Recovery can seem like a scary thing, and like anything, there is a lot of stigma surrounding the experience. It can be difficult to understand the nuisances and challenges of addiction and recovery, especially for those who have never experienced it firsthand. This general lack of knowledge, combined with the negative portrayal of addicts in the media, has led to a lot of prejudice and misunderstanding, which have made it difficult for people with addictions to get help. To better these issues, our Clearbrook Pennsylvania rehab is sharing the most common misconceptions about addiction recovery.
Common Misconceptions About Addiction Recovery
Often, the fear of addiction recovery is based upon a set of misguided opinions and beliefs. While some of these misconceptions are stereotypes formed by those who have never walked in the shoes of a recovering person, many times, it is merely contempt before investigation.
Regardless, the myths and misconceptions about addiction and recovery only feed the stigma further, keeping more people from getting the help they need. Today, we would like to shed light on some of those recovery and addiction misconceptions and offer some insight into what sobriety is all about.
Recovery Is Boring
This misconception is one of the most common, especially for younger people in recovery. Oftentimes, addicts in their late teens and early twenties will avoid getting sober because they believe they will never have fun again or that they cannot have fun without drugs or alcohol. Many of them also believe that they will lose all their friends, or they will never be the same person.
Surprisingly enough, the opposite is true. Yes, maybe when you first started using drugs and alcohol, it was fun. Why else would you continue to do it, right? The truth is those “fun” times fade quickly, especially as the disease of addiction progresses.
In the end, feeding the habit becomes a full-time job, and many are left with nothing – no friends, no family, no fun. The initial stages of sobriety can seem boring in comparison to those fun times while you were using and/or drinking. In these moments, it is important to remember the low times.
And to be frank, it is common to lose some friends along the way. But think of it this way: were they really your friends if they do not support you in bettering yourself?
Initially, getting sober is challenging work. But it is not about sitting in church basements and drinking bad coffee. As time goes on, you will find that recovery affords you a life that you could never have while using drugs and alcohol. As you build relationships with other recovering people, many opportunities will present themselves. You will begin to find out what you enjoy doing. Whether it be going to concerts, skydiving, going to the beach, hiking, or skiing, the sky’s the limit. Anything is possible when you are sober.
All 12-Step Groups Are Religious
This is another common misconception about sobriety, and one that sends many running for the hills. But it could not be further from the truth. 12-step programs are not religion-based, but instead, spirituality-based. What does that mean exactly?
You are not required to believe in Jesus, Buddha, Allah, or any other god worshiped in religion. The program only asks that you eventually come to believe in something greater than yourself. It could be anything. Nature or the program itself. It simply cannot be yourself. Why?
Because addiction is a self-serving disease that takes over and tends to blind a person’s view of right and wrong, addicts in recovery should learn to rely on a stronger power other than themselves. At our residential drug rehab in Pennsylvania, we believe that when clients begin to ask for help from others and trust in the process that they truly get better.
And, as recovering addicts get better, they begin to rebuild their morals and values. The way they think, behave, and treat themselves and others will change. That is where spirituality takes place.
So no, you do not have to be religious. You only have to be spiritual.
Relapse Is Failure
One of the most common misconceptions of addiction recovery is that relapse equates to failure. Although relapse is not a requirement for addiction recovery, it is common for many people. Sometimes, it takes some addicts and alcoholics more than one attempt at getting sober. But relapse does not mean you are a failure or that you are doomed. It just indicates that a change needs to be made in your approach.
Are there things that may be triggering you in your day-to-day routine that you are trying to ignore or have not realized? Is someone in your life making it difficult for you to stay sober or encouraging you to drink or use drugs? Is there a roadblock you have hit in your recovery and need guidance to overcome?
You can work with a sponsor or a counselor at one of our 12-step meetings to determine what needs to be changed in your life to better support your sobriety. No matter what, remember that it does not matter how many times you fall. What’s important is that you keep getting back up.
Your Family Will Shun You
Some people believe that if they admit they need help from their families and friends, they’ll never be trusted again. The reality is that they already know or have had suspicions about your drug and alcohol use, and they have been waiting for this day. Secondly, they have been hurt by your behavior and will trust you more if you get sober.
Yes, it will take some time to rebuild trust within any relationship following drug or alcohol abuse. However, as time goes on, they will see that you are making progress and changing your life for the better. As time passes, your sobriety will do the talking and show them that you can be trusted. Recovery will only enhance your relationships with family and friends.
You Can Never Be Around Alcohol Again
Changing people, places, and things in recovery is a major recommendation and is usually necessary for helping addicts build a solid foundation in early recovery. Nevertheless, there will come a time when you will be secure enough in your sobriety that you can go somewhere where alcohol is present. It may be a family get-together, a friend’s wedding, or an office holiday party.
No matter the situation, the day will come when you can partake in these events again and not feel threatened by others’ drinking. As you progress through your sobriety, you will learn new ways to cope with situations and become more comfortable. You will learn techniques from other sober individuals, such as bringing along a sober friend, knowing what to say if someone offers you a drink, and having an escape route in place if you begin to feel the urge.
However, we do not recommend that you do these things without speaking with your sponsor and support group first. Also, you must learn and become comfortable with your limits. If you know you would not be able to resist a drink, you should not put yourself in a dicey situation. Sobriety is not about testing your willpower. It is about knowing and being fair to yourself.
You will Be All Alone
Entering recovery can seem as though you are giving up everything and everyone you know and love. This can include those you used to drink with. Removing yourself from these people and situations can make you think that you are set out to spend a lifetime by yourself. That is simply not the case.
Yes, you will have to give up relationships that threaten your sobriety. In return, you will gain new friendships with people who are walking the same path as you. The program of recovery is a “we” program. The entire institution of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous was built upon the belief that we only get better by working together. You will be surprised to find that if you immerse yourself in the program, the friendships you make will be those of a lifetime.
Contact Clearbrook Today
Are you or someone you love struggling with alcoholism or chemical dependency? If so, do not let recovery myths and stigma keep you from getting clean.
For over 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been providing the highest quality of addiction treatment services to those suffering from substance abuse disorders. Secluded in the beautiful mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania, you will have the opportunity to begin your journey of sobriety in a peaceful and loving atmosphere.
Do not allow substance abuse to rule your life any longer. For more information about our inpatient rehab programs in Pennsylvania and how we can help you get sober, call Clearbrook today at 570-536-9621.