There are many myths and misconceptions about substance use disorders, treatment, and recovery. Some of them are well-meaning, others are wishful thinking, while still others are ignorant and judgmental. Misconceptions about addiction and recovery add to the stigma of addiction and impede efforts to get help to those who need it. Deciding to get help for a substance use disorder is hard enough without having to swim against the current of misinformation. The following are three common misconceptions about addiction recovery.
You Have to Hit Rock Bottom to Recover From Addiction
The idea that someone has to hit rock bottom before they can recover from addiction is one you often hear repeated. This, however, is just not true. One major problem with this belief is that it assumes everyone has a breaking point at which they realize they need help. However, more than 70,000 people die each year from drug overdoses and about 88,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes. Those people either never hit “rock bottom” or, more likely, they did and it didn’t matter.
In reality, most people never have a definitive moment that changes everything for them. Many individuals enter treatment because they were persuaded by their families to get help while others may seek recovery as part of a court order. Very few people are completely sure they want to get sober when they enter treatment. They just know something has to change. Motivation tends to follow the action as opposed to the other way around.
You Can’t Have Fun When You’re Sober
One of the most common fears people have about getting sober is that they’ll never have fun again. However, if conditions have gotten difficult to consider sobriety in the first place, chances are that your drinking and/or using stopped being fun long ago. Still, letting go of the illusion of safety and comfort that comes from drinking and/or using by those addicted to substances can be extraordinarily tough, despite the consequences. In reality, the idea that fun must involve drugs and alcohol is just a narrative created by addiction. Most fun things in life don’t involve drugs or alcohol at all. Once you embrace a broader view of fun, giving up drugs and alcohol won’t seem like such a big deal.
Recovery Is Mainly About Willpower
Another common myth about addiction is that it’s mainly a matter of willpower. This view is commonly held by people who have never struggled with addiction and occasionally accepted by people who have. While willpower can play a supporting role in recovery, it’s not remotely sufficient to stay sober long-term. Addictive behavior is typically driven by factors such as genes, childhood environment, mental health issues, and trauma. Long-term recovery depends on addressing these issues, creating healthy lifestyle changes, and developing a strong social support system. Willpower is a great asset insofar as it helps you with those efforts but it won’t keep you sober by itself.
Want Recovery and Need Support?
Recovery from addiction is a multifaceted process that develops over months and years. Successful recovery requires good habits and supportive people. At Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon, we can get you started on the right path with an intensive 30-day inpatient program. Our mission is to help men build stronger lives free from drugs and alcohol. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call us today at (503) 850-2474