Addiction and recovery are full of myths and misinformation. This is partly because we are far from knowing all there is to know about addiction, the brain, how to best treat addiction and the process of recovery. The more we know, the more questions we have.
A lot of the information that continues to circulate about addiction and recovery comes from the 1930s, or even before. During those times, a person who was addicted might just end up institutionalized for the rest of their lives. Addiction was seen as a deviant behavior or a moral deficiency.
This attitude persists even today. There are other myths around addiction and recovery that continue to make the rounds, even in the recovery community. Here are five popular recovery myths that might be shared by addicts and non-addicts alike.
No. 1 Addiction Is Just About the Drugs
This is a popular myth, and it’s easy to see why. The alcohol and drugs are what seem to cause all the problems, right? Most people believe when their loved one stops using, everything is going to be “back to normal” or there won’t be any more problems. In fact, most people with addiction have this same belief. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Drugs and alcohol are only part of the addiction problem.
There are a variety of underlying issues that must be addressed for things to truly improve. Some examples may be trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. There may also be anger problems or behaviors that seem to continue despite being in recovery. There is more work to be done than just quitting alcohol or drugs.
No. 2 Relapse Is a Failure
Relapse can certainly make you feel that way. For family members who were hopeful about their loved one’s recovery, relapse can feel devastating, and at this point, people often give up hope that the person will change. This is a mistake, though. Although relapse certainly doesn’t have to be a part of recovery, it sometimes is. This is the case with many chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer and asthma. Some people will relapse several times before they achieve lifelong sobriety.
No. 3 You Have to Hit Rock Bottom Before You Can Recover
This is one of the big recovery myths that needs to go away. You don’t have to wait until you’re homeless or have been arrested or no one will let you in their house before getting help. Once you’ve accepted that you have a problem and that the problem is interfering with your quality of life, you can choose to get help. You don’t need to hit rock bottom by having a criminal record or lose your job. You can get help right now.
No. 4 Tough Love Is the Key to Recovery
Despite what you’ve heard, there is no real evidence to suggest that “tough love” tactics are effective in helping the addicted person get better. In fact, there are many cases where these tactics have only made things worse.
Tough love tactics are those that are overly confrontational and involve shaming, abandoning and more extreme measures.
This isn’t to say that you should never confront your loved one, or that there should be no consequences. In many cases, you have to distance yourself from an addicted loved one to protect yourself and to avoid enabling. But that’s not the same as abandoning them or turning your back on them. For adolescents, programs such as “Scared Straight” gained popularity, but as it turns out, there is no evidence that shows that these types of programs are effective at keeping kids off drugs, in fact, there is evidence that shows that kids are more likely to end up in jail after being exposed to the program, or to other tough programs that are based on confrontation and harsh tactics.
No. 5 Recovery Is Boring
This is a myth that most people in recovery laugh at. It’s simply not true. People in recovery are often surprised to find that they are having more fun in their sobriety than they ever had in their using days. People in recovery go out and actually do things. Not only that, but they tend to remember them, which is a bonus.
Recovering addicts are adventurous. They move beyond the limiting life of active addiction and actually experience all that life has to offer. Not only that, but they enjoy a close-knit community of other people who are committed to their recovery. They learn new hobbies and travel and play sports. They go to concerts and parties and the beach. In fact, you may find that you have a much stronger and more enjoyable social life in recovery than you ever did in addiction.
These are just a few of the recovery myths that have developed over time. There are many more. The best way to overcome myths and misconceptions is to educate yourself and to talk to others in recovery.
Don’t Let Recovery Myths Stop You from Seeking Help
Drug Treatment Center Finder can help you or your loved one find a treatment center that address gambling addiction and substance addiction. The sooner you call us, the sooner you can start feeling better. Call us now at 1-855-619-8070.