Myths About Recovery Part 2
This is the continuation of the conversation we started last week, if you haven’t done so yet, please read Part 1 of this discussion of the myths about recovery that we must necessarily overcome if we are to find relief from substance abuse disorder. Last week, we tackled the three main myths in my opinion, which are: “rehab doesn’t work, I’ve tried it” “You just need to detox and you’ll be fine” and “life would be boring if we were sober”. This week, will talk about the prevalent myths of “I’m not helpable” “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” and “once I finish rehab I’ll be fine” As I said before, these myths are life-threatening because they keep us away from the program of recovery that is necessary to save our lives, and they must be tackled effectively in order to help yourself, or a loved one.
“I’m not helpable”
Ironically, the point of desperation often needed to pursue sobriety is coupled with this feeling of helplessness. I felt so helpless the last year of my using that I would urge my friends to get help and tell them it wasn’t even possible for myself at that point. This feeling of helplessness is actually a good thing, however, because it is acknowledging the powerlessness of the condition of active addiction. We are powerless in our using, but not helpless, and it is imperative that one makes this distinction in order to push aside the feeling of helplessness long enough to seek a solution. The fact is, we are all helpable, we are just required to do the work necessary to gain the solution. I understand, that this feeling of helplessness is a burden to carry, but the truth is that I subconsciously used it to justify the continuation of my substance abuse and avoid the work that sobriety entails.
“If you had my life then you’d stay high too”
Well, I’ve heard this from so many different lifestyles that I have a hard time believing that they are all correct in this belief. The truth is, that substance abuse doesn’t improve the circumstances of your life, it worsens them, while merely allowing the addict to ignore the problems at hand. If you’re hungry and sit through an epic movie, you can forget about your hunger for the 2 hours you’re engrossed in the film, but once the movie is over you’re officially more hungry than when it started: The point is this, substance abuse merely distracts us from the circumstantial problems of our lives, but it does not solve them. So, the people who say this could arguably benefit the most from sobriety because they’ll be in a condition to confront the extenuating circumstances of their life. I said this myth when I shattered my heel, I’ve heard it from people diagnosed with cancer, and I’ve heard it from innumerable sources in an attempt to justify their using; regardless of the circumstances, the drugs and the alcohol do not actually help make their life better.
“It was the ____ that was the problem, I should still be able to drink and smoke pot”
There are many ways to phrase this myth, this was just the way I said it. Essentially, fill in the blank with the substance of your choice and you can even replace alcohol and pot with whatever it is that one feels like they can still use. I was convinced, absolutely convinced, that heroin was the only problem, and that I could still manage to drink and smoke as often as I wanted; this is inherently flawed logic. The reason I went to heavy opiates was preciously because drinking and smoking just wasn’t enough at a certain point, so why would they suddenly be enough? I told myself this lie because the idea of sobriety was inconceivable, and I could pretend like certain substances were still manageable, even though I knew deep down that they were not. The fact is, that there aren’t many cases at all where this fantasy actually works out, and there’s plenty of evidence to support that it’s impossible to manage for anyone who suffers from substance abuse disorder. Yes, extenuating circumstances are tough to live with or work through, but they must inevitably be confronted in order for one to most beyond them and earn a state of well-being.
The myths of recovery can be fatal, and it’s imperative that we are armed to defeat them within ourselves, or with a loved one, so long-term recovery can ultimately be achieved. The third and final part of this blog series will feature:
- “People in recovery are all old”
- “Once I finish rehab I’ll be fine”
- “There’s been times I’ve moderated, and even stopped, so I must not have a problem”
- “There’s a lot I need to handle before I get sober”