If you suspect you are an addict or know someone you think might be, chances are you have done some basic research to find out more on the topic. With so much information readily available, and from a multitude of sources, it is really hard to believe that there are still so many misunderstandings about addiction floating around. Here are a few basic ones that have led to a great deal of confusion on the subject, sometimes hindering the process of acceptance and recovery.
1. A person can be addicted to a great many other things besides alcohol or drugs. Known dependencies such as needing a morning cup of coffee are usually joked about and very common, but there are also “habits” that can be very detrimental to health and safety if done to excess. These include shopping, hoarding, sugar, cigarettes, video or online games, sex and even love. Yes, it’s true…too much of even a good thing can be a very bad thing. It really is about what you indulge in, how much you do so, and why are you compelled to. It is also common for an individual to have more than one addiction.
2. There is no true stereotypical addict. It is easy to believe that addiction happens somewhere else and with people outside of your own home. When people think of addicts, they usually picture the images portrayed to us in the media— a “junkie” camping out under a bridge or within an abandoned building getting high on whatever he or she could score with stolen money. The honest truth is that a great number of people who are addicts live and work around and with us. You may be sitting right next to someone that suffers daily from a crippling addiction and you may not even know it. Or you may be coming to terms with your own tendencies and want to get help.
Keep in mind, addiction is an equal opportunity disease that does not discriminate in any demographic, whether it be gender, race and culture, income, profession, education or background. It is not unusual for a person to be outwardly successful and productive, yet indulge in a secret compulsion that keeps them inwardly lost.
3. Understanding that addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that is incurable is the hardest fact to accept. In recovery, an addict learns that he or she has to understand that their recovery is of utmost importance and they need to protect this part of themselves because it is hard to earn, but quick to lose if you do not. Professionals can help individuals in developing awareness of triggers as well as life skills on how to best navigate through every day as well as intense situations to avoid relapse. Without being actively involved in one’s own recovery daily, any addiction will inevitably worsen over time and may even, eventually, lead to death.
4. Another fallacy that is prominent is the idea that once a person has gone through recovery, they can go back to drinking socially or using drugs recreationally. It is a very common thing for an individual to think he or she can slip right back into their old life without any issues. Unfortunately, this is not the case because it is basically a set-up to a quick relapse. Being in recovery is a lifelong journey. There is no “recovered” status because it is a constant process and not an end result. However, like any chronic disease, such as diabetes, addiction can be managed with vigilant awareness, knowledge and practice of healthy life skills.
The label “addict” can be hard to accept or to own. There is a great deal of shame, guilt, and fear in coming to terms with the damage of past actions and behaviors, but with time and dedication, a great deal of healing is possible. Recovery provides a person with an opportunity to live a truly happy and satisfying life.
If you or a loved one has an addiction of any nature or if you need help getting through to an addict, contact us today. We can provide you with quality treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Don’t wait. Call now.