Tips to Effectively Deal with Others During Dual Diagnosis

If you have a dual diagnosis, you more than likely already know how cruel people can be. Those who suffer from substance abuse and a mental health disorder are often looked upon in a disparaging light, subject to hurtful comments and rude behavior. Some of this you may know all too well. That’s the reality, but what is the solution, you may ask? Not to worry. We will give you some useful suggestions on how you can fight the stigma of dual diagnosis treatment.

Words are just words, so let them bounce. The power of the human language is such that single words can wound us terribly or lift us up and give our imagination flight. They can lay us low, mourn our plight, or inspire our renewed efforts to push forward in our recovery to the maximum of our abilities.

When you hear someone say something that you know is directed at you or about your dual diagnosis, it will be very helpful if you can adopt the attitude that allows you to let them bounce right off you. Words have no sticking power if you don’t let them. You can be like Teflon, so that hurtful words and phrases, awful names, and such have nowhere to latch on.

Granted, this takes a bit of doing, in fact, a lot of doing. But think of the benefits of not internalizing negative comments.

  • By letting harmful comments and names sail away, you aren’t sidetracked from your current recovery efforts.
  • When you’re not distracted by something bad others say about or to you, you have more energy to devote to what’s best for your recovery in the here and now.
  • Not allowing negative statements by others access to your thoughts and emotions means you can concentrate more fully on doing the positive activities you’ve set out in your recovery plan.
  • Positive overrules negative in all situations – the more positively you can view yourself and your situation, the better you feel about yourself and your situation.
  • The sticks and stones of others’ cruelty to you leaves no residue if you refuse its entrance. Be more like an armadillo, with a tough, thickly armored exterior – who’s going to penetrate this superb wall of defense?

You need to find a role model. Whatever your dual diagnosis, in your days during treatment or afterward during 12-step meetings, you have undoubtedly encountered one or more individuals that struck you as someone whose behavior you wanted to model. It could be how they managed to raise themselves up from a disastrous situation despite herculean odds and went on to become happy, productive, energetic, and successful in their long-term recovery.

You need a role model. You need someone who can inspire you. Chances are, it will be someone you meet in the rooms of the fellowship meetings. It may be your 12-step sponsor. This is just a suggestion, of course.

You may not interact that closely with the person you choose as a role model – and there is nothing that says you have to. Just modeling your behavior after someone who is made it against the odds or who carries himself/herself as you would like to is a good place to start.


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