It’s time for another installment of Drug Myths Busted where we challenge commonly held myths about drugs from people in recovery and provide you with alternative points-of-view that we believe to be the truth.
1. There are Multiple Paths to Recovery
Since the inception of the Twelve-Steps program in 1935, the mutual help group has been considered to be the gold standard for alcohol and drug abuse recovery programs. But now there are more options for people with substance abuse disorders. This isn’t an attack on the 12-Steps. It’s more of an acknowledgement that we’re all different and while the Twelve-Step program has worked wonders for some, others may respond more favorably to alternative support groups.
Some of these other courses of action range from non-secular support groups to entirely new modalities such as Smart RECOVERY – a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) based therapy. There are also gender specific and religious based groups as well as a multitude of other formulas that provide a different type of forum for people in recovery.
Then there are a wide range of alternative treatments for drug addiction which include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
2. A Relapse doesn’t mean an Automatic Reset
When a person who is trying to recover from an addiction relapse, it is important for his or her support network to recognize all the good things that they have accomplished and learned leading up to the relapse. Many people in recovery are taught that one setback will erase all their accumulated “clean time” they accrued before giving in to their drug addiction. This way of thinking can be damaging to the person fighting for his life to overcome an addiction.
Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, we live in an extremely competitive environment where we glorify the winners and often fail to recognize the efforts of the people that come up short. This can be exemplified by the way we place supreme importance on a person’s sober date and often ignore the achievements an individual attained before their relapse.
A relapse should not be viewed as a failure, but an opportunity for someone to meld together everything that they learned throughout the recovery process
We need to do a better job celebrating the smaller victories achieved by people in recovery. For instance, let’s applaud all the lessons learned by a person in recovery prior to and after a relapse. A relapse should not be viewed as a failure, but an opportunity for someone to meld together everything that they learned throughout the recovery process whether it ended favorably or not. These valuable lessons learned will help a person in recovery to refine and build more resilient coping skills moving forward in their quest for sobriety.
Now, no one is saying that relapsing is a necessary part of the recovery process – although it is a defining point in one’s journey towards sobriety. A relapse should be thought of as an opportunity to simply learn from one’s mistakes and not overlook the things they did well.
3. A Person in Recovery is not Powerless
The teaching of self-empowerment should be a focal point of every drug rehab’s treatment plan as well as recovery groups. According to Life Ring Secular Recovery much of the literature regarding addiction appeals to the assumption, established nearly 100 years ago, that addicts are powerless over drugs and alcohol. This type of thinking leaves people in recovery feeling that they can do nothing about their condition, but put themselves in the hands of others.
It is factual that while one is actively high or drunk – if addicted, it is highly difficult to refrain from having another drink, or dose. But while high it is no secret that one has very little control over one’s mind at all. This is no surprise. We also know that many people who have suffered serious injuries become physically dependent on narcotics to alleviate their pain, however; when the drug is withdrawn – although they may experience discomfort initially – they never again use, or obsess about using the drug. This, in itself, disproves the theory that a person in recovery is powerless.
4. People use Drugs for Reasons
As a dual-diagnosis treatment center, the Cove Center for Recovery is discovering that more and more people are entering our program with strictly mental health issues opposed to the more common cases where clients require dual-diagnosis treatment for both mental health disorders as well as drug addiction(s). These mental health conditions are diverse. They can include severe trauma, abuse, isolation, self-harm, and bi-polar disorders. On too many occasions, doctors have misdiagnosed their patient’s mental health conditions and prescribed them with anti-depressants.
Many of these individuals were not depressed, but suffered from other mental health disorders and were subsequently misdiagnosed by doctors. The pills that were prescribed never helped them. One individual, who asked to remain anonymous, admitted to using heroin every day after his physician repeatedly failed to properly assess his mental health condition.
We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to share your very own drug myth and perhaps we will publish it. Education is one of the most important tools you can use to avoid falling into a drug addiction trap. You can email us your drug myth at firstname.lastname@example.org.