Recovering addicts can be dealing with plenty of stress in breaking their addiction, from struggling through tight financial situations to reconciling with their family. Today, an increasing number of people have begun to recognize the struggles of a recovering addict in their integration back into society. However, is our society putting added pressure on these people instead of supporting them through a tough journey?
In our society, we know all forms of addiction. Almost all of us are addicted to something in some way, yet people still tend to be prejudiced against those who are addicted to more dangerous or illegal substances. Someone may be addicted to candy, but would people’s view of them change if they were addicted to drugs instead? Addiction has long been in human history and all of us have known it at some point. However, sometimes people may be blind to their own shortcomings when there is someone else with a “more serious” addiction they can point fingers at. In this article, let us explore how addicts recovering from drugs or alcohol may have been dealing with social injustice in their community and the corporate world, as well as the counter argument that recovering addicts are actually dealing with much less social injustice today than ever before.
Some people believe that recovering addicts deal with social injustice in their everyday interactions with friends and family after returning to society. It is common that recovering addicts may find it difficult to return to their place in a community after having fallen through with the people they were close to. In particular, recovering addicts may be at risk of being disowned as some families may no longer welcome an addict, even if they may be trying to get back in the right direction. Unfortunately, people often view addicts as a bad influence for their young, and this initial impression may not change even if the addict has been making a visible effort to break their addiction. It is often that recovering addicts may still exhibit some irreversible outward sign of their addiction. For instance, drug users may look aged or have poor motor skills, while alcoholics may smell of the substance. This could cause the person’s friends and family to feel wary of being around them even if they have shown that they are making a conscious effort to change. There is usually a lot of prejudice and misinformation regarding addiction and people coping with it, such as others believing that addicts simply have no self-control and are beyond help. On top of that, we commonly hear of stories of recovering addicts suffering a relapse and turning back to addiction. This could cause fear in the community, which may be unsure that the recovering addict really plans to change, or if they may lose self-control and suffer a relapse at some point. As such, people may be less willing to mix around with recovering addicts, even if they were once a friend or a family member.
Others also think that recovering addicts often deal with social injustice in the corporate world. When applying for a job, employers are typically more likely to turn down an applicant if they have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or a criminal record. In some countries, addicts may be jailed for a period of time either directly due to drug use, drunk driving or for secondary issues relating to their addiction, such as causing harm under clouded judgement. As such, most recovering addicts may be in a tough position at a time when they are trying to return to society and desperately need a job. Additionally, even if a recovering addict does get a job, they may face social injustice in the workplace where they could be harassed for similar reasons that friends and family may shun them for. This is only magnified in jobs that require interaction with customers or clients, where there could be complaints lodged against the recovering addict’s appearance or even mere presence. In the end, the only result of a recovering addict failing to fit in at their workplace may be that they give up hope on being a productive member of society and might return to a shady life of addiction.
However, some would say that recovering addicts are dealing with less social injustice now than they would have in the past. These days, people are becoming more understanding of those different from them. Although recovering addicts may still be shunned to some extent, society is becoming increasingly accepting towards them. In almost every country, there are physical and mental health initiatives to help these recovering addicts get back on the right foot, as well as more employers opening up their doors to help recovering addicts find a job. People are now more sympathetic of what recovering addicts have been through and there are movements specifically aiming to help someone get back into a normal life. Additionally, there are plenty of laws in place that are anti-discriminatory and protect the human rights of marginalized groups such as recovering addicts. With the rise of social media, people are also becoming more educated on issues such as injustice and prejudice, and numerous resources are available to help the public understand the struggles of a recovering addict and how friends and family can help them. People have begun to see recovering addicts in less of a negative light and start appreciating them for willingly putting themselves through a tough experience on the road to recovery, which is a great step forward from even last century, where people were much less accepting of marginalized groups, outcasts and various physical and mental health issues. As such, it can be said that the social injustice recovering addicts would have dealt with in an earlier era has been greatly lessened in our modern world.
To sum up, it is undeniable that addicts recovering from drug or alcohol use will probably still deal with social injustice in varying degrees. After all, it would take a gargantuan effort to remove every person’s preconceived notions and assumptions about those who are different from them, and there are still those who harbor negative views toward certain groups of people. However, the extent of our society’s social injustice is probably much less than it would have been in the past, owing in part to the progression of human rights and increased public awareness regarding marginalized groups. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but as progression continues to improve, one might wonder if social injustice can ever be completely eradicated.