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The Normalization of Drug Use in Mainstream Media

As we’re working to recover, we begin to see striking evidence of how much addiction and drug use are normalized and even glorified in our mainstream media. Television and movies minimize the devastating effects of drug use and trivialize the harm they cause. These portrayals routinely ignore how people’s lives are negatively impacted by their drug and alcohol use. We don’t see the after-effects of their substance use. We don’t see how damaging their addictive patterns become. The pain and destruction they experience in their lives as a result of their addictions are typically omitted. Instead, what we tend to see are the lighthearted, harmless depictions of drug use. Without even realizing it, this can have quite an impact on our subconscious minds and our behaviors and decisions. When we see these portrayals in our everyday lives, it can contribute to our experimentation with drugs and alcohol. It may not be the primary cause, but it certainly supports our developing dependence on them. 

Coping Mechanisms

We often become desensitized to mainstream portrayals of drug and alcohol use. Because we’ve seen them so many times, we’re hardly even aware of them. They are regularly infiltrating our minds and spirits without our knowledge or consent. We see television and movie characters pour themselves a drink whenever they feel overwhelmed or anxious. We see them use their drug of choice to offset a panic attack. They turn to their drug of choice to boost their confidence and to deal with challenges. When faced with a challenging proposition, they take a shot to help themselves get through it. If circumstances become overwhelming, they use their drug of choice to feel stronger and better equipped to handle it.

Learned Associations

We learn from mainstream media to create these unhealthy associations between substances and their positive effects. Drugs and alcohol become subconsciously linked with relaxation, happiness, resilience, and coping with challenges. Media frequently reinforces these mental connections, and it normalizes very unhealthy coping mechanisms. In time, we begin to subconsciously trivialize these things and then incorporate them into our lives. Programming is a powerful and influential aspect of everyone’s lives. It pays to be mindful of what we’re regularly watching and experiencing. 

Without support, it can seem like danger is lurking around every corner. The Guest House is a welcoming and supportive recovery home where you will be met with open arms, wherever you are on your journey, without judgment or expectation. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.