I remember sitting in a living room somewhere, talking about rehab with someone; they said a few things that I thought were true at that time, but have turned out to be widespread myths about the recovery process. “Rehab doesn’t work, I’ve tried it” or “You just need to detox and you’ll be fine” and even “Life would be boring if we were sober” he’d say. These myths and many others have kept people from recovery for too long, so let’s set the record straight. The next few blogs will be dedicated to tackling these myths because they ultimately hold people back from saving their life through a process of recovery.
“Rehab doesn’t work, I’ve tried it”
At the end of every meeting I go to the room says a little chant, It works if you work it. I’ve seen plenty of people go through rehab, treatment, sober living, and the rooms, and fail in their own recovery afterward. But, this is not necessarily because the program was at fault, ALL of the times I’ve seen someone “fail” it was a direct result of something they were not doing. They either failed to enlarge their spiritual life, or they never lived honestly, and most of the time they were the ones that never finished their steps (including their amends). I’ll acknowledge that some programs are better than others, and there are a few that should be shut down immediately, but the point is that no program of recovery works if the individual doesn’t take on the responsibilities that come along with that. The program is arguably responsible for laying out and teaching the tools to recover, lead them to the water if you will, but the individual is responsible for taking on these tools and utilizing them in their life; their job is to drink the water.
“You just need to detox and you’ll be fine”
I’ll admit that I fell for this one. I genuinely believed that all I needed to do was put a week of abstinence together and then everything would go back to “normal”. To say the least, I was wrong. 100% of the time we get behaviorally worse once the drugs are out of our system, proving the adage that drugs and alcohol were only a symptom and the problem was us. Detox only allows one to have a clear enough mind to start the process of recovery, but it is not the end all be all solution to substance abuse. Getting the drugs out of your system is hard enough but the real struggle occurs once that happens; how do you prevent putting the drugs back into your body? And that’s what recovery is all about, it’s about prevention at the end of the day, so the myth that all you need is to get the drugs out of your system is false because the real work is about not putting them back in.
“Life would be boring if we were sober”
This is another myth that I believed up until the 90-day point of my sobriety. Plenty of addicts believe this to their core, that once they stop using then life would be dull and boring. We’ll, I found out first hand that this is not the case. I knew it in my using but didn’t realize how much my substance abuse held me back from having a good time. Sobriety opens the door to a ton of new experiences because we’re not limited by abuse anymore. Think about how often you really enjoyed the fruits life has to offer in your addiction, I doubt it was often at all. The shackles of addiction break in sobriety, and ultimately allows one to have much more fun than they ever could in their using, by increasing the options, and the presence, of the participant. Sobriety is not the end of the “good times” but it is merely the beginning, and all of the people who capitalize on the freedom that they gain in recovery will tell you the same thing.
These three myths and many others are the reason many people stay away from the recovery process, and it’s fundamentally necessary that we tackle each of these myths, one by one, so you can do the same with yourself, or a loved one. In these next blogs we’ll assess these and maybe a few more:
- “I’m not helpable”
- “People in recovery are all old”
- “If you had my life then you’d stay high too”
- “It’s just the ______ that was the problem, I should still be able to drink and smoke pot”
- “Once I finish rehab I’ll be fine”
- “If I’m able to moderate then I must not have a problem”