Addiction and Recovery Myths
Addiction is very misunderstood in our society, to the detriment of many. With the many misconceptions come negative stigmas, or thoughts regarding addiction. These patterns of thought can create paradigms in society which can negatively influence a person’s judgement to get clean, or to even help those trying to get clean. The myths surrounding addiction need to be explored and discussed so addiction is no longer taboo. The more these topics are discussed and understood, the easier finding treatment options will be.
Myth 1: Addiction is a sign of weakness
This is a very common misconception in our society. It is very easy to fall in the trap of believing those that get addicted to substances are just mentally weak. Addiction is caused by chemical dependence within the brain. It is not a weakness or character flaw as some view it.
There are many difficulties in life that can lead people down the path to substance abuse and no one is completely immune to the possibility of succumbing to addiction. With so many potential triggers in our world, overcoming this dependence takes dedication and a willingness to change.
Those going through recovery are exceptionally strong individuals. It takes an immense character to be able to start on the path of recovery, and even stronger to stay the course of sobriety.
Myth 2: Addiction is a personal choice
It is true that the first few experiences with a substance are voluntary. Though this is the case, at a certain point, neurological remapping causes an addiction to occur. Once a person is in the grasps of an addiction, it is difficult to be released from its clutches.
As stated before, addiction is a chemical dependence from the brain. An addict’s brain and body structure has quite literally remapped to depend on the substance. Regardless of how terrible the results may be from using the substance, addicts are bound by it physically. It is possible to recognize or be told about the negative effects of addiction, and still be unable to leave its grip. While addiction is not a personal choice, getting sober is, and can be the best decision of a person’s life.
Myth 3: Addiction is obvious
A very common thought is that signs of addiction are very obvious. Since there are so many common and dramatic examples of addiction within our society it is easy to believe this is the true form of addiction.
This is not the case, individuals can hide their addiction very convincingly, from friends and loved ones, and even from themselves. It is easy for many people to choose their substance of choice and fall into the traps believing everything is fine.
Myth 4: Addicts can not maintain in Society
Coinciding with the previous point, another misconception is that addicts are unable to maintain relationships or hold a steady job. Many addicts believe that they do not have a substance issue because they are still able to maintain a job. An individual can still be an addict even if they are able to maintain good standing at their occupation. Justifications for abusing substances can fill an entire book, and this tops the list.
It is important to be honest while looking at what is going on in one’s life. Are there really no negative impacts from the substances being used? Chances are there is something in life that is falling out of place, and will only continue to get worse.
Myth 5: Every Addict deals with Addiction the same
Everyone deals with substance use differently. Some people are able to maintain for years while using the same substances that will send another to dark depths. Understanding how someone is affected by the substances used and what triggers an individual to use is very important to keep in mind to avoid a slip.
Myth 6: Once an addict always an addict
This maxim is misunderstood. Of course an addict always has a chance to fall down the spiral of substance abuse. It is important to look past the addiction and focus on the recovery. An addict should never forget their past, this is not what is suggested. It is important to remember past stumbles and the negative result from these actions, but focusing on the positive direction taken will keep one motivated on their path.
If there is a time when someone relapses, focusing on the negative of this can easily cause a chain reaction of continuous substance abuse. Accept that relapse is not only a possibility, but probable. Regardless of this, they are just bumps in the road. It is important to continue on the path of sobriety, remembering one is not an addict, but a recovering addict.
Myth 7: Alcohol Addiction is Not as Bad As Others
A common justification for excessive alcohol use is, “at least I am not doing substance x.” Of course there are many substances which can cause a more rapid decline than alcohol. Regardless, an alcohol addiction in itself can be life shattering.
Individuals addicted to drinking are far more likely to get behind the wheel and cause irreversible damage with an accident, or even simply getting a DUI. The ramifications from these incidents can destroy not only the user’s life, but also innocent individuals.
While the previous examples are extreme, different outcomes can cause just as damaging results. Comparing addictions does nothing other than create a justification for using. Regardless of the substance, if it is creating a negative paradigm in one’s life, it is time to change.
Myth 8: Addicts are bad people
A major misconception regarding addicts is they are bad people for being addicted to a substance. Again, addiction is a chemical dependence. Terrible actions can result from an addict’s actions, but typically these are a result from the substance that holds them.
People do not become addicts because they are bad people, but become bad people because of their addictions. This does not justify the negative actions taken, but hopefully can shed light on the infliction of being an addict.
Myth 9: Addicts need to hit rock bottom before seeking help
There is an idea that only once an individual has no lower to go is that the point to search for help. Any point in the progression towards addiction is the perfect time to search for help. Many people refuse to get help or justify their substance use by pointing to the positive still occuring in their life. There is no reason to wait for life to completely fall apart to seek help.
Myth 10: Relapse is failure
This has to be one of the worst myths regarding addiction there is. Relapse is not failure! Relapse is simply a stumble, a miss step on the road to recovery. Regardless of relapse, it is important to focus on recovering. Yes there is a high chance an addict is going to stumble while trying to recover. Attempting to change any habit is difficult, adding a chemical dependence to the mix just makes it that much harder.
Do not give in to despair if a relapse happens. Accepting the reality of the situation and making the correct steps after this point is what is important. Recognize that the power resides inside you and if effort is put forth, it is possible to get sober.
Myth 11: Treatment is Expensive
There are expensive recovery centers throughout the world, but that does not mean every treatment center is expensive. Speaking with local AA or NA chapters can lead to many different options. Knowing that there are other options is important to consider when searching for help.
Though there may be a cost associated with getting clean, the payment is worth the rewards. Recovering from the grips of an addiction is the best reward an addict can receive. Life looks new and relationships will have the potential to grow fuller than ever before. Do not extend one means beyond what is feasible, but find the best option to reach the goal of sobriety.
Myth 12: Going to Rehab is the only way to overcome addiction
While rehab is an excellent choice to overcome addiction, it is not the only option. There are many different ways to find help. Finding the best option for each individual is important to maintain toward sobriety. Whatever that option may be, it is important to find a compatible course for each individual.
Myth 13: Ideas about Addiction Are Fine
The current view of addiction in society needs to be reimagined. Having more people understand the true nature of addiction will help normalize receiving treatment for it. The use of substances is very prevalent in society today, advocating for sobriety needs to be just as prevalent.
If you or a loved one are having issues with a substance, the best course of action is to approach the situation with honesty. Do not place blame or come into the situation with negativity, there is already enough from the addiction itself. Choosing a sober life is a very positive thing, and thus the first steps into it should also be.
Should you or your loved one want help in starting out their journey to recovery, join us at ecosoberhouse.com. We have materials ready for you to help you get started on your journey to recovery. Don’t wait – get started today.