Five Lies About Recovery
The harmful stigma that surrounds substance abuse disorder was brought about by the public’s reaction to the war on drugs. Unless you were a celebrity, many people affected by this disorder were viewed as junkies, losers, and useless members of society. As well as battling a complex disease, they had to fight against the shame and disgust that society gave them. With the rampant opioid epidemic sweeping through our nation, the shame and stigma of addiction is being put to bed. But not quickly enough. Here are the five biggest lies about recovery:
- Addicts Are Bad People
Overcoming the stigma of addiction is one of the hardest parts of recovery. Because of the complexity of substance abuse disorder, people may view you as a degenerate. They may see you as a weak, pitiful excuse for a human being. Instead of being judging you, they judge the mistakes you may have made while under the influence. There’s little understanding of what has happened in our brain and our environment to make us willing to lie and cheat and manipulate those we love to get what we want.
Substance abuse disorder causes us to harm those we love. Our communities and families suffer when we are using. The mistakes you make while you’re using, doesn’t make you bad person. Getting treatment and care can help you become healthy again. Taking care of yourself, getting treatment and care, will help you become an even better person.
- Addiction is a Choice
Because of the opioid epidemic, scientists and leading psychologists have begun to study addiction and its catastrophic affects. Their research shows that addiction is not a choice, but it is even more complex than that. It isn’t water faucet you can turn on or off. And it can be affected by several factors such as environmental, social, and neurobiological. The brain’s chemistry and functioning are changed with continuous drug use. This makes it difficult for them to control impulses, feel pleasure from natural rewards like sex or food, and focus on anything other than obtaining and using drugs.
Studies have also shown that if they aren’t removed from the environment that caused them to begin using in the first place, they have a higher likelihood of relapse. Sober houses can offer a lifesaving service for many men and women in recovery.
- You Can Only Addicted to One Substance
Polysubstance abuse is very common among people with substance abuse disorder and it’s a lot more difficult to treat. While many people with this disease have a drug they commonly take, they can also be addicted to multiple substances. Taking multiples drugs can create a more intense high and help balance the effects anything else they’re taking.
- Legal Drugs are Different
The prescription painkiller epidemic is proof that just because a doctor prescribes them, doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Anti-anxiety and painkiller medications are often seen as safer than street drugs. This is one of the most dangerous and destructive myths surrounding addiction. Medications are abused as much as any street and are just as addicting and damaging.
- Treatment Will Put Addicts in Their Place
We celebrate soldiers who have had to learn to walk with prosthetics, we cheer on children who have lost their hair while battling illness, and we cry with those who have just regained their hearing. We shame addicts who are trying to better and heal themselves, thinking that this will “fix” them. Shame and guilt are never great motivators, but we seem to forget that. It maybe because our own experiences or because that’s what society has taught us to do but it’s wrong. Research has shown that shame is one of the leading causes of relapse.
So, what’s the truth here?
The truth is there is no “right” way to recover; every addict has their own unique and specific needs in treatment. Many drug treatment centers offer a wide range of evidence-based treatment services in well-equipped facilities that are inviting, safe and conducive for recovery.
The myths about addiction not only affect the addict and their families, it also affects society as a whole. If we are able to understand addiction as a brain disease and allow people to recover in ways that best suit their needs, we all can make significant strides in addressing drug and alcohol addiction.
Need support? Reach out to someone in recovery. Find a safe place to live. Want to give back to the recovery community? We need more sober houses, reach out to Vanderburgh Communities to get involved and change the world.