Comfort Food: No One Brings Dinner When Your Daughter is an Addict
By Larry M. Lake, Slate, November 8, 2013
Do you have a son or daughter who struggles with addiction? Do you feel free to talk about your child’s addiction and its effects on your family with your friends and neighbors? More often than not, the stigma surrounding addiction generates an unspoken rule: don’t talk about it. This unfortunate attitude can make families feel isolated from their community during a time when they most need support.
Messiah College professor Larry M. Lake writes poignantly of his own daughter’s experience with bipolar disorder and addiction:
“Friends talk about cancer and other physical maladies more easily than about psychological afflictions. Breasts might draw blushes, but brains are unmentionable. These questions are rarely heard: “How’s your depression these days?” “What improvements do you notice now that you have treatment for your ADD?” “Do you find your manic episodes are less intense now that you are on medication?” “What does depression feel like?” “Is the counseling helpful?” A much smaller circle of friends than those who’d fed us during cancer now asked guarded questions. No one ever showed up at our door with a meal.”
Recovering addicts face a double standard: they are told they must be open and honest about their addiction even as the world around them treats addiction as a dirty secret.
We encourage you—the addict’s family and friends—to talk with each other, to ask for and give support, and to help educate your community about addiction. Let’s replace fear with accurate information and replace shame with love. Doing so will improve the addict’s chances of a successful recovery.