One of the challenges of rehab and recovery from substance abuse and addiction is the stigma that the addict can face. Even though the addict is seeking help for their addiction and may have entered recovery and found sobriety once more, they can find themselves being judged negatively by others for their prior experiences as an addict. This can be true even in Christian recovery, where some in the local faith community may be less forgetful of past sins than they’re meant to be.

But the addict can find lasting acceptance and overcome stigma in Christian recovery if they can encourage compassion and understanding.

The negative stereotype of Christians is a lack of empathy and understanding for those who have made mistakes in the past, even if they have left such lifestyles behind. This “holier-than-thou” perception of Christians as puritanical killjoys who judge everyone around them and find them wanting is a common perception of the faith in many circles.

It cannot be denied that some in the faith community can be just that, but there are many others who put the lie to such a cliche. And with their help, the recovering addict can work to overcome the stigma of addiction and find lasting recovery in an encouraging community of fellow believers.

The stigma of addiction is hardly just a problem in religious circles. Many have a tendency to judge those who previously struggled with substance abuse, seeing them as broken in some way and expecting them to fall into old habits of addiction at any moment. They see addiction as an active choice, rather than a chronic illness, and can hold past mistakes against the recovering addict even after treatment.

Overcoming Stigma in Christian Recovery: Encouraging Compassion and Understanding

Christian recovery should be above such things, however. Much as God is meant to forget all sins once forgiveness is asked, the Christian should be able to show compassion and understanding to the recovering addict, rather than holding past mistakes against them.

True Christian recovery emphasizes this aspect of the process, encouraging the patient to leave behind the shame and guilt of past mistakes and in turn avoid the stigma of others’ judgment.

At Good Landing Recovery, which has a faith-based approach to treatment for addiction, Christian recovery and the accompanying rejection of stigma is an important part of the treatment process.  Understanding and compassion are built into the institutional approach to rehab treatment there, ensuring stigma is rejected by all involved.

There’s no reason to fall into the trap of allowing the judgment of others to create a spiral of guilt and shame into an overall stigma that can lead to catastrophic relapse and a loss of sobriety. The patient cannot avoid such stigma from all corners, of course, but by seeking out people who show a healthy Christian attitude to the recovering addict’s recovery process, a better result can be achieved.

The stigma of addiction can be a difficult hurdle to clear for the recovering addict, but with a good Christian recovery approach, such as that at Good Landing, understanding and compassion can win the day and allow the patient to overcome stigma at last.