When you understand the depth of someone’s wounds, then you can see him from a different perspective
In the past, addicts have been portrayed negatively. Some people see addicts as selfish people who do not care about the needs of those they hurt; other people see addicts as moral inferiors who choose low ethical path; still others view addicts as helplessly incurable, beyond the ability to help.
However, as addiction science has grown, recovery specialists have learned that most addicts have wounds that need emotional and sometimes physical healing. The pain of past mistakes, trauma or abuse often create deep emotional wounds that many addicts try to numb with drugs rather than addressing through treatment. Knowing this information can help people who love, work with or treat addicts be more understanding.
If you understand that addicts are wounded people, then you may experience the following benefits:
- A different perspective. When you understand the depth of someone’s wounds, then you can see him from a different perspective. Rather than seeing him as a selfish, self-centered drug user who is oblivious to the pain he causes, you can see him as a hurting person who is using drugs to numb his pain. He is not trying to cause pain, but rather to escape his own.
- Greater patience. Seeing an addict as a wounded person can yield an extra measure of grace when someone makes mistakes. Understanding a person’s history or current situation may elicit empathy, which helps you resist the temptation to lash out in frustration.
- Stronger empathy. You may have had a judgmental attitude toward addicts before knowing that addicts are wounded people—you may have thought addicts had poor self-control or that they lacked moral fiber. However, seeing how an addict’s wounds occurred may force you to recognize those same wounds in your own life. You can readily relate to drug users if you have been on similar paths.
Knowing that a friend or loved one is using drugs to avoid dealing with deep wounds may help you move beyond judgment to mercy. You will recognize the humanity that you both share, as well as the fact that all people—sober and addicts alike—share a universal need for love and acceptance. With the right understanding, you can help drug users get and stay clean.