Sometimes it’s the things we grew up believing and tell ourselves, sometimes it’s the things we hear from others – but almost everyone has heard at least one of these common misconceptions. Many use them as excuses to remain in denial, to continue using and abusing substances despite the knowledge that something is wrong. Some are discouraged and give up before giving themselves a chance. The more fortunate have taken control of their own recovery having discovered that no-one else can dictate the course of their addiction nor their sobriety.
Myth: You’re Too Young to Get Sober
Reality: Sobriety, recovery, and reversal of addictive behavior can begin at any time in a person’s life. It is true that many people realize their alcoholism and addictions later in life after a long, slow progression or many years of denial, yet there are plenty of younger people who want and need recovery. Especially with the popularity and wide availability of highly addictive drugs such as crack/cocaine, <href=”#heroin_facts”>heroin, and <href=”#crystal_methamphetamine_facts”>methamphetamines which cause a rapid progression of addictive behavior and social, physical, and economic consequnces, younger populations are now frequently seeking help from both treatment centers and 12-step programs – and finding a great deal of success.
Myth: An Alcoholic is a bum on “Skid Row”
Reality: An alcoholic can live in an apartment, own their own home, be CEO of a major corporation, a stay-at-home mom, a professional or a student. Alcoholism, or any type of chemical dependency, knows no social or economic boundaries. Although the stereotype of the wine-o with his bottle wrapped in a brown paper bag is slowly fading, many still keep this image tucked away as reassurance that they or their loved ones surely can’t be an alcoholic since they are not destitute on the streets begging for change to get the next drink.
Myth: Hitting Bottom Means Losing Everything
Reality: “Hitting Bottom”, a term often used to describe the definitive turning point when an addicted person realizes defeat and is then able to make changes, is different for everyone. It is true that in some people’s experiences, they first had to lose homes, have children taken by the state, lose marriages & friends, or go to jail before they could accept that their alcohol or drug use was causing so much damage. But many, many others have experienced varying degrees of what they describe as their “bottom”. For one man, it may be the look in his daughter’s eyes as she watches him reach for another beer; for his neighbor it may be the cold, empty feeling she cannot drink away no matter how hard she tries.
Myth: If You’re Court-Ordered to AA, You Won’t Stay Sober & Won’t be Welcomed
Reality: Throngs of alcoholics and addicts have been referred to Alcoholics Anonymous & other 12-step meetings as part of release conditions for DWI/DUI’s and other drug and alcohol related convictions. Just as with anyone who walks in of their own will off the street, there is no guarantee that a first attempt at sobriety and recovery will be 100% successful for court appointed attendees. Yet there are plenty of sober, happy, successfully recovering alcoholics and addicts whose first meeting was at the firm request of a judge or probation officer. Were they welcomed to AA? It is rare to find an AA or NA member who would not extend open arms to any newcomer, no matter what brings him or her to the rooms. A great deal of them once had to have attendance slips signed themselves! The most important thing to remember, and often the reasoning behind court ordered attendance, is that by simply being at a meeting a person is getting exposure to a path of recovery and ideas that promote sobriety instead of substance abuse.