Common Myths About Substance Abuse Recovery
Itâ€™s important to clarify the myths about substance abuse recovery before making a decision about whether or not recovery would work for you. Here are five common myths that can keep addicts and alcoholics from getting the help they need and beginning a new and sober life.
Without Alcohol and Drugs, My Life Will be Boring and Meaningless
Many substance abusers avoid treatment because they fear that without drugs or alcohol, their lives will be empty, boring, and meaningless. They wonder how they can possibly have fun without substances, and they don’t how to fill the void that giving up drugs and alcohol would create.
For most recovering people, the opposite is true. Because addicts and alcoholics no longer have to spend vast amounts of time getting and using substances, they suddenly have an abundance of time to engage in activities they love and find meaningful. Most substance abusers also find that they have more fun in recovery than they did in addiction, because they are now sober enough to enjoy and participate consciously in their experiences. Lives dominated by addiction are narrow, restrictive, and repetitive, but recovery opens the door to freedom. One of the most rewarding aspects of recovery is trying new things and discovering new passions.
I Need to Lose Everything Before I Can Recover
Substance abusers often compare themselves to others who are worse off in their addictions. They decide that because they still have jobs, cars, and homes, they probably arenâ€™t “real addicts”. A low bottom is not a requirement for recovery. Substance abuse is like any other illness; the sooner itâ€™s treated, the fewer negative consequences there will be and the better the chances for recovery. Waiting until you lose everything just makes the hole you have to crawl out of much deeper. Addicts and alcoholics who seek help before theyâ€™ve lost everything are able to avoid the deeper levels of shame and despair suffered by those who avoid recovery until itâ€™s the last house on the block.
Rehab Cures Substance Abuse
Addiction is a chronic disease that’s never cured. It can go into remission, but it doesnâ€™t go away. Treatment centers can detox you from drugs and alcohol, educate you about the disease of alcoholism, help you establish a baseline sobriety, and provide you with coping skills and support, but the rest will be up to you.
Iâ€™m an Atheist and Treatment Involves Religion
Although most treatment models are based on spirituality and the help of a â€œHigher Powerâ€, there’s plenty of room for individual interpretation. Dependence on a Higher Power is based on the recovery model set forth by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1933. It states that since the substance abuser has shown no ability to recover from addiction alone, a Higher Power must restore him or her to sanity. A Higher Power could be God, an angel, an AA group or even a doorknob, as long as that power is perceived as greater than the individual. The spiritual approach has stood the test of time, because it has been used successfully for many cases that were previously defined as untreatable.
If I Enter a Treatment Facility, Iâ€™ll Lose My Job
It’s illegal for an employer to fire an employee just because that employee is being treated for substance abuse. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act dictate that employees are entitled to time off for substance abuse treatment, and that their jobs must be held until they return.
Getting a clear understanding of the facts and the myths about substance abuse recovery can be an important first step toward a sober lifestyle and a lasting abstinence from drugs and alcohol.