Sadly, Addiction remains a realm of judgment and shame

The other day, I overheard a couple of men standing outside of a Walgreens discussing their disgust aimed at a panhandler who literally was shaking out of his boots. “What a shame,” one of the men said. “That a person can become such a waste of life.”

“It’s disgusting,” his companion said.

I wanted to scream at each of them, but they got into a vehicle before I was close enough to do so. But, their ignorance was not lost on me.

There’s little doubt that a judgmental point of view can increase shame and is something that should be eliminated from any discussion, period. However, in looking at Addiction, judgmentalism appears to be the standard approach. That is, while people may see Addiction as a disease, they also tend to look at addicts as “bad.”

I see addicts as people who are suffering even if they aren’t aware of that suffering and I see it as everyone’s collective responsibility to eliminate as much suffering as possible. Some people recognize this responsibility and do what they can to ease others’ suffering. For those who work hard to be “rainbow in someone’s cloud,” I say: THANK YOU!

Other people, however, place themselves on a pedestal and deem those who struggle with an addiction as lower than their gilded heights. For them, all I can say is that your ignorance will reveal itself and probably cause some form of downfall. Really. I send light and love to you because the suffering you will experience as a result of your judgment upon others will be quite painful.

I’ve seen it dozens of times: People judge addicts without seeing their own role within someone else’s addiction. Even if you don’t know an addict, your judgment of addicts, in general, contributes to the shame that is so motivational within the addiction cycle that it’s an integral symptom and predictor that an addiction will continue.

The panhandler that disgusted those two men probably suffered from a mental health issue and used whatever substance (in this case, he did smell of alcohol), as a way to manage with that underlying issue. I’m almost certain that if those same men saw a man guzzling orange juice to mitigate a diabetic attack they would probably offer help. But, sadly, Addiction is a realm of judgment and shame and I implore everyone to at least take a look at their own self-righteousness and check it….



  1. Sad thing is that our government stopped helping with mental health issues by housing them in asylums. Even prisoners will be released if their health (mental or otherwise) will strain the prison system too much and just let out on the streets. More and more of the mentally challenged live on the streets, some even raised on the streets and know no other way of living. We all have our vices to survive. Food, sex, lovers, drugs, alcohol, anger. Us lucky ones, learn one way or another to live by society’s standards.
    Those men most likely judged him because they’ve never been in his “boots” or perhaps they had, but were able to get out of the situation with help of others. When our society stopped helping people like the man outside of Walgreens, our society produced more of them, more visible, coming out of the woodwork, because we don’t want to pay taxes, or have a institution set up in our area to help such people.
    Homeless is society’s problem as is mental health issues and addiction. We should treat addiction as a mental health issue and there would be less addiction, less over population of prisons, less crime, etc.
    Sorry to rant. 🙂 Loved your post, I was led to it, by Darell Grant reblogging it.


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