A central goal of public recovery self-disclosure is to challenge myths and misconceptions about addiction and recovery through the elements of our personal stories. Recovery advocates must avoid contributing to false narratives by having selective parts of our stories appropriated while ignoring the central recovery message. Addiction/treatment/recovery-related social stigma and its untoward consequences rests on(……)

A central strategy of the new recovery movement is sharing our stories in public and professional venues to change public perceptions and public policies related to addiction and recovery. Drawing from earlier social movements, we learned that “contact strategies”—increasing personal contact between marginalized and mainstream populations—is one of the most effective means of reducing stigma(……)

The stigma attached to addiction, addiction treatment, and even addiction recovery is extended professionally and socially to those who choose to work in the addictions arena. Erving Goffman, the premier stigma theorist, referred to this as courtesy stigma—discredit extended to families and others closely linked to people with addiction disorders. It is common for addiction(……)

Stigma has many targets. It reaches beyond people addicted to various drugs to affect family members and those providing addiction treatment and recovery support services. Such secondary stigma, for example, is the source of the peculiar pecking order within the addictions field through which status (or stigma) is bestowed across varied settings based on one’s(……)

In 2007, the recovery advocacy movement was progressing beyond anyone’s expectations. Thousands were marching in recovery celebration events and each year the number of new local grassroots recovery advocacy organizations grew exponentially. I was being invited to speak across the country and my advocacy essays had just been published by the Johnson Institute. From pulpits(……)

            Carry the message. And if you must, use words.                         –Dr. Robert Smith, Co-founder, Alcoholics Anonymous    What can I do to help spur the development of recovery advocacy and new recovery support services within my local community? What can I do to support the larger cultural and political mobilization of people in recovery and(……)

Members of historically disempowered and stigmatized groups (e.g., women, people of color, members of the LGBT community, religious minorities, etc.) have long been subjected to overt aggression from the dominant cultures in which they are nested. Such aggression in the United States has encompassed genocidal campaigns (e.g., the “Indian Wars”), forced sequestration (e.g., Japanese-American encampment(……)

“How does it feel to be a problem…It is a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of the world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.”   –W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folks “I(……)

Defining addiction as a “chronically relapsing” condition, in spite of its advocacy by leading organizations in the addictions field (see here and here), has generated unintended but harmful consequences. Such language should be abandoned and replaced with words that more accurately depict the variable course of substance use disorders (SUDs) and that are more personally(……)