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 Post subject: stigma
PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:26 pm 
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lizzieshug2013 wrote:
. As you know, pregnant women/moms with addiction issues are some of the most stigmatized, and often most fearful, groups in society, at times even looked down upon by fellow addicts. Your input here can help to change that, and give at least some comfort to them.

You said it Elizabeth! When I was pregnant and just working SO hard to safely get off opiates for my baby's sake (I could have cared less about myself at that point), I remember being in group therapy one day and this big "jerk" of an addict who was new whispered to the guy next to him loudly enough that I could hear him in an accusatory tone "Is she PREGNANT?"

:evil: Urrrg!!! I wanted to leap across the room (all 2 tons of me- hahaha) and strangle him! "Yes, I am" I replied clearly and calmly looking him straight in the eyes....he didn't say much for the rest of the hour.

No one "wants" or "plans" to be pregnant and addicted, but it happens, and when it does we end up with double the guilt and shame.

One day our counselor asked the group "who in your opinion is the WORST person here". In a room full of crack, heroine, meth, etc. addicts, I (who had checked myself in and was medically tapering off oxy) answered, "Me. I have TWO lives I am risking."

I believed it, and no one argued with me.

My heart just goes out to all the women who post in this section (original post in suboxone and pregnancy section), and I am also very happy to see a caring professional nurse post to also give these moms and moms-to-be some solid factual information and support!!

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Last edited by ButterFLYING! on Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:50 pm 
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It's a really horrible stigma. I can't imagine. my own opioid addiction began after my kids were born. You never hear of people giving a woman with diabetes or hypertenstion or other medical conditions that have behavioral components flak for being pregnant. Addiction is also a disease with behavioral components, but in my opinion, it's awful, but all too common, to judge a woman who is in treatment, trying to do what's best and having a baby. A time during a woman's life that is supposed to be the happiest and most exciting quickly turns into a nightmare scenario of guilt and worry. It doesn't seem fair, and I don't think that this unfair treatment would fly if other diseases or disorders were substituted for addiction in pregnant women.
I wonder if people would look at a pregnant woman with bipolar disorder taking antidepressants with such disdain, or a pregnant woman taking insulin for her diabetes with such disgust, or automatically assume that she's unfit as a mother?
I'm left wondering how we can change things. I know that making sure people have access to accurate information and patients get access to adequate treatments, but what more can be done?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:44 pm 
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lizzieshug2013 wrote:
I'm left wondering how we can change things. I know that making sure people have access to accurate information and patients get access to adequate treatments, but what more can be done?


That's a very good question (and I love a good question!) :D
I think it is kind of a human rights issue, and Harvey Milk (the first openly gay politician) comes to mind. At a time when there was SO much more discrimination against gays than there is today, he encouraged people to "come out" to everyone around them (family, friends, colleagues) so heterosexuals would understand that homosexuals were "everywhere" and that they were just everyday human beings like them.

So, I guess part of the "solution" might be for those (probably "millions") of us who are on solid ground, in recovery to "band together" and "come out" as addicts to help educate the general public (like Dr. J has done). Of course we'd face a lot of fear and discrimination before the "average" joe would become educated and accepting...and of course some people will always stay ignorant and judgmental.

And IMO we would also need a strong, BRAVE, charismatic, popular leader like Harvey Milk (who ended up having to sacrifice his life) to start the revolution....any takers?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:24 pm 
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Yes BF, he's an excellent example of what it takes to break down stereotypes, and stigma. As for myself, in my life, I'm very open about my addiction and subsequent recovery, and am very vocal about the fact that I use medication as part of my recovery process. Willing to give my life for the cause, hmm?... not so much (lol). .... glad I finally found suboxone and my doctor to save it actually! : ) Most people don't understand medication assisted treatmentand think that is just replacing one addiction for another, so it gives me an opportunity to educate them a little bit and I've found that most people are very receptive to learning about it. I've even encountered people who thought that methadone and crystal meth were the same thing! There's a serious lack of correct information out there, to say the least.

I live in a very small community and most people already know that I had a problem with drugs, and know I don't anymore But don't know what I did to stop, so I don't mind telling when asked. Currently there is an absolute epidemic of opioid addiction where I live, & very few people whose lives haven't been touched by addiction, and sadly, very few treatment options.
Even 12 step meetings are nearly an hour away. I personally drive over 2 hours one way every 2 weeks to see my sub doc/psychiatrist. There's only one suboxone prescribing doctor within an hour of me, and he's been booked solid at his cap for years. It's my hope that by telling people, many of whom I know are addicted,or have addicted family members, that maybe they'll want to give sub a try, and the demand for more treatment will give way to more treatment centers and prescribing doctors.

I realize of course that there will always be those who choose to remain ignorant, ie; NIMBYs, but perhaps if more people talk about this issue openly, the shame and stigma attached will dissapate over time and more people will have access to education and treatment. Excellent point BF! Let's talk about this problem!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:03 pm 
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lizzieshug2013 wrote:
but perhaps if more people talk about this issue openly, the shame and stigma attached will dissapate over time and more people will have access to education and treatment. Excellent point BF! Let's talk about this problem!


Well I really admire your courage , self confidence, and sense of civic duty in openly discussing your addiction and recovery treatment! You are a strong woman! Bravo! Keep it up!

Since I was not taking my subs prescribed (hence "illegally"), and I am an educator in a mid-sized community where I usually run into families I know every time I go out, I am not so brave and strong just yet. And NO ONE (except my husband who is prescribed the subs) has ANY idea I am an addict. (Diagnosed PTSD, but basically same behaviors, at least in my case).

I sure wish I could be a "non anonymous" voice for change in attitudes towards addiction, but the timing is just not right for me yet, but I do believe I will get there. I love to write, and I love to read other people's personal stories of overcoming adversity, so maybe "someday" I'll openly share my story that way, by writing about it....but not just yet....still too newly in recovery (again!) and also afraid of losing my job and/or being "hung" in the local media. Every time a teacher has any indiscretion with the law it is "big news" here....kind of like being publicly shackled in the dark ages! Lol- but true!

SO, I'm no Harvey Milk either!! lol

But I DO believe that if enough of us speak out, people's attitudes will change as they become more well educated and less fearful.

(Sorry to have temporarily hijacked your thread GiveMeHope! How are you doing??)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:04 am 
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Stigma... We all are dealing with it. Shame and Guilt too.
I think B F nailed it. We need to stand up. It isn't easy but I've just done it here in my town in our local N A fellowship. After 3 years I'm no longer a member. Because of my sub treatment. Fine..

I want to point out to anyone out there that there is an organization called Faces and Voices. Find them on FB or Google it.
Also check out the film The Anonymous People " like Harvey Milk and Magic Johnson, these folks are doing the same for people in recovery. No this is not a aa/no movie. It doesn't bash anyone really. I must see I believe. And you can join them. 23million strong in the US alone. I hope you all take a look. We are not alone in all of this..
Take care all of you. And best of luck... . Razor...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:12 pm 
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I'm sorry razor, that your NA fellowship isn't accepting of your sub treatment. That's a real shame! We need to stand together and show our numbers and get our message out. Addiction is a disease! There are many paths to recovery, and only we can define for ourselves individually what that is, or means to each of us! Btw, The anonymous people. ....excellent film. I also highly recommend seeing it. Thanks razor!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:12 pm 
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razor55 wrote:
Stigma... We all are dealing with it. Shame and Guilt too.
I think B F nailed it. We need to stand up. It isn't easy but I've just done it here in my town in our local N A fellowship. After 3 years I'm no longer a member. Because of my sub treatment. Fine..

I want to point out to anyone out there that there is an organization called Faces and Voices. Find them on FB or Google it.
Also check out the film The Anonymous People " like Harvey Milk and Magic Johnson, these folks are doing the same for people in recovery. No this is not a aa/no movie. It doesn't bash anyone really. I must see I believe. And you can join them. 23million strong in the US alone. I hope you all take a look. We are not alone in all of this..
Take care all of you. And best of luck... . Razor...


Hey Razor,
Good for you also for standing up for yourself. I will check out the organization and the movie.

Maybe we should continue this discussion in another thread somewhere else? Not sure, but I had another story / thought about "stigma" I wanted to share, so here goes;

Why is it that hospital facilities for addicts look so DEPRESSING? At least that was my experience when I sought treatment at a very reputable hospital in one of America's largest cities. Aren't we depressed enough to begin with?

This was 12 years ago, so maybe things have changed, but I also delivered my son in the very same hospital, and the maternity ward was so cheerful, "shiny and new" looking- I couldn't believe it was the same organization!

Now I'm sure rehabs for the rich and famous are much nicer, but the contrast at that particular hospital just screamed "addicts don't deserve any better"! KWIM?

Also, a few days after I finished treatment, before my son was born, I had made cookies for all the staff on the addiction treatment floor- it was a very small act of gratitude- they had truly helped save my life and that of my child.

Anyway, I was in the elevator with one other person and pushed the button for that floor. The man standing next to me looked at me with my tray of cookies and pregnant stomach and sneered "I know where you are going".....

At the time I was still pretty shaky so said nothing, but to this day I wish I would have "educated" this person. I'm pretty sure he didn't suspect that I was an addict, just that I was visiting that floor, but I should have told him the truth and at least tried to "enlighten" him...at the very least his condescending tone and sneer should not have gone unchallenged.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:38 am 
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razor55 wrote:
I want to point out to anyone out there that there is an organization called Faces and Voices. Find them on FB or Google it.
Also check out the film The Anonymous People " like Harvey Milk and Magic Johnson, these folks are doing the same for people in recovery. No this is not a aa/no movie. It doesn't bash anyone really. I must see I believe. And you can join them. 23million strong in the US alone. I hope you all take a look. We are not alone in all of this..
Take care all of you. And best of luck... . Razor...


Hey Trainer if you are reading this ^^^^^^^. This might be a great organization to help market your "I Made It Through Detox and All I Got Was This T-Shirt" idea!
(lol, but I still honestly think that was a great, funny idea! And you said yourself that you would wear one!)

Imagine if you even make $1 a shirt and a million or two buy one!? Better jump on that idea quick before someone else does! :D

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