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If there’s one thing many of us in the recovery community can relate to, it’s the weight of stigma surrounding addiction. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but it’s a reality we face.

I still remember a time, a few years ago, when I was attending a community gathering. I felt in high spirits, having recently celebrated a milestone in my sobriety. But as the evening progressed, I overheard a group discussing addiction in hushed voices, painting it with a broad brush of judgment and misunderstanding.

I felt a familiar sting—a blend of hurt, anger, and a hint of shame. But instead of letting it fester, I decided to approach the group, share my story, and offer a perspective they might not have considered before. The response? Mixed. Some seemed appreciative, others uncomfortable, but the majority were genuinely curious, asking questions and showing empathy.

It was a simple act, but it reminded me of a valuable lesson: While we can’t control the judgments of others, we can control our response. And sometimes, the best way to challenge stigma is with open conversation, compassion, and a willingness to educate.

It’s not always easy, and not every situation calls for it. But remember this: Your story is powerful, and by sharing it, you have the potential to change perspectives and reduce the stigma for others walking the same path.

If you’ve faced judgment and have found ways to rise above it or if you’re struggling and need some guidance, let’s chat.

Best,

Ben Randolph

503-901-1836