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Hurtful Responses We Receive

As recovering addicts, many of us have had experiences in our partnerships, friendships and family relationships where the other person simply couldn’t understand what we were going through, and this can be a uniquely challenging experience that adds to our struggles with addiction and mental illness.


Not having a community of people to share our challenges with can be a source of frustration, difficulty and sadness for us. We feel alone with our pain, and we tend to isolate ourselves even more when we feel judged and misunderstood, especially by people we care about. Our self-isolation can then compound our feelings of depression, anxiety, guilt and shame, worsening our mental health issues and causing us to seek solace in our drugs of choice. Some of what hurts us the most are the responses we receive from non-addicts, the advice we’re given that shows total lack of understanding, and the reactivity we get that is devoid of compassion. We become inclined to keep our addictions a secret because we’re wary of how people will respond to our divulging such sensitive, personal information.


Many of us experience people telling us all kinds of unhelpful, misguided and even unkind things. We’re told that addiction is a choice rather than an illness, and that we’ve chosen to be addicts, we’ve chosen our drugs of choice, and we’ve chosen to live this way. We’re told we can choose a different life any time we want, but we’ve made this choice for ourselves, and that’s why we’re suffering so much. We’re told we simply haven’t tried hard enough to quit. We’re told we’re making excuses. We’re accused of being self-centered and selfishly trying to bring attention to ourselves by claiming to be addicts. People see us as pretending to be victims to our circumstances, or as justifying our bad behaviors as being part of our illness. We’re told to just snap out of it, to make better choices, and to pull ourselves out of the hole we’ve gotten ourselves into. We’re told that we’ve created this life for ourselves, and that no amount of pity or sympathy is going to change it for us. We experience people being angry and impatient with us, not understanding how hard things are for us.

Surrounding Ourselves with Support

When struggling with addiction, one of the all-important changes we want to make for ourselves is to surround ourselves with people who understand addiction, who have had similar experiences to ours, who support our recovery, and who have compassion for the struggles we’re facing, whether or not they personally identify as addicts. The harmful responses we receive, especially from non-addicts who can’t relate to our experience, can exacerbate our feelings of shame, inadequacy and unworthiness, and they can detract from the work we’re doing to get better.

At The Guest House Ocala, you will be treated with dignity, respect and compassion.

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488