There was a time, not too long ago, when an individual who went to rehab was stigmatized. The general public believed that this individual must have fallen into one of several categories:
- Out of control or incorrigible
- A criminal
- “An idiot”
- A bum
Thankfully, times have changed.
Education and Media Attention Have Taken Away the Stigma of Rehab
Everyone has problems. Life in our modern society isn’t easy. Some people have financial difficulties. Others have trouble managing children, aging parents and full-time careers. Some have drug and alcohol issues that need to be addressed. Thanks to prominent media campaigns and profound educational efforts over the years, when an individual chooses recovery over addiction, they are generally applauded for their decision, rather than chastised.
Recovery Success Stories - The Comeback Kids
There are several notable individuals who have made the decision to change their lives, despite what the “world” might think of them.
- Robert Downey, Jr.
Acclaimed actor Robert Downey, Jr. was exposed to drugs from a very early age, and ultimately faced several felony charges. Addicted to heroin and given a sentence that included a forced stint in rehab, he has since chosen to live his life in sobriety. He is the star of the Iron Man franchise of major motion pictures, and his career and personal life have thrived due to his good choices. In fact, his choice to actively participate in his own recovery, regardless of whether the choice to enter rehab was his, have brought him to the point of being a role model for millions of fans around the world.
- Robin Williams
The energetic and award-winning comedian Robin Williams was a close friend to another world-famous comedy icon, John Belushi who died of a drug overdose in 1982. Shortly after the tragic death of his friend, Mr. Williams entered rehab voluntarily for cocaine and alcohol addiction. His career, at this point, was on an upswing. He was the very popular Mork on the television program Mork and Mindy and had starred in the major motion pictures Popeye and The World According to Garp.
Had Robin Williams worried about the stigma that may have been attached to his choice to enter rehab, attempting instead to stop using drugs and alcohol on his own, he may not have succeeded. He may have even succumbed to the same violent and tragic death of his friend, Belushi. Robin Williams is also proof that everyone is human. Years after successfully completing drug and alcohol rehab, he began drinking again. He immediately entered another rehab program, this time more visibly while at the top of his world-renowned career and saved himself once more.
Whether a stigma is attached to drug or alcohol rehab isn’t really the question. The question is whether there is a stigma attached people who choose to use drugs and alcohol rather than making the decision to save their lives, the lives of others they may affect, and to make a difference in their own corner of the world.