It is easy for those with little or no experience of addiction to make judgements about those who are living with devastating alcohol or drug addictions. There is a certain stigma attached to these illnesses, and many people have their own idea of what it means to be addicted. Only those with real experience know the truth.

The stigma and stereotyping associated with addiction mean that many of the individuals affected will never get the help they need. With society as a whole believing that addiction is something that affects those who are weak or who have a particular character flaw, it is easy to see why so many addicts are ashamed and embarrassed about their illness; and why so many would rather try to hide their illness than admit to it.


Family members and friends of those with addictions are often left devastated by the illness that has gripped their loved one. They will watch this person change before their eyes, knowing that there is nothing they can do about it. Loved ones will often get desperate and will beg and plead with the addict to get help, but until that person is ready to change, nothing can be done to improve the situation. It is heart-breaking.

The family of a heroin addict who recently appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show know exactly what it is like to watch someone you love descend into a downward spiral of addiction. Joel appeared on the show with his brother, sister and mother, who were all there to try to get him to accept help for his illness.

His family spoke of how Joel had been happy and carefree before succumbing to heroin at the age of sixteen. Joel had previously been filmed describing what he has been through as a heroin addict, and this left his family visibly shocked.

As he begs on the streets, he admits that most of the money he gets is used to buy crack cocaine and heroin. He said, “I’ve sold myself to get heroin and crack. It makes me feel so dirty. I find it so hard life in general. I just want to feel normal.”

He admitted that when asked if he wanted to have sex with a man for money, he initially said no, but then realised it meant ‘easy money’. He said the man gave him £20, which was enough for him to get a fix. Nevertheless, Joel stated that he stopped selling his body for sex after he was raped.


Joel’s family begged him to get his life back on track and pleaded for him to attend rehab. Joel was offered a twelve-week stay at a residential detox and rehabilitation centre by the show. He was also offered a place in supportive housing once he completed his programme of treatment.

While Joel’s family expressed their thanks for the offer, Jeremy said to Joel, “I’m fed up of laying out thousands of pounds of rehab to people who throw it back in my face. This is the only chance you will get. Unless you do this, you are going to die.”

Joel’s family also gave him an ultimatum and told him that unless he completed the programme, they would ‘wash their hands of him’. Sadly, he managed just two weeks of rehab before checking out.

Addiction Help

The above story shows that no matter how much you want an addicted loved one to get help for addiction unless this person is ready to change, there is nothing you can do. You cannot force someone to want to get better; he or she must make this decision themselves.

It is a sad truth, but addiction is a terrible illness that takes hold of those affected, and it is extremely difficult to break free. Nonetheless, here at Recovery Lighthouse, we know that it is not impossible; we have helped many addicts to overcome their illness, and we can help you too. Call today for more information.