The Fear of Dealing with Addiction in the Public Eye

Does it make a difference when your addiction is made public?

Addiction has an insidious way of creating shame and dealing with it can heighten feelings of personal and professional embarrassment. For many, dealing with an addiction by seeking professional help is a private matter. However, for others, seeking help may inevitably become a matter of public information.

Keeping it Quiet

Famous athletes and celebrities are good examples of what publicized addiction looks like, but not all public knowledge comes from tabloid headlines. In fact, a large segment of people are forced to treat addiction in the public eye, thanks to professional careers.

Although dealing with addiction publicly may present additional challenges, fears and setbacks during recovery, it’s important to recognize the possible life-saving benefit of acquiring and sustaining sobriety – no matter who’s watching.

Lawyers, judges, business executives, doctors, nurses, airplane pilots and childcare professionals are only a few of the professions in which individuals may need to face an addiction publicly, at least in a professional capacity.

Unfortunately, many professionals and executives feel that the stigma of addiction will overshadow their training and talents once “unmasked.” As a result, that fear causes some of the most talented and successful individuals to resist treatment.

In reality, addiction only overshadows a person’s capabilities and potential. For example, the merit of a lawyer is judged by his or her problem-solving skills and intellectualism, much like a judge is characterized by their skills of discernment and logical reasoning.

Fear of Losing it All

If you’re a successful professional who’s forced to deal with addiction publicly, it’s natural for you to fear that your professional abilities will be questioned. In truth, you may have to work at repairing your name.

However, your decision to recover from addiction is a personal one; public opinion is for others to resolve. Much like the professional success you fought so hard to achieve, your recovery takes courage, resilience and persistence.

Fortunately, many rehabilitation centers cater to professionals. These specialized treatment programs address unique issues like attending disciplinary hearings, becoming involved with profession-advocacy programs and facing state licensure boards. Most of these programs also provide you with referrals and input as necessary.

Despite how it feels right now, you do have options. And keep this one thing in mind:
Public opinion is fleeting; your personal life will last a lifetime.

Learn more about helping a drug-addicted loved one.

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