It’s probably true that almost everyone clings tightly to at least one false belief, even when it comes to addiction myths.
You are taught something when you are young, and you find it hard to let go of that idea—even when it turns out to be mistaken. You find yourself agreeing with someone who is charismatic and has ideas that appeal to you without doing the work of thinking critically about those ideas—which may not be grounded in reality. You come to a conclusion on your own after much thought (or perhaps after just a little thought)—and resist hearing any information that might contradict or complicate that conclusion.
When it comes to ideas about addiction myths and substance use disorders and how they might be overcome, many people cling tightly to some unhelpful ideas that can actually do much more harm than good. Let’s take a look at these addiction myths.
You Could Easily Achieve Sobriety if You Were of Better Character or Had More Faith: FALSE
This particular myth about substance use disorders can be particularly painful to a person who is struggling with drugs or alcohol. While you are attempting to come to grips with the problem, someone—a family member, a religious leader, a well-meaning friend—comes along and suggests that your entire problem is a failure of character, a lack of faith, or both. Fix the issues related to your character and amp up your faith quotient, and your addiction will simply fade away.
But substance use disorders are not character flaws or evidence of a paucity of faith. Instead, they are a brain disease that can be treated (but not cured). While it may be true that a life that includes service, generosity, and/or faith can help support your ongoing sobriety, none of those things can simply supply sobriety.
Getting Treatment for a Substance Use Disorder or Addiction is a Waste of Time: FALSE
For some reason—and despite evidence to the contrary—many people have concluded that medically supervised detoxification and rehabilitation programs grounded in group and individual therapy are not effective ways to address a substance use disorder.
Perhaps that opinion grows out of the ideas we considered above. If you believe that substance use disorders are character flaws or arise from a dearth of faith, you may not be inclined to believe that anything of value can come from seeking out treatment.
But that is simply wrong. Detoxification allows you to reclaim your sobriety. Rehabilitation helps you learn to maintain your sobriety. And a continuum of care provides ongoing resources and support. Taken together, these three interconnected parts of a robust treatment plan can, in fact, provide a firm foundation for lasting sobriety.
If You Experience a Relapse You Will Never Be Able to Stay Sober: FALSE
Here is another possible source for the idea that treatment is a waste of time. There is no denying that many people in recovery experience a relapse, and for some people that is all the proof they need to argue that treatment does not work. If it worked, the thinking goes, you would not relapse.
But that is a huge oversimplification of things. Relapse is certainly a reality—which is just what you would expect to be true given that a substance use disorder is treatable but not curable. The important thing to remember is that a relapse may be a setback but is not the end of the recovery journey. The best course of action after a relapse is a return to treatment to detox again and then to fine tune the strategies and resources you need to make another go at sustained sobriety.
Even after you do that, you very well might relapse again. And if you do, the next move is the same: return to treatment and try again.
French Creek Recovery Center Can Help You Get and Stay Sober from Addiction: TRUE
No matter what you have heard (or what you might believe yourself), the truth is that treatment programs for substance use disorders improve lives. At French Creek Recovery Center in Meadville, Pennsylvania, we offer personalized, evidence-based treatment that will help you find your way back to sobriety. Along the way, we can address any co-occurring mental health disorders—including anxiety, depression, or a trauma-based disorder—that may be contributing to (or may be worsened by) your substance use disorder.
Don’t let misinformation keep you from getting the help you need. Together, we can get you on the road to addiction recovery.