Does Addiction Diminish Your Worth?

“You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.” ―Wayne W. Dyer

Confident and unperturbed, the little flower (this one the size of a pencil eraser) never imagines that it’s not beautiful.

It just is.

And it will contentedly shine from its little crevice because . . . well, why wouldn’t it?

Your addiction doesn’t make you any less than someone else. At the very least, it makes you stronger than someone else.

Your higher power (however you understand God) wanted you strong. That’s why He gave you this addiction. Like a muscle grows stronger by being broken down, God gave you an addiction to assure your growth. Has your addiction broken you down?

It’s now your choice whether you develop and grow.

Like the tiny flower pictured above, you must send down deep roots to support yourself while you strain toward the light. But it’s your choice! Will you continue to surrender your right to your addiction? Will you get back up each time you relapse? Or does a slip (or full-on crash) mean there’s no point in continued progression?

Will you treat yourself with kindness, patience, and compassion by believing that you have just as much worth as someone else because of your addiction?

Addiction’s Stigma

Whether you have an addiction or not, it’s the way you judge addicts that largely creates the stigma that weighs so heavily on their sense of self-worth. It’s how we talk (and think) of addicts that lead them to internalize and believe our judgments.

(Even when we’re the addict and the talking and thinking is about ourself.)

All of us carry a responsibility to take care of others. It’s our duty to lift the fallen. If we count ourselves as good, we must do our part to soothe others’ pain.

Every one of us is privileged with something:

  • strength and health
  • knowledge
  • love from others
  • patience for others
  • food
  • financial means
  • a gentle touch

There are many other examples of privilege, and every one of us has some of it. God, society, and our own consciences require us to bear others’ burdens to the extent that we have some kind of advantage. It’s not your place to point a finger at the privileged — just share your own.

The first person you owe compassion and understanding to is yourself!

That’s how you’re going to fight the stigma of addiction and recognize your beautiful strength and incredible worth.

Focus on your own privilege instead of your victimization. Your worth is great. Share it with others, but you must with start with recognizing it in yourself.

And just like the little flower, don’t question your worth . . . just let it show in your countenance . . . because it’s there!

One day at a time!

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A briefer version of this piece was first published on Kevin Bergen’s Instagram account on 4/23/2020. Follow Kevin @kb_photoart

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To view Kevin Bergen’s other photographic work, visit www.BERGENphotography.com

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