While a person may get through a recovery program and stay clean for a while after, nobody can force an addict to recover. An addict can only begin the recovery journey when they admit that they are powerless over the substance, and their life has become unmanageable. Such rigorous honesty, admitting our addiction and seeking help for it, is a big and brave step. Therefore, it is important to look at some of the myths about substance abuse recovery and offer correct and honest information.
Myths About Substance Abuse Recovery
Myth: You have to reach rock bottom
Hitting rock bottom can mean losing everything or being institutionalized, in jail, or at death’s door. However, many people are able to find recovery before they hit rock bottom. For some people, seeing what their addiction is doing to a family member, or seeing a friend with the same addiction die from it, is enough of a wake-up call. Others are oftentimes sick of the shame and stigma that comes with being an addict.
Myth: Relapse means treatment doesn’t work
Treatment doesn’t work in isolation. Recovery is a process and while it may start with treatment programs, it doesn’t end there. While in treatment, patients are given therapy, guidance, and a plan to prevent them from relapsing once they leave. Part of that plan is to recommend 12 step meetings with a support group as well as finding a sponsor. A treatment program may also recommend continuing treatment on an outpatient basis.
The trouble is that some patients think they are cured after rehab and can resume their addictions in moderation. People who relapse after treatment and recovery have not yet understood enough about their addiction. Addiction is a progressive disease. Therefore, many find their way back to rehab for substance abuse treatment. It can take multiple rehab visits until the patient’s mind catches up with their body. The trouble is we always hear more about the people that treatment didn’t help than the ones it did help.
Myth: Rehab is the only way to treat addiction
Rehab is not the only way to treat addiction to gambling, drugs, or alcohol. Organizations such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), help hundreds of thousands of people to get clean and stay clean every year.
The key to these 12 step programs is that newcomers are given a sponsor. A sponsor is also a recovering addict who has been through the twelve steps with a sponsor and has a reasonable amount of clean time. The premise of a sponsor is that only an addict can help another addict, once the addict has decided that they need help.
Another helpful way to treat addiction is through treatment outpatient programs. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and ministers of religion can all help addicts recover as well.
Myth: Medication – Swapping one addiction for another
Opioids, prescription pain killers, heroin, and cocaine are all highly addictive substances. The medications used to treat addictions and wean people safely off the substances they are abusing are not addictive. Methadone is frequently used by doctors in the fight against addiction and has a low risk of overdose. The best thing to do while taking medication treatment is to become a member of one of the organizations listed above in order to be treated holistically – mind, body, and spirit.
Myth: Treating addiction is prohibitively expensive
The anonymous organizations are completely free to attend – members make contributions as and when they can. These groups are also in contact with not-for-profit rehab centers, many of which were started by former addicts. There are also government subsidized rehab and treatment centers available which are relatively inexpensive. Some health insurance plans also cover the cost of rehab and treatment facilities.
Addicts are not bad people trying to become good people. Addicts are sick people who need to get well – to recover. Addiction is a disease of the body and an obsession of the mind. However, with the proper care, and integrity, substance abuse recovery is possible.
Additional Reading: Addiction Resources (Help.org)
Blue Sky Counseling Omaha – Mental Health Counseling
I, Carly Spring, M.S., LIMHP, LADC, CPC, offer my specialized expertise to assist in the healing process to anyone who may be experiencing and suffering from a vast spectrum of mental health issues. Such mental health issues include behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, addiction issues, and life transitions. I believe strongly in applying a holistic perspective addressing your whole person not just the bits and pieces of you. Contact us with any questions or to discuss gambling addiction services in Omaha today.