When you hear the word “alcoholic” what do you think of?
Those who have little experience with substance abuse will likely picture a drunk living on the street or passed out in an alleyway. It’s rare that alcoholics fit this stereotype, but those who do tend to be the most public. The stigma that develops from the image of a drunk in an alleyway is detrimental to people in recovery for two reasons.
First, if they don’t fit that stereotype, it is easier for them to deny their own problem.
Second, they can be fearful of the judgment if they admit they are alcoholics and not seek the help they need. Some alcoholics avoid treatment for years because of denial. Acceptance is the only way to get them into treatment: both acceptance of self and acceptance of others.