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Learning Trust to End Stigma: SPEAK OUT!

Brian McCollom Addict addiction anonymity honest illicit Lifestyle mental health Recovery reliability speak out stigma trust truth

Trust doesn’t come easy. Throughout addiction we lose trust in others, from others, and in ourselves. The problem when we get clean is the fact that we always feel like we need to do better. We want to be better.

With that being said, we have an incessant need to say I’m sorry. This comes with the fear that others are still rejecting us even when we’re trying to get clean. This is a feeling that we need to move past. We have to work toward earning our loved ones’ trust back. We have to teach ourselves how to trust ourselves again as well.  The two go hand in hand. As we begin to trust ourselves, it shows. People around us will pick up on that — it will allow them to open up their minds to trusting us again.

(To obtain a better understanding as to why we relentlessly apologize in early recovery, check out this link — )

Lost trust can be the result of multiple situations. We do many things in our addiction that we won’t approve of, once we are looking for the sense of recovery. I’m here to tell you that it gets better. We must begin ourselves… I know, I know you hear that a lot.

There will be times that we struggle with the good and evil in our own minds. Compare those moments to those of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.When we struggle between the past and the present (Dr. Jekyll vs. Mr. Hyde), we begin to see what points in our life need the most attention. Although these may seem like negative moments, trust me when I say that they are beneficial!

(For more on the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenario go here– )

When we bring these things that we need to work on into light, here are some positive tips:

1) Listen to others
a. Be open minded to what they are saying
b. Accept it even though you don’t have to agree with it

Realize that you’ve been out of the loop for a while. Our lives have been trapped in the past but sober-minded individuals have been moving forward; they tend to have a better sense of direction. This brings forth the next tip:

2) Gain insight from those who have been there and done that
a. Trust individuals who know your situation
b. Know that they’ve felt your pain and know how to move passed it

This is paramount to becoming able to trust yourself, is trusting those who have a sense of where you’ve been and how to get passed it.

3) Hold yourself reliable with actions and thoughts
a. Maintaining reliability is a crucial part of the process of recovery — it is crucial to gaining peace of mind within ourselves
b. The more we go through with the positive actions that are meant to guide us to a healthy lifestyle, the more we gain the trust of others

4) Always be honest
a. Honesty grants us freedom
b. It continues to build trust between yourself and others
If we can find ways to break the barriers in our mind that are holding us back, we may all be able to find ways to break the stigma. If we break the stigma and speak up and speak out about our addiction (and others do the same), we will be unstoppable.

Anonymity has been a trait that many wish to seek but I’m here to tell you half the promise of being honest is that you will finally be able to talk about the things that are holding you back. The battle of ending the stigma will come from building trust but it will take a lot of speaking out and taking part in breaking the anonymity.

5) Break the anonymity
a. If we are able to talk openly about our addictions, past or present, this will build trust with ourselves, others, and the world
b. Building trust with the world is the ideal level of trust to build because this is the area we must live in and are surrounded in
c. Not everyone goes through addiction struggles, we are a unique breed so if we all talk about this openly, we will be able to trust EVERYONE

8) Trust everyone you can, leave the rest/ versus trust no one

9) Trust the world with guiding a path /escape from inward thinking

10) End the stigma / Break the cycle!

How can help be created if no one knows the actual struggle?  The time to speak up is now. If the silence is withheld and we bottle our emotions, it makes people think what THEY want to think, not what you (the one struggling) is thinking.

If they were to know your struggle, know you are a person, know you are human, the stigma would be broken.

If we speak up the struggle becomes real.  With this we set ourselves up for a mutual trust to those who don’t understand, which is where the stigmatization lies.  By giving the struggle a piece of our humanity we are able to shed light to the thought that this is a humanly struggle just like any other ailment.

We are able to break the stigma by giving those who don’t understand, or choose not to, a peace of mind through our vision.  This is the essence of building social bonds.  This is how trust is built.

In my efforts to SPEAK UP and SPEAK OUT, I wrote a book titled “Illicit: Life in the Eyes of an Addict.”  No sugar coating the truth. All real. All trust between me and the world.  This is what we as addicts go through.  No more shall I remain nameless.  No more shall I remain anonymous.  Today I break the stigma.

For the link to my work, and all awareness writing click the insertion I put on my book title for a redirection to my spot on the site where the book is featured.


To speak out on your cause email me at to share your story with us and get it featured on our site!

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