10 Myths About Addiction and Recovery


1. If it’s a prescription drug, it must be safe.

A doctor prescribed it, so it must be safe, right? Not so fast. Sure, medications that are taken in the prescribed dosage for the prescribed reason are absolutely safe. But it’s the prolonged use that can absolutely become dangerous and addictive. On top of that, it’s the combination with other drugs that can be extremely detrimental, like taking prescription medications with alcohol, which is unfortunately common.

2. Natural drugs are safer than synthetic ones.

Marijuana, mushrooms, and other ‘natural’ drugs are sometimes regarded as less dangerous – but is this actually the case? Well, natural drugs still alter brain chemistry and result in pretty dangerous side effects, just like any other drug. Just because they grow from the earth, that doesn’t mean they’re not at all harmless.

3. The heroin era is over.

Drugs don’t just disappear. Certain drug trends do exist in our history – like the heroin chic time of the 1980s and 1990s, or the LSD craze of the 1960s – but that doesn’t mean that’s the only time to expect use and abuse of those drugs. A drug doesn’t become less dangerous or less of a threat just because it isn’t that specific culture or time period any more. Heroin, LSD, cocaine, meth – they’re all still everywhere. Just because it isn’t the 80s, that doesn’t mean people don’t wear acid wash jeans anymore (unfortunately…).

4. If you have a high alcohol tolerance, you don’t have a drinking problem.

If you’re able to handle your alcohol, that must mean you’re okay, right? Well, not exactly. Everyone has a different type of tolerance based on experience and biology. But if you’re getting to the point of feeling nothing after several drinks, you might have developed a dangerously high tolerance, meaning your brain and body needs more and more alcohol to reach a level of intoxication because you’re consuming rapid amounts regularly.

5. If you have a job, take care of your family, and are functioning well, you’re not addicted.

This is a major misconception of addition. There’s something referred to as a “high-functioning addict” – which points to individuals who have a job, a loving family, and a secret drug or alcohol problem. Addicts aren’t always the ones sleeping on the streets or struggling without a job. Addicts can be soccer moms, devoted husbands, CEOs of major corporations, or school teachers – and onlookers may be none the wiser. This type of addict still manages to be staying afloat, but sinking isn’t too far off on the horizon.

6. Drug addiction is a choice.

Of course, choosing to use a drug is most definitely a choice. You’ve made that decision to try a drug. But prolonged use of any sort of substance drastically changes your body and brain chemistry – it makes your brain wired to need the drug, even if you no longer want to keep using it. When the choice is stripped away from the user, the transition from use/abuse into addiction occurs.

7. Detox is the only thing you need; after you finish detox, you’re not longer addicted.

Detox is the first step in the recovery process. It is painful, difficult, and testing – but it just scratches the surface on the entire recovery process. Addiction is not “cured” or “fixed” immediately after detox. Addition is a chronic problem that needs to be continually managed over time, just like any other affliction.

8. If someone in recovery uses again, they start from square one.

It is absolutely possible to relapse, come to terms with the mistake you made, and get right back into the swing of things on your recovery journey. If you believe that without a doubt you’ll end up back to square one, it just might happen. But if you understand that relapse happens and you can move forward, you’ll be able to continue making progress.

9. You need to be religious in order to beat an addiction and get sober.

Sobriety doesn’t require you to believe in any sort of religion. Sobriety is improved if you believe in things like humanity, family, community, and all the wonderful things about yourself – for some, religion helps with that. It isn’t a necessary pairing.

10. Addicts are bad people.

Addicts are people struggling with an issue and trying to overcome it. Just like anyone might struggle with debt and they’re trying to reconcile it, or someone might struggle with a relationship issue and they’re trying to fix it. Or, someone might be battling a disease and they’re fighting it. Addicts most certainly aren’t bad people. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, mothers, fathers, children, soldiers, and farmers. They are people. Addiction does not discriminate – and neither does recovery.


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