Why Language Matters in Addiction Recovery

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

Break the stigma

The language we use has an impact on our reputation and the way we feel about ourselves. It’s why using appropriate language is important in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to recovery. Sometimes, we may withhold information about our addictions for fear of the stigma it may bring. But, we must realize that being open and honest about our disease helps all people develop a deeper understanding of addiction that will open their minds to supporting more effective and compassionate treatments. The way we speak about ourselves also impacts our recovery. Language is much more important than we consider.

Positive Affirmations

Language is the liquid we are all dissolved in; that is to say the words we use are associated with who we are. For example, a person who is constantly self-deprecating could be viewed as depressed or self-loathing. But, in reality, this person may just be repeating something they heard from someone else, something that is part of their trauma or mental condition. We may not be aware of the words we use in regard to ourselves and our struggles.

Changing the language we use about ourselves is the first step in changing our state of mind. Use positive affirmations in regards to yourself. Give yourself credit where credit is due. Rather than focusing on what you have yet to complete or even where you’ve stumbled along the way, focus on what you can accomplish and your persistence in succeeding. Remember that recovery is not a linear journey and it looks different for everyone. 

Fighting Stigma

The language we use about substance abuse also helps fight stigma. There is a push in the professional community to label substance abuse as a disease. Although it’s an ongoing debate among psychiatrists and other clinical professionals, a consensus seems to be forming in that direction. An indication of this shift in perspective is reflected in the use of the term “substance use disorder” in place of “addiction” in many peer-reviewed journals. Using language that refers to substance abuse as a disorder may change public perception and at least create public discourse on the topic. 

We tend to overlook the language we use because it’s such a familiar part of our experience. Self-care involves an awareness of how we think or speak of ourselves and others. The words we chose do have an impact. We can help you learn to make that impact positive. At Avalon Malibu, we want you to be an active participant in your recovery. We provide our patients with services that improve their sense of self and help them re-connect with the mind, body, and spirit. Located on the breathtaking shore of Malibu, California, our world-renowned facility offers a full continuum of services to support you along every step of your recovery. Our commitment to offering diverse treatment options means that each person can enjoy a unique rehabilitation experience tailored to their individual needs. If you or someone you love is suffering from substance abuse, please don’t hesitate to call us today at (844) 857-5992.


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