The important thing to remember is that myths are simply ideas and beliefs, and although the beliefs are widely held, they are often false. Understanding the most common stereotypes and erroneous beliefs can make it easier to develop strategies for coping.
- Addicted people can stop if they want to badly enough, or if they just try harder. It’s true that the initial use of the addictive substance is a choice, but nobody plans to become addicted. What begins as occasional use can eventually become compulsive as chemical changes in the brain trigger intense cravings. The length of time to become addicted depends on the substance and on each individual person, but in some cases, addiction happens very quickly.
- Addiction affects weak people with low character or poor morality. In reality, addiction never discriminates. It affects people of all walks of life, all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, social strata and income levels.
- Addicted people are unemployed, homeless derelicts or junkies with no ambition. The truth is that many addicted people never have legal problems. Many are stable, highly functioning, ambitious and well-respected in their workplace and community. They are loved by their family and friends.
- There is no hope for addicted people. It’s true that addiction is a disease, but there is hope. There is no cure, but addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed. Treatment centers and addiction professionals are continually finding better, more effective ways to help addicted people.
- All addicted people relapse, and relapse means failure. Relapse is common, especially in the first few months after treatment, but relapse is not an indication of failure. Treatment for an addiction is not always a one-shot deal, and sometimes, several attempts are needed before an addicted person attains long-term sobriety. However, this doesn’t mean addicted people have a green light for chronic, repeated relapses. The goal is to get sober and stay that way as soon as possible.
- Addicted people must hit rock bottom before they can get better. Although this is true for some people, it is a dangerous myth with no basis in fact. Rock bottom is not a magical place, and for some people, rock bottom means death. The earlier addicted people get help, the better their chances of recovery. Don’t wait.
- Twelve Step programs are the only way to overcome an addiction. It’s true that Twelve Step programs have helped millions of people, but the program is not for everyone. Some people benefit from different approaches.
If you are concerned about your use of drugs or alcohol, speak with your physician or therapist, or get in touch with us. We will help you deal with your addiction in a caring, professional manner that sets you on the path to a new, satisfying life.
Addicted people can recover and live full, satisfying lives, but if left untreated, addiction can easily destroy the life of the addicted person and their loved ones. We implement an extensive aftercare and relapse-prevention program with the understanding that the major challenge in addiction treatment is not stopping, but staying stopped after treatment ends.