Alcohol recovery can only begin with the facts.
How do you prepare to take a trip? You start gathering the correct facts from the right sources. And alcohol recovery should start the same way.
Myths about alcoholism and alcohol recovery abound. But they don’t usually help anyone. Here at In The Rooms, we want to help anyone who needs it. That’s why we’re finishing up the second half of our “Facts About Alcoholism” series today. Make sure to read the first half from last week!
Myth: Alcoholics choose their struggle and can be solely blamed for it.
Fact: Alcoholics suffer from a complicated disease, not from moral failings.
Many people have viewed addiction as a simple set of immoral choices, but scientific research and societal conversation have shifted that definition. The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation lists a few factors in addiction: genetic makeup, emotional stability, peer exposure, and age. You don’t choose all of these things, but they contribute to alcohol dependence. Recovery requires that you see addiction as a sort of chronic disease which has consequences in your life, but one that you can also treat carefully and over a long time.
Myth: Alcoholics are “cured” through first-time recovery.
Fact: Alcoholics can recover through a committed, one day at a time journey.
As many of our members at In The Rooms could tell you, seeking treatment and recovery from alcohol dependence doesn’t turn into lifelong sobriety. Careful pursuit might bring you to that result. But it’s not as quick or cheap as a vending machine. Addiction Resource points out that alcohol recovery often takes plenty of time, depending on how long you’ve suffered addiction and what your recovery needs. If you expect immediate recovery from your first recovery attempt, the persistence chance of relapse (rates range between 20% and 50% for most in recovery) may jade you if your first recovery attempt fails. It will require longer commitment, and expecting a “cure” for the disease of addiction won’t ready you for that discipline.
Myth: Alcoholics are lost causes because of their addiction.
Fact: Alcoholics can always have the chance for recovery.
Even if sobriety takes time and effort, it’s not impossible. Though your rate of relapse can be high in alcohol recovery, you’re not doomed to suffer alcohol addiction forever. With careful recovery, you will have the chance for long-term sobriety. Take AA, for example: American Addiction Centers explains that the fellowship’s committed members tend to have decent success rates (ranging from 8-49% sobriety in the years following membership). Clearly, alcohol recovery works for some people. No one is a lost cause just because of their addiction. But remember, recovery (through AA or any other programs) likely only happens with diligent participation. You recover by working at it.
Myth: Alcoholics will live boring lives without alcohol.
Fact: Alcoholics can salvage their lives with alcohol recovery.
If you say “if I don’t drink, my life won’t be as much fun,” you open the door to a harmful rationalization of your drinking. You view recovery as a future restraint, instead of (correctly) viewing alcohol addiction as the restraint. But a life of recovery exposes you what you might not have had while addicted: new social supports, new time free of drinking and maybe a greater understanding of how you first became addicted. Could you call those things boring? Are they worse than the consequences of your drinking?
Make sure that you learn more facts about alcoholism and alcohol recovery. You can do that here at In The Rooms, and you can also experience alcohol recovery first hand through our community. Sign up today for access to all our peer recovery meetings! Or, if you need treatment, visit our treatment clinics directory and see which treatments might help you.
Whatever you do, make sure to start your alcohol recovery with the facts and not the myths.
“Breaking the Myths of Alcoholism.” The Betty Hazelden Ford Foundation.
“Alcoholism Recovery: How Long Does It Take to Get Sober?” Addiction Resource.
“Alcohol Relapse.” DrugAbuse.com
“What is the Success Rate of AA?” American Addiction Center.
“The Role of Mutual-Health Groups in Extending the Framework of Treatments.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.