Myth Vs. Reality
Often, the fears people have around leaving behind alcohol and other drugs are rooted in myths instead of reality. By addressing these myths head-on, Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia would like to help ease the minds of people who are considering entering recovery.
1. Life will be boring once I get sober.
It’s true that certain recreational activities might not be a good idea once a person gets sober—especially if they trigger memories of past substance use. However, there are plenty of options for activities a person can do while in recovery. In fact, some people find that their lives are actually busier once they are in recovery, as they may become involved in sober activities through AA or NA, re-engage with their spiritual community, participate in therapy, and spend time on hobbies that support their sobriety.
2. If I am not using a drug, I am not addicted.
An addiction is an unhealthy habit that is compulsively used to meet a need. Not all addictions involve drugs or alcohol. People develop addictions to food, gambling, sex, shopping, and a variety of other things. Substitute addictions can occur when people turn to new behaviors to cope with no longer using drugs or alcohol.
3. No one will want to be around me if I don’t drink/use.
Using friends may no longer choose to be involved with someone who has gotten sober, but there are still plenty of ways to socialize in recovery, as described by our partners at Twin Lakes Recovery Center.
4. People will judge me for being sober.
When you allow others to make your choices for you, by token of yielding to fear of their judgment, you are giving them to power to run your life for you. It’s your right to make your own choices.
5. It just takes willpower to quit.
Addiction is far more complicated than simply saying no, which is why treatment is so often necessary.
6. I won’t fit into the world if I don’t drink.
There are many people in the world who don’t use alcohol or other substances. If you don’t want people to know why you don’t choose to drink or use substances, there’s no reason why you need to share that information. People choose to avoid alcohol and other drugs for a variety of reasons:
- Religious beliefs
- Medical conditions
- Prioritizing health over substances
- Being in recovery
- Medications that could have dangerous interactions with other substances
- Solidarity with a loved one who is avoiding substances
7. Life will be too hard if I stop indulging my addiction.
Alcohol and other drugs can become a powerful crutch. Often, people who develop addictions may not have developed other coping skills or may be rusty at using them. Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia works with each of our guests on developing new ways to cope, with their old tool, substances, out of their lives.
8. Rehab is a magic cure.
Addiction is a chronic health condition, which requires ongoing vigilance and treatment. Just like other chronic conditions, a relapse can happen at any time. However, the risk of relapse can be drastically reduced by making on-going healthy choices.
9. No one will want to date me if I don’t drink/use.
It’s possible that the pool of people a person once dated may no longer be interested in them, but there are other people in the world who are also seeking a partner whose lifestyle doesn’t include alcohol or other drugs.
10. I will fail.
Relapse is sometimes part of the recovery journey. While relapse isn’t ideal and should be avoided when possible, any setbacks should be viewed as a learning opportunity rather than a failure.
11. Getting sober will fix everything.
This myth is probably one that is more believed by family and friends of a person in addiction. Abstaining from drugs and alcohol is just the beginning. To maintain long-term recovery, it is key to understand trauma and other underlying causes of addiction and ensure that these are addressed.
12. I can’t get help until I hit rock bottom.
The best time to get help is always immediately. For many people, death will come before rock bottom ever does. It is better not to continue to rationalize use, and to make changes instead.
13. Alcohol is legal, so it can’t be that bad.
In reality, alcohol can be just as dangerous and addictive as other substances. While “alcohol” itself is rarely printed on a death certificate, related deaths from accidental injuries, maladies from long-term drinking, and mental illness exacerbated by drinking are extremely common.
14. I don’t have a problem, because I am able to hold down a job.
There are plenty of people who continue to function while suffering from substance abuse. One term for this is “functioning alcoholic”, as described by our partners at the St. Joseph Institute. Even if they are managing to go through the motions, treatment may still be needed for people in functional addiction. Addiction is a progressive illness, so someone who is considered high functioning at the current time is unlikely to stay that way for long.
15. If I avoid my drug of choice, I will be fine.
It is actually quite common for people to form cross addictions, where they simply replace their addiction with a new addiction rather than developing other coping skills.
These are just a few of the common misconceptions around addiction. At Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, we seek to educate our guests and their loved ones about the realities of addiction, treatment, and recovery.