Myths about recovery part 3
It’s been a good run, but this is the third and final part of our “myths about recovery” series. In part one and part two we covered six deadly myths: “Rehab doesn’t work, I’ve tried it” “you just need to detox and you’ll be fine” “Life would be boring if we were sober” “I’m not helpable” “If you had my life then you’d stay high too” and “It was the ___ that was the problem, I should still be able to drink and smoke pot.” The reason we are tackling these myths is that they are deadly, they’re deadly because they ultimately keep one from the recovery that they desperately need.
This week we will look at:
- People in recovery are all old
- Once I finish rehab I’ll be fine
- There have 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
“People in recovery are all old”
Yes, there are meetings with older crowds, but at the end of the day, the younger crowd in recovery thrives in many cities in America: Los Angeles, San Diego, New York, Dallas, and even South Florida just to name a few. There are thousands of young people in recovery in each of these cities, and this myth is easily debunked by the facts.
“Once I Finish Rehab I’ll Be fine”
I guess this depends on what you mean by fine. If you mean “cured” then we have a problem. After I left New Life House in 2015 I have been anything but cured of Substance Abuse Disorder. In fact, I’ve even had to work harder at recovery upon leaving treatment because I haven’t been surrounded by it all day every day since my graduation. I left rehab in an excellent position to move forward in my life with certain tools and a foundation in recovery, but I would not consider anyone fine upon the exit of their treatment, they’re merely in a better position to stay in recovery if they so choose to. This myth takes the foot (of the individual who says it) off the gas, which opens up the possibility for someone to rest on their laurels and coast with merely the foundation they built in treatment. This is not an option. I repeat this is not an option! No one is fine when they finish rehab; recovery is a lifelong process of maintenance that must occur daily if the individual wants to live a good and thriving life.
“There have been times I’ve moderated, and even stopped, so I must not have a problem”
The question of substance abuse disorder isn’t about whether or not one can moderate, it is more about how often do they lose control? The “normal” drinker doesn’t lose control the way an alcoholic does, and that why this myth is nothing more than a lie that the person struggling with substance abuse tells. All people with substance abuse disorder have moderated, and even stopped for periods of time, but it’s the powerless and reckless bouts that are definitive of someone with substance abuse disorder.
“There’s a lot I need to handle before I get sober”
This is another myth that I kept telling myself and others that kept me away from recovery for an extended period of time. There’s a lot to do, I’ll agree with that, but the problem is with how much of it are you actually handling? And are you handling it the proper way? I kept looking at the pile of things I needed to handle and used it as a rationalization, but at the end of the day, I made no progress on that workload until I got sober. The myth here isn’t a matter of how much actually needs to get handled, but the myth is in the false belief that the person will actually handle this in their addiction. The bottom line is that they haven’t, and they won’t, and this myth is an empty fantasy.
These four myths, the six we’ve discussed previously in part 1 and 2, and many others, are detrimental to the person who needs recovery and can ultimately be life threating if they keep the individual out in their addiction long enough. The individual that want’s to help an active addict needs to be properly armed with facts about these myths, and should be on the look out for them when they are used as a rationalization to stay out using and keep away from recovery.