There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding addiction. It’s a heavily stigmatized illness, and this has a big impact on people who deal with addiction, but also their friends and family members. It changes how they see the person struggling with addiction. It changes how that person sees themselves. And these changes usually aren’t good.
If you or somebody you care about struggles with addiction, then it’s important to read up on what it truly is. These misconceptions are widespread, and they may be affecting you or your loved one’s recovery, but you can start by reading these four myths about addiction.
1) You can’t be addicted if you have a job and a family.
A common misconception is that people who have a stable job and a good family life can’t develop an addiction. The truth is that anyone can become addicted to something, whether it’s prescription drugs, alcohol, or illegal substances, even people who have no problem keeping their jobs and hiding their addiction from their families.
Being high-functioning like this simply means you know how to hide your addiction better, but it’s still there. It still damages your life in some way. It might not be noticeable at first, but it usually makes itself known eventually.
2) Becoming or staying addicted is a choice.
A lot of people believe developing an addiction is a choice. That’s why people with addictions are accused of being weak or having poor character. But addiction isn’t a moral failing. It’s not a choice. It’s an illness.
Similarly, people believe you can just will your addiction away. They believe you can wake up one morning and decide to quit your addiction cold turkey and everything will be fine. But that’s not how addiction works. It rewires your brain and makes you dependent on whatever it is you’re addicted to. Recovering from addiction is a process that takes much more than just willpower alone.
3) Interventions are the best option.
If someone you care about struggles with addiction, staging an intervention might not be the best way to help them. Interventions are delicate things. When done right, they might help, but most of the time emotions come into play. They’re full of accusations and demands; they’re ambushes that only manage to push your loved one away. If you truly want to stage an intervention, then seek professional advice first and follow it. But know that there are other things you can do to help your loved one that don’t involve staging interventions.
4) Relapse is a failure.
While relapse is not an inevitable part of recovery, it’s very common. And yet a lot of people see it as a failure. They think that if an addict relapses, then they will forever be an addict and recovery is not possible for them. There’s this impression that they’ll never learn, never get better. But that’s not true.
Relapse is common, but it’s not a sign of failure. It’s not a sign someone will never get better. It just means they need a little more help, a little more support. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Recovering from addiction
Recovery is a complex thing. What works for some people may not work for others. While it’s not an easy process by any means, some will take to it faster than others. But these individual differences aren’t a reflection of who you are as a person.
Recovery is possible, no matter how easy you find it or how long it takes. Counseling can help you through the trickiest parts of the process. All you have to do is reach out for an appointment for substance abuse counseling.