapists can help you get through all those cynical or cold comments that might be thrown your way after getting out of rehab. They can discuss and help you work through moments like this with a prevention plan. 


Discussing and going over a prevention plan with your therapist can be very crucial in remaining sober. It’s pretty much a plan on what to do when a craving is triggered. Hearing pessimistic thoughts from ex-friends or acquaintances who aren’t supporting you can trigger you.

Often triggers result in the feeling of a need to get high and feel better. However, it will only put you back at square one. So, continuing therapy and maintain an exceptional and thorough prevention plan to prevent another relapse.  

Long-term recovery from addiction is worth those roadblocks you will face after rehab. You will eventually find your way and remain abstinent. Rebuilding your life might be a challenge, but the end goal of having a loving family by your side is worth all those bleak moments.

Everyone has the right to get healthier, so don’t give in to their other people’s perceptions of who they think you should be. Rise above their ignorance and overcome everyone else’s expectations by getting back up and continuing to fight.

If you or a loved one is in need of treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, please reach out at (866) 578-7471. We can help get you started on the right path.

1 comment
  1. Def. feel that stigma once you were a drug addict… like people never look at you the same.. it’s like you are tainted or you might be on the verge of using at any moment… some friends even feel like they gotta tiptoe around you when they talk about drinking or smokin pot.

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