All posts by Safe House Wellness Retreat


1943 – 1970 (27)
Janis Joplin was an American singer-songwriter, most noted for her solo work in the late ’60s.

After spending time in New York City, Joplin developed an amphetamine habit in 1966. She joined the band Big Brother & the Holding Company shortly thereafter and continued on a downward spiral of drug use and alcoholism.

On October 4th, 1970, Janis Joplin was found dead in a
Hollywood hotel room. Her death was caused by a heroin overdose.

Janis Joplin never attended a rehabilitation centre.




JANIS JOPLIN – Musician was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by Safe House Wellness Retreat

Addiction, a Stigma

The word Stigma means a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person.

Social stigmas are a way of people to judge others based on a certain belief they hold, regardless of whether it’s been proven wrong. In the case of addiction, many still believe it’s a reflection of a person’s character like weakness, delinquency or gullibility. On the contrary, science has long since proven that addiction is a disease of the brain.

Addiction is a “primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry,” as described by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The National Institute on Drug Abuse in the US also defines addiction as a ‘chronic, relapsing brain disease” that changes the structure and functionality of the brain. So why do so many people still think of addicts as drunks, crackheads or junkies?

Unfortunately, these perceptions have existed for as long as there have been addicts. Governments often treat drug addicts as criminals and even some in the rehab community use terms like “dirty” urine, which helps propagate these stigmas.

Employers often fire employees who are addicted, insurance companies often refuse to cover treatment or demand higher premiums, or add penalties and conditions to policies, to avoid the perceived risks. Families often try to hide their addicted loved ones from society to avoid tainting their standing, and in the hope the addict will grow out of it, or that the phase will pass. These perceptions lead to most people bullying or disrespecting addicts. This drives addicts deeper into their addiction as they feel cornered, misunderstood and ridiculed, or suffer from stress, pain and depression. And one of the worst consequences is that they will often refuse treatment, or leave it halfway, to prevent people from finding out their problem. This path can lead to overdosing and even suicide.

Now do you see why these stigmas are deadly?

Now, let’s look a little deeper into the worst ways that this stigmatization can affect those suffering from this disease, and what needs to be done to make things better.

Addicts avoid getting treated: If such a person gets into rehab, they believe, and rightly so, that society will start seeing them differently instead of commending them on taking the road to recovery. This, coupled with guilt, shame and the effects of stigma, leads the addicted to shy away from treatment. And this can be fatal. Without treatment, the chances of overdosing, depression and suicide grow by the day. Remove the misconceptions and the stigma and addicts would find it easier to find support.

Misperceptions of the medical community: As strange as this may seem, many doctors are not as well informed about addiction as you may think. Often, doctors recommend patients to 12-step programmes and support groups instead of directing them towards medical, evidence based resources. Such programmes have helped many addicts, but not all. Those who they can’t help find themselves lost with nowhere to go. It’s about time medical professionals started seeing addiction as the disease it is and send their patients to get better scientifically supported treatment.

Mental health personnel ostrasize addiction: Even psychiatrists and psychologists have a tendency of considering substance abuse patients to be untreatable and refuse to treat them before they get clean. This is such a massive problem because mental health issues may be the one of the causes of the addiction in the first place, or maybe psychological treatment is required for the patient to recover. Many clinicians dismiss what patients tell them and blame it on ‘just the drugs talking’. So you see? This helps no one. This way, the addiction stays and so do the mental diseases that could well be related to the addiction. Wouldn’t it be amazing if psychotherapists could consider substance abuse as a disease and equally worthy of treatment?

Addiction is considered a crime: In India, using drugs is illegal. This really is testament to how deeply ingrained this stigma against addiction is in our system. This in itself leads to insurance companies staying away from covering addicts and the lack of treatment, let alone subsidization of rehabilitation in our country. If we could somehow show our elected representatives the facts behind drug usage and addiction, there would be a massive change on how addicts are perceived and treated, don’t you think? But convincing them of these facts would be so difficult.

Stigmatization can continue, even during treatment: When a patient enrolls onto a rehab programme, they are very vulnerable. They’ve been fighting the addiction for so long that their guilt, shame and a feeling of failure becomes constant. Their brain chemistry has also been altered to such an extent that their mental health is very volatile. This makes it all the more important for recovery centres to be especially sensitive to their patients. If all the personnel don’t go through proper sensitization and training, some of them may hang on to the stigma attached to addiction. This could surface when they are interacting with the patient and reinforce the negative emotions the addict is already going through. So always make sure of the quality of the centre you are getting into and confirm that they take these factors into consideration and also involve the patient in their own recovery plan, like choosing modes of treatment and setting their own goals.

People in recovery are always under suspicion: Another serious problem is that people in rehab are still regarded as weak and susceptible to relapse. This would affect patients even after they leave the rehabilitation programme and start recovering at home. Every day, their family, friends and colleagues would question their ability to stay clean. These would act as constant hurdles for the ex-addict and sometimes hamper progress. Imagine how much quicker the person would recover without all the stigma he or she is faced with every day.

They confront stigma-based roadblocks constantly: People in receovery find it difficult to hold jobs, get welfare benefits or insurance, and so much more in addition to all the questions and criticism they have to face. Other who recover from disease feel proud that they had beaten back their illness. But those who went through addiction and recovery can’t raise their heads that high, as they always have to face the stigma that society holds for them.

But we must do something about this. Each one of us can contribute to spreading awareness of addiction and help society break free of its stigmas.

What we must do is talk about addiction and how it’s seen by society, and how it’s wrong. Show people how addiction is a disease and doesn’t reflect on the character of the person going through it. Rather, we need to support these people instead of shunning them. And, if you know someone who has an addiction, be supportive and make sure they know you understand what they’re going through.

We really hope this helps in opening minds, starting conversations and helping those suffering from addiction to come to terms with their condition. If you have any questions, please leave us your messages here. We really do try our best to help, and will get back with you as soon as we can!

Addiction, a Stigma was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by Safe House Wellness Retreat

Do you have a drinking problem? Identify symptoms and take treatment tips from Mr. SafeHandZ’ podcast.

Mr. SafeHandZ talks about a few fundamentals of alcohol addiction in the following podcast.

“According to NIAAA (National Institute of Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse), people that drink frequently, tend to accelerate their tolerance for alcohol over a period of time, resulting in consuming more in shorter time frames to reach the same level of euphoria they experienced initially. This eventually leads them into an addictive cycle that becomes very difficult to break away from. Christopher Hitchens, a journalist once observed that to recognize someone who exhibits the trait of an alcoholic, is to notice the way they start to make rules to control their own drinking habits.” 

Mr. SafeHandZ explains this further by giving a few simple examples of this behavioral  pattern. He says, “What you need to realize is that, when one tries to confront the issue of excessive drinking by creating boundaries for oneself, they only lead to occasional slip ups and disappointment. To convince oneself to have just one drink as a mark of celebration after a success, to have a drink or two before a social gathering to help you converse with ease, or something as simple as to not have a drink on certain days of the week, isn’t enough to tackle the problem of alcoholism.”

If any of the above mentioned scenarios seem relatively familiar, Mr. SafeHandZ suggests a few solutions to get you back on the right path.

1. You can take a quick self assessment test on the Safe House Wellness Retreat website to establish whether or not you have an existing alcohol problem in the first place. After the evaluation if required you have the option of speaking and getting guidance from experienced counselors , therapists and  psychologists in the rehabilitation centre through a video conferencing session that does not require you to step out of your comfort zone, and making it easier for you to seek professional guidance. This method of interaction by Safe House Wellness Retreat has been specially designed for people who do not necessarily need a residential program.

2. You can also consider undergoing their Intensive Outpatient Program (I.O.P.) that has been specially created to provide you with the advantage of personally interacting with professionals from at the Safe House Wellness Retreat facility. You can choose the time frame of each session before you visit the rehabilitation centre. These sessions could be for one hour or prolonged sessions over a few months that a lot of Safe House Wellness patients choose to attend, in order to stay clean.

3. And lastly one of the most important aspects of tackling addiction is to be equip with all the essential tools, to help a loved one accept their addiction and agree to get help to stay clean. For successful therapy education and awareness are key factors that bring addiction to the fore front and your understanding and training about the safe house family counseling and intervention program, will enable you to help your loved one and many more to successfully move forward.


Video Counseling

Intensive Outpatient Program (I.O.P.):

Family Counseling:

Do you have a drinking problem? Identify symptoms and take treatment tips from Mr. SafeHandZ’ podcast. was last modified: November 16th, 2015 by Safe House Wellness Retreat