8 Myths about Addicts – And the Facts That Most of Us Don’t Know
There are lots of myths about addicts that seem to run rampant. For the friends and families of a person who struggles with an addiction, these myths can make the difference between having a solid, supportive relationship, and bailing. For the rest of the world, these myths are just that, myths.
If you’re thinking that a myth is really no big deal, you should think again, because the more these untruths spread, the harder it is to help those that need help and prevent the cycle of addiction from continuing.
For this reason, it’s important that everyone gets a little bit of addiction education because after all, knowledge is power.
Myth: Addicts don’t care that they’re addicted.
Truth: Addicts live in their own private hell. This is so hard for many people to understand, but when you actually get the chance to talk to someone that struggles with an addiction, you’ll probably find that they don’t want to be addicted to anything. They actually want to live a normal, healthy life. Not only that but during their sober moments, many addicts are so plagued by things that they have done and the lives that they have been living that they choose to drink or get high just to escape from the grim reality of life.
Myth: Addicts are bad people.
Truth: It’s not the addict that’s bad, it’s the addiction. When you understand what addiction does to people, you’ll have a different take on this idea. Surprisingly to many, lots of people that battle addictions are really amazing people. They’ve made bad choices. Just like lots of us, they chose to take a risk for a good time. Unfortunately for them, they wound up having too much fun. Many different types of substances and alcohol actually affect the part of the brain that makes us good or bad people. It takes rational thinking and tosses it down the drain. It creates a sense of entitlement and reduces the way we differentiate between right and wrong.
Myth: Addicts just want to hurt you.
Truth: Sometimes, you wind up being collateral damage. It’s not that your addicted loved one wants to hurt you specifically, it’s that he really isn’t thinking about you. When he steals your best, most important piece of jewelry, he’s not thinking of how much you’ll be hurt by the loss and the fact that he’s the one who did it, he’s thinking that this fat ring will buy him all the heroin he needs for a day or two. He’s not thinking about how taking your tools will affect your livelihood, he’s thinking about how he can now stay high on meth for another week. You are just collateral damage. It doesn’t make it any better for you when it happens, but understanding can help you to see it’s not personal.
Myth: Addicts don’t want to change.
Truth: Addicts want to change, but it’s just so hard. It’s important to keep in mind that many people who struggle with an addiction started drinking or using as a way to avoid their feelings. When someone chooses to get clean and sober, they will have to face those feelings and so much more. Even the strongest will find that they struggle, and those who like to hide run the risk of truly wanting to die. This is one of the biggest myths about addicts that should be addressed because it’s just not true. People who battle addictions do want to change eventually, but many of them just can’t. it’s often easier to keep up a charade than it is, to be honest, and strong with themselves.
Myth: You just have to be determined to overcome your addiction.
Truth: It has to do with willpower, but it also is about so much more. Yes, on some level overcoming an addiction has to do with willpower, but that willpower breaks down so very fast. Then, it has to do with much more than how strong you can be. When people are on a diet, they can at least eat something. When someone is struggling with an addiction, there simply is no substitute for the source of the addiction. This means that you can’t even do something to satisfy a craving, you have to try to distract yourself, tough it out, slip into a coma or anything but use or drink until it passes. For those that have never battled an addiction of any kind, it’s a hard concept to grasp, but physical cravings can leave you sweating and desperate long after detox is over, and the emotional cravings can make you want to cry for days.
Myth: Only “certain types” of people become addicted.
Truth: Anyone can become addicted. Take note of this, especially if you’re shocked that your loved one who had everything going for her is addicted. It happens, it can happen fast, and with devastating force. It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter what you have going for you or what you do. If it did, we wouldn’t see so many wealthy and famous people struggling with addiction. Unfortunately, addiction can, and does, hit anyone at any time. It just depends on whether or not they have the gene, and most of us have no idea that we’re prone to it. Add a physiological tendency toward addiction to emotional issues that are left unresolved, and you’ve got a recipe for addiction that you probably had no idea existed.
Myth: People can be cured of addiction.
Truth: Addiction is like a long-term condition that can be managed, but likely never fully cured. There are all kinds of conditions that we suffer that can be managed. Depression and anxiety are two examples of conditions that can be managed. You’re never really cured of them, though, and even though things can be great and normal for years, you can slip back into these conditions fairly quickly. Addiction is a condition that can be managed. There are lots of ways to do so, but just like acne or Multiple Sclerosis, some of what you’re doing now that works well can eventually wear off. So, does anyone ever actually get cured of addiction? No. Learning to manage the addiction is the best, most effective step you can take to live clean and sober.
Myth: All addicts are junkies.
Truth: You would be surprised who’s struggling with an addiction. This is another of the very cruel myths about addicts, and one of the reasons why so many people don’t choose to come forward when they do have a problem. They simply don’t want people to see them as a junkie. You know, the doctor who is hooked on opioids, or the executive that can’t stop using cocaine or meth. The kind-hearted teacher that goes home and drinks himself into a stupor night after night. Addiction can affect anyone, and most addicts are not junkies, but they might be just a step or two away from getting there.
Now that you know some of the myths about addicts, it’s time to start changing the way we see them, spend time with them and incorporate them into our daily lives. For some of us, it’s just too hard to watch addiction destroy a loved one’s life, but for many of us, the love of the family member or friend keeps us trying to stay connected and loving them.
The good news is that this love is what will eventually help your friend or family member to get the help they need to start living clean and sober. When that time comes, give us a call. We can help you or your loved one find a rehab that really works for your needs so you can enjoy all the benefits of living an addiction-free life and do it in a way that you feel connected to.
Don’t think that you can’t afford rehab, either, because there are lots of financing options out there. We’ll help you navigate them, starting with your insurance coverage.
The only way to break the stigma and myths about addicts is to help change the way people see it, starting with you. So give us a call and see how amazing it can be to learn how to overcome your addiction. You have nothing to lose but a bunch of unhappiness and struggle.