I’ll just straight say it: I haven’t felt this angry in a long time. Recently, I met a mother of an adult adopted son who told me a “friend” of hers said: “At least he’s not your real son” when this “friend” found out that the son was dealing with a substance use disorder.

Excuse me?

After all these years, and all the people I meet and treat, I remain baffled by the ignorance around both addiction and adoption. I am baffled because it seems that the world (or some of us in it) are more than happy to still divide humans into the ones who are somehow better than others because of their pedigree, genetic makeup, circumstances… I mean, this is nothing new and, of course, we live in the world where there are celebrities and princes, and countries where humans are divided into social casts, but that doesn’t mean that we’re off the hook when it comes to educating ourselves and evolving. Are people without substance use disorder better people? Are biological children somehow more important, more real children? It makes your (mine) head explode thinking this way. The stigma around adoption and addition is similar and systemic.

But what truly bothered me about that statement: “at least he’s not your real son” was the fact that that family’s suffering didn’t really count, that the mother’s pain wasn’t real because—what? She didn’t share genetic makeup with her child? Ridiculous. Idiotic. Ignorant. There are a lot of words I could apply to convey how such way of thinking (or lack of thinking) makes me feel. We cannot allow ourselves to think in such narrow ways, we cannot reject the way families are made, existing outside of the cookie-cutter model. That woman’s son and their pain (of dealing with addiction) is as real as it gets. The struggles and triumphs are true for everyone in that family and I wish they didn’t have to deal with the stigma of adoption on top of everything else, but there you have it. It’s an on-going battle—for acceptance, compassion and understanding. And that woman’s son was her real son—it doesn’t get any more real than trying to help your child deal with addiction.

#addictionrecovery #addictionmedicine #addictionpsychiatry #addiction #alcoholism #mindfulness #substanceusedisorders #psychotherapy #interventions #angst #connection #family #recovery #relationships #adoption #adopted #focusonthefamily

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