Addiction is one of the most commonly misunderstood diseases, and it has been the center of widespread controversy since it was first officially labeled a relapsing brain disease by the Centers for Disease Control (or CDC). Those who lack experience and knowledge may pass unfair judgment – even those who are new to recovery, or who are considering sobriety, may have some misconceptions. We’ve put together a list of six common misconceptions about addiction recovery, and explained the reasons why these myths can be detrimental — and why they are untrue!
Six Myths About Addiction Recovery
- It’s impossible to have fun in recovery — in many instances, youth and young adults equate “partying” with having a good time. If you were to eliminate drinking and going out with friends, how would fun ever be had? Believe it or not, there is endless fun to be had in recovery! Once you are stable in your sobriety, you can even do some of the things that you never thought you’d be able to do again – things like staying out late and dancing in clubs. One of the most beautiful parts of recovery is learning what you actually enjoy – guaranteed you’ll discover new hobbies and passions!
- Relapse is inevitable — a false belief that many newly sober individuals have is that ‘relapse is a part of recovery.’ This statement could not be farther from the truth. There are innumerable instances of men and women of all ages who have maintained sobriety since they first surrendered, despite inevitable issues. Things come up – life gets hard. But once you have learned the coping mechanisms you need to maintain long-term recovery, you will be alright – regardless of what life throws at you. It’s all about utilizing your resources and developing faith in a higher power.
- You won’t be able to be around alcohol — an alcoholic who is stable in his or her recovery should have no problem being around alcohol. Addiction is a disease of obsession and compulsion. Recovery suggests that the obsession has been lifted and that drinking is simply no longer an option. There are plenty of sober individuals that go on to be bartenders, cocktail servers, and party hosts with no issues. Of course, those in early recovery are still vulnerable, should exercise caution. There is no reason to put yourself in a precarious situation, such as hanging around in a bar or pool hall.
- You’ll have to make completely new friends — while it is important that you surround yourself with new, sober friends, you’ll find that many of your old friends will respect your sobriety and support it whole-heartedly. Of course, if your old friends are still actively using drugs or drinking to excess, it is much safer to surround yourself exclusively with a strong, sober group of people – people who understand the position you are in and can help you along the way.
- You have to become religious — while Alcoholics Anonymous does call for a belief in a higher power, this higher power can be whatever you want it to be – it certainly doesn’t have to be God. Many atheists have successfully maintained long-term recovery. AA only requires that you believe that something is greater than yourself – this could be a group of people, humanity in general… even nature, or the sky.
- Everyone will judge you for being sober — you’ll quickly come to find out that the vast majority of people respect your sobriety – and most people won’t ask questions. If you feel that it is necessary to disclose that you are sober, keep in mind how widespread and common addiction recovery is.
If you have any other questions or concerns regarding addiction recovery, we at Recreate Life Counseling are available to help in any way we can. Our treatment center follows an evidence-based and solution-focused approach to treating substance abuse disorders.