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21 Quotes Everyone Should Read Before Judging Someone Facing Addiction

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When you think of someone who lives with addiction, who do you see?

Probably a stereotype, according to research. In a Recovery Brands survey, 76.7 percent of people believed addiction is fully or partially a choice. Next to cost, stigma is the second largest barrier for individuals considering treatment. And the kicker — 82.2 percent of surveyed people struggling with addiction said they’ve felt stigmatized for what they face.

There’s still a lot we don’t understand about addiction. So, talking to people who are actually affected is a great place to start. We teamed up with the Recovery Brands, an organization that provides online resources for individuals and families seeking addiction treatment, and asked people who live with and are affected by addiction to tell us one thing they wish others understood.

Before you judge, listen to what they have to say:

1. “The opposite of addiction is connection.” — Johan H. 

2. “That it isn’t a choice, it’s a disease.” — Sandra B.

3. “Until you have loved someone who abuses substances, don’t judge the family’s choices… the line between enabling and supporting is blurry.” — Tanya S.

4. “It’s not necessarily because the parent was a bad parent or the child (in my case) is a bad person.” — Amy T.

5. “Addiction is not the entirety of me. I am me; I am not just my addiction. There is a lot of other stuff to love.” — Ryan S.


6. “People who [live with] from addiction do not choose to be that way, nor do they have to let it define them.” — Teresa T.

7. “Addiction is so much more common and pervasive an issue than society thinks.” — Sarah H.

8.“I wish people saw the time that addicts spent alone. Thinking about everything they’ve done every time they’ve lied and stole.” — Thad K.

9. “My addiction does not define who I am or who I will be!” — Lisa L.


10. “It’s not a matter of willpower or a lack of a moral compass.” — Brian L.

11. “We do recover.” — Jennifer J.

12. “I am not the face of my addiction.” — Roxanne L.

13. “Sometimes you honestly don’t realize what you’re doing, and who you’re hurting, until you’re looking back months later. I wish people could understand the suffocating guilt.” — Kaylee K.


14. “Just because I am/was an addict, doesn’t make me a bad person. Deep down inside we are wonderful, loving people.” — Shelly R.

15.Wish people would not judge others… some have no idea what is going on in their lives…” — Sarah K.

16. “The public needs more education on addiction. People need to know how it starts, what it does to every aspect of your life, how to get or give help to an addict, and what recovery is like for an addict.” — Sarah K.

17. “It goes deeper than the substance.” — Roe B.


18. “A lot of addicts/alcoholics are the most sensitive, caring and intelligent people you’ll ever meet.” — Haley P.

19. “It’s not about willpower.” — Erin B.

20. “There is hope for us one day at a time.” — Jc H.

21. “Good people sometimes make bad choices. Not every person is bad people because they have a drug problem.” — Allie G.


Learn more about the Recovery Brands’ LIVES (Leveraging Impactful Videos to End Stigma) Challenge.

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Originally published: April 11, 2016
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