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Separating the Person From The Illness

Oftentimes, it’s encouraged to extend compassion and exercise empathy for someone who is suffering substance use disorder, even after attending rehab in NJ. Like any illness or condition, it can happen to anyone…and by anyone this means terrible people, nice people, flawed people, passionate people, etc. One thing to remember, however, is that there is still a unique individual underneath the problems they face, a personality and sometimes, that person may not be good, despite going through addiction treatment in New Jersey.

Before continuing, it’s not to say that all people who end up with an addiction are inherently immoral or terrible people. This continues to be a trend left over from days before addiction was understood prior to neuroimaging and research learning more about how addiction changes the brain. That said, there are sometimes when a person underneath the addiction maybe wasn’t a great person to begin with, and it’s important to understand where the illness ends and the person begins.

One of the more notable instances of person buried underneath their substance use disorders is professional wrestler Jake “The Snake” Roberts. His battle with substance abuse is one of extreme tragedy that includes a climax at a pay-per-view where he was so high during the event that it took nearly the entire roster of the promotion to ‘save’ not only himself from danger, but his public image as well. Not only was he unable to comprehend the severe belligerence his actions displayed, but he also endangered the lives of his in-ring opponent for his match and finally had to be literally dragged out of the ring despite having barely even taken any kind of offense from his scheduled rival.

He famously faced his illness by agreeing to publicly document his treatment process and return to sobriety and regaining the mastery over his own autonomy over his drug use. His recovery was inspiring to not only his fans but others who either knew someone suffering from addiction or were suffering themselves. This story, however inspiring, was separate from who was just underneath the surface of the formerly non-stop intoxicated person.

Many reports started surfacing that after becoming clean, he still behaved like a jerk. One fan who had gone to his one-man-show said that Jake had made a special effort to invite people to talk about their battle with addiction with him while he was on stage only to tell this person to his face when he went to visit him after the show as encouraged, “Get out of here if you’re not going to buy any of my merchandise”.  

Once someone regains their sobriety, it’s okay to hold that person responsible for their sober actions and your own experiences with that person, if unpleasant, are okay to hang on them directly. Addiction isn’t an excuse to be a terrible person and if you know someone who, after getting clean, is a jerk, it’s perfectly okay to handle that situation the same way you would with any other person behaving that way.

Discovery Institute

Whether or not a person you know is personable, if they suffer from substance abuse disorder, they still deserve rehab from a New Jersey treatment center. Call 844-478-6563 to speak to a specialist about options today.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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