One of the most damaging and unfortunate things that happen to people that are struggling with mental health issues, drug addictions, etc. especially
if we have been struggling with chaotic use and our worlds become dysfunctional and drug centered is that we lose our sense of who we are. Now, if your experience was anything like mine then you were young when the chaotic use took over your life therefore once the drugs are stripped away there is not a lot of substance very left. This is particularly damaging because then here comes a program telling you sit in a chair and say: Hello, I’m Jane and I’m an addict. Now my identity becomes “Jane, the addict”. I am my illness, I am something that the world despises, something that the world loathes. Something that I loathe.
I have never met a person with substance abuse problems or mental health issues who is not overwhelmed with shame and guilt.
I am so much more than my problems. I am so much more than my hobbies, I am a complex woman who loves, who is loved.
Only people with substance use problems are told to say they are their problem. You would never hear someone say ….Hello, Im john and i’m diabetes or Hey, I’m Jake and I’m diarrhea. For those of you who think this is petty and not that big a deal I challenge that. We know that positive affirmations and positive self talk makes a difference with self esteem therefore I would argue that saying you are an addict and introducing yourself as that, thinking of yourself as that, blaming all your indulgences on that….it can’t be healthy. We are human. We need our spirits to be feed with little kernels of affirmation and love not stuffed with stigma.
SO—be mindful how you talk about yourself and to yourself. It makes a difference, it really does. Give yourself some credit for the good shit you do!