Although millions of people have been directly impacted by addiction, many still have existing misconceptions and fears about the disease that spreads a dangerous addiction stigma. That addiction stigma fosters fear of reaching out for help, ultimately costing lives.
By erasing the stigma of addiction, communities can help inspire hope in recovery and encourage those needing help to reach out. Help educate your community about addiction and recovery and stop stigma with the following efforts:
Learn about Addiction, Treatment and Recovery
Help stop stigma by inspiring thoughtful conversations that help better inform friends and colleagues that addiction is a treatable brain disease – and that recovery is possible and sustainable. Seek out expert information and construct a list of reliable resources on addiction, treatment and recovery. Dive into public health studies, community awareness coalitions, policy, news coverage, medical research and personal testimonies. Recommended sources include American Society of Addiction Medicine, National Behavioral Health Council, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers and others.
Use Social Media to Spread Awareness
Social media is a simple, powerful tool for spreading awareness. Follow expert resources to find meaningful social media content, utilize recovery hashtags like #voicesofhope, share media stories and other impactful content that combats the stigma. You can also use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to connect and engage with treatment and recovery services and advocacy groups in your community. If you have a personal story of recovery, share it if comfortable. Your voice, your story of recovery can reach and impact those in need of treatment in a powerful way.
Engage in Community Recovery Activities and Events
Most communities have organizations that hold occasional public events tied to breaking the stigma of addiction and celebrating recovery. From 5Ks and documentary film screenings to cookouts and golf tournaments, there are a variety of ways people gather to support addiction awareness and recovery. Valley Hope supports and hosts events across the country that help eradicate stigma and support recovery.
Explore the Voices of Hope Project
Inspired by National Recovery Month, people are aiming to reduce stigma by sharing the power of sobriety through a collection of diverse, inspiring recovery stories. The project, Voices of Hope, chronicles the recovery journeys of Valley Hope alumni, while offering hope and healing to loved ones and families seeking help. Voices of Hope leverages the personal stories of those living in recovery to help educate communities about the disease of addiction, effective treatment and the power of recovery.
Only ten percent of people who need addiction treatment actually receive it and by shining a light on the potential of recovery, communities can eliminate stigma and help more individuals, families and communities find healing.
Visit the Voices of Hope project at valleyhope.org/recovery/recovery-stories to explore recovery stories, addiction information and treatment resources. Valley Hope’s blog provides extensive resources and information for loved ones, families and the recovery community.