There are lots of reasons to feel afraid. Some fear is legitimate, protecting us from danger. However, a lot of the time, fear is counterproductive, keeping us from taking steps towards positive change or improved relationships, and maintaining a harmful but comfortable status quo. Recovery is a huge change, and some hard actions you take to alter behavior, and so it can bring a lot of powerful fearful emotions along with it. Rather then letting fear hold you back, here are some ways you can learn how to respond to fear, listen to it, and ignore it enough to do what is right for you.
1) Identify the thing that makes you afraid
Naming fears is the first step to dealing with them. Often fear comes amorphously, a simple feeling of dread that feels unexplainable. Rather then give in; pause to ask yourself, “What do I really have to be afraid of? What worst-case scenario am I picturing that’s making me want to hold back?” Sometimes simply by stating your fear of change outright, you can realize that in reality, you have nothing to be afraid of. If the fear remains even after being named, you can analyze the fear and figure out how to best approach the situation with a more a level head.
2) Use gratitude and a positive mindset to focus on good in life
Look around at your life, and realize that you’ve made it through hard times before. There is a lot that is going well in the world, and by brining your focus on that, you can take it off the parts that feel intimidating. Realize too that there will continue to be good things in your life no matter what will allow you to have less anxiety about the future, allowing you to accept whatever outcome happens.
3) Do the thing that you are afraid of, one baby step at a time
Such a huge goal as “get sober” is too much for any person to do at once. Naturally, with such a huge task ahead of them, it would be easy to feel fear at the possibility of failure. The way to address such a huge fear is by taking small steps, making smaller goals, and realizing you have the capacity to meet them. In this way, you will not allow fear to stop you from doing something, but in small ways that will boost your confidence. Like the man moving a mountain with a spoon, who simply keeps at doing a small action, again and again, until it all adds up to something huge.
4) Share your fears with others who are supportive, especially with a group of people also in recovery
There is an African proverb that goes “sharing joy multiples it, and sharing trouble divides it.” Although it may sometimes feel like it, you are not the only person who has ever faced whatever you are going through. A good support group or trusted friend may be facing issues very similar to what your own fear. They can encourage you, empathize with you, and tell their story of getting over their fear, in a way that could be encouraging to you.
5) Visualize yourself as you would most like to be
A lot of times, fear is rooted in the imagination. Your mind creates scenes of things going badly, and your body responds by trying to retreat or panic, so the bad thing imagined doesn’t happen. Counteract this tendency by creating your own visualizations, but ones that are full of gratefulness and hope. Imagine yourself, living confidently and victorious over your addictions, able to lead a happy life where you are in control of doing what’s truly enjoyable and good for you. This exercise will give you confidence as you go through life, and helping you face your worst fears.
Self-awareness is a vitally important skill. However, focusing on your self can become destructive if it is done too much. When someone is so preoccupied with his or her self to the point of loosing touch with the outside world or reflecting on the thoughts or feelings of others, it creates self-obsession.
Self-obsession can make your negative emotions so powerful that you feel out of control, caught up in them like a puppet. Being so focused on your self can make it more difficult to be open to the input of a supportive friend or community, because true friendship demands that you both are listened to, and listen to the other person.
Meditation, or purposeful exercises to control the mind in aware of the moment, can be an extremely useful tool in helping you develop a good balance between self-awareness and self-obsession. Here are a few meditation exercises to try.
1) Concentration meditation
Concentration mediation brings focus to your brain, and trains it to be responsive to your direction. When thoughts from the inside, or stressors from the outside come in, concentration can help you switch those harmful voices out, and bring your focus back to what is true in the present moment.
Focus your mind on a single object, like an image, your breath, a sound, or a single word. Use this thing as an anchor, keeping the mind on it for a set period of time, allowing nothing else to enter into your consciousness. If the mind wanders away, simply use the object as a way to bring you back to a state of calmness and slowness.
2) Mindfulness Meditation
Cultivating mindfulness is a very important tool to helping you become aware of what is going on in the here and now, and being fully present in the world.
Begin as you would in concentration, by using breath or a single sensation to direct your mind within itself. But then, slowly, open your eyes and start fanning out, reflecting on the sensations, sights, sounds, and smells in the world around you. Take a step on into the world, paying attention both to the act of walking, and to everything going on all around you. Without judgment, simply receive everything that comes in.
3) Dynamic moving meditation
This form of meditation emphasizes spontaneity, and mind-body connection, so that you learn to express your feelings honestly, and then gain control over them.
a) Start by standing up, relaxed and with loose joints, in comfort. Move around, sporadically and randomly, breathing as hard as you can for ten minutes.
b) Rest, and pay attention to the emotions and thoughts coming up. Slowly, spend a few minutes with sound and body movements that express what is inside you.
c) With eyes closed and arms raised, jump up and down and say “Who!” every time your feet hit the floor. Expend as much energy as possible, but continue to pay attention to what it feels like, both inside and out.
d) Freeze! Stand still like a statue, with eyes closed. Do not adjust your body for 15 minutes, but pay attention to feelings.
e) Dance! Spend some time dancing wildly and freely, to end on positive feelings.
4) Loving Kindness Meditation
With more focus internally then externally, this mediation teaches you the very important skill of treating both yourself and others with compassion. Using visualization of love being sent down, affirmation on your positive qualities, and simply repeating the truth “I send you love” until you really feel and believe it, visualize the following people, and send kindness to them.
b) a respected teacher or elder
c) someone you already dearly love, like a friend
d) someone you know but have no special feelings towards
e) someone you actively dislike or are in conflict with.
5) Quick meditation for the middle of a busy life
This meditation is a useful, quick way of taking a break before a stressful event, taking only a few minutes to bring your focus away from your stress and to the present.
a) Sit up comfortably, with a straight back.
b) Slowly inhale and exhale, breathing long and deep, 3 times.
c) Listen to and feel the air enter your nostrils.
Imagine a clear light appearing on your forehead, shining from your head, out onto the entire world. This light is outshining every confusing or cluttering thought, so that all that comes from your mind is this light.
It goes without saying that treatment for recovery can sometimes be very hard and stressful work. You are having to go all-in working against every fiber of your being, fighting to let go of what used to be one of your main coping mechanisms for handling life. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that can instantly make your addiction go away instantly. However, within yourself, you have the capacity to manage your stress, so that in the end you can both survive and thrive. Here’s a short list on some of the things you can do in treatment to make things less overwhelming and just a little bit easier.
1) Breathe deeply
We need to do it in order to stay alive, but most the most of the time we just do it mindlessly and automatically. By brining our focus to this simple task, you quiet the noise within your min and relax your body. Anywhere, anytime, you can take a few seconds to get a sense of clarity in even the most overwhelming of crises. There are a variety of different ways to breathe intentionally; one of the simplest is called 4-7-8. With eyes closed and the body in a comfortable posture, inhale counting to 4, hold your breath and count to 7, and exhale counting to 8. Notice how you feel, and then repeat.
2) Learn to listen to the inside of yourself
Whenever you feel angry, sad, ashamed, or stressed, resist the urge to try to bury those “negative” emotions. Unconsciousness brought on by drugs and alcohol can be a very efficient way of forgetting negative emotions, so letting go of a perceived need for these substances means learning how to really deal with these feelings, and get down to their root causes. Learn to be unafraid to ask questions of the feelings you feel afraid of, and think about ways you can deal with them more directly. Some people find it really helpful to write in a daily journal, learning how to express their feelings directly in a safe place.
3) Give your brain a “vacation”
But no one can handle delving headfirst into personal pain all the time, with no breaks. Give yourself a limited period of time to deal with and express the frustrating and hard things recovery brings up, but then don’t be afraid to live a little! You may no longer have drugs as an option, so experiment and figure out other ways you can enjoy life. Being surrounded by nature, doing art, listening to music, and exercise are all possibilities that can help you manage your feelings and learn to enjoy being alive.
4) Surround yourself with supportive loved-ones and friends
The radical change in lifestyle that a loss of an addiction entails is not meant to be undertaken alone. If you can find other people able to be supportive and listening and encouraging, they can reduce your burden, give you a new perspective to approach your issues in new ways, and otherwise be a breath of hope-giving fresh air. This will happen most directly within your support group, but any friends can also become a trusted confidant to listen to you and support you. One important part of recovery is working to restore and re-establish trust and respect among people who might have been hurt by your addictive behavior. Although these relationships might take time to heal, as they do, they can celebrate your new found freedom with you.
5) Use gratefulness and humor to focus on the good things
No matter how powerful the darkness may seem, there is always some light. Try to learn to focus on what that light is, choosing to dwell on what is positive, even in the midst of stress and hardship. Simply naming things you feel grateful for can be a really important exercise to bring your focus on the positive. Another important tool is humor. By trying to find the humor in a situation, you also take the focus off its hardship, and show the good in the world.
When speaking informally, people often use the words “cure” and “recovery” interchangeably, but when seeking to deal with and respond to the pull of addiction, the two terms mean very different things, and the distinction between them is a very important concept in understanding how to deal with your own recovery. Merriam-Webster’s medical dictionary defines cure as stopping a disease or illness entirely, but recovery as the softer “act of regaining or returning towards a normal or healthy state.” In other words, to be cured of a disease would mean restored to a condition in which it no longer affects you whatsoever, but recovery is where you learn to cope with the condition and no longer let it get in the way of leading a healthy and good life.
One example that illustrates this distinction is diabetes. Diabetes has no “cure,” in that there is not yet a known, medically approved way of making the condition go away entirely. If there was a cure, then the diabetic could simply take that, make the diabetes disappear, and keep eating whatever or she wants without consequence. However, through careful treatments and changes in behavior, diabetes can be successfully managed to avoid sickness or risk of death. Addiction can be understood the same way. Addiction emerges in combination of biological dependence and dysfunctional behavioral patterns, an all-encompassing harmful lifestyle. This means that treatment may start with withdraw and detoxification, but does not end there.
Real treatment is a never-ending process, a new commitment to, one day at a time, stay away from that which you may feel pulled towards, but must avoid in order to live a happy life. Alcoholics Anonymous’ Big Book speaks on how the process of recovery feels like being “restored to sanity,” as new lifestyle patterns remove the desire to drink or use drugs any more. However, it also cautions continual vigilance and ever-increasing levels of self-awareness and self-discipline, because even a drop of alcohol might result in a return to active alcoholism and all the pain it caused. While other people may appear to enjoy moderate levels of alcohol without negative consequences, the person in recovery makes a commitment to sobriety, because he or she is aware that the vulnerabilities for harmful behavior still exists.
Hearing that addiction cannot be fully “cured,” and will continue to be a lifelong struggle may at first appear a little discouraging, but it is also a cause for hope, and a reason to be realistic and graceful towards yourself. Relapsing is indeed an ever-present possibility, but the realization that you are in a process of “recovery” should let you know that this does not mean that a miraculous 28-day “cure” has failed. Among people actively pursuing treatment for one year, upwards of 70 percent of alcoholics and 60 percent of hard drug users are able to achieve lifelong sobriety. This means that any “failure” does not make you hopeless, but should be viewed as an initiation to forgive yourself, and continue to peruse recovery. Relapse does not mean addicts in recovery have “blown it,” or failed for a lack of willpower, but is a challenge for them to continue the life-saving process of treatment and recovery. Freedom from addiction is possible, but it calls for a continuous engagement to say “no” to the pull of addiction, and say “yes” to that which is life-giving.
Anonymity means a non-disclosure of involvement in recovery, that what is communicated in a small group isn’t shared with anyone else. Anonymity has been an important concept in the recovery movement’s history, but contemporary social changes have created new challenges. Social media websites and sensationalized “reality TV” shows about the rehab process have made it more fashionable to be (superficially) “out in the open” about addiction and recovery, and to keep less of our lives private. Yet, the countercultural respect for anonymity still has value in the deeply personal and sensitive recovery process.
1) Anonymity creates a sense of safety in a small group, giving the courage to take that important first step.
Drug and alcohol abuse is deeply stigmatized, and can be a cause for great shame and hopelessness. Addicts are often highly skilled at managing this shame by rationalizing behavior, and denying it’s a problem they can’t control. Admitting your human imperfections to others can be a very fearful process, because disclosing struggles can invite the judgment of others. Anonymity removes that fear of judgment by insuring the difficult challenges of beginning the sobriety process will be kept private.
2) Anonymity provides security, so that you can be honest with yourself and your fellow people in recovery.
The most insidious form of deception is self-deception, or failing to come to terms with our own truth. Dealing with the challenges of recovery often means learning for the first time how to look at the unvarnished self, of taking steps to admit your own truth, of learning to not feel the shame that keeps humans from facing themselves as they really are. Safety and acceptance from a recovery small group, counselor, or sobriety partner can be very helpful in helping you develop honesty, and keeping your secrets confidential is an important part of building this non-judgmental trust.
3) Anonymity makes everyone in recovery equal, so no one draws attention to himself or herself at the expense of everyone else.
Observation into the dynamics of a small group reveals that some people are naturally more talkative, out-going, or even attention seeking then others. If one person had the ability to become a “spokesperson,” it would alienate and marginalize quieter members, further increasing their reluctance to work to be heard. The group as a whole would begin to be associated with a single charismatic personality, bringing the focus on a person, not the process everyone involved must go through. In this way, anonymity protects the group as a whole, allowing each person room to speak and be heard for his or her self, and not overwhelm anyone else’s story.
4) When dealing with your addiction or need for recovery, you need space to shed your other identities.
Substance abuse is an issue that affects people of every walk of life or socially constructed category imaginable. Thus, in your recovery group you will probably encounter people very different from yourself. Race, socio-economic class, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or career should not be a barrier allowing you to come together to support each other on the path to recovery. Anonymity takes the focus off our outside lives that may be very different, and puts the focus on what we have in common, the shared need for healing from addiction.
5) Your story and your truth belong to you alone, so understand it yourself before trusting others with it.
Anonymity does not mean that you are required to keep your personal struggles a secret; in fact, truthful sharing of secrets with loved ones is an important part of recovery. However, this is a painful process that needs to take time, and anonymity gives safe space to process things on your own, so that you can share your truth on your own time. Un-learning addictive habits is hard work that requires a great deal of self-love and self-patience, so you are the only one who has the right determine when and how your story is told.
The current star of the TV show “Revenge” has recently revealed to the public about her struggles in the past with abuse and addiction. Amber Valletta has never spoken before about her problems with drug abuse but has now come forward to discuss her story of addiction and recovery. Valletta has found success as a longtime model and more recently as an actress playing the role of Lydia Davis. She struggled with addiction through years of her young life but was finally able to achieve sobriety at the age of 25. The actress, now 40, has spoken about the more personal aspects of her life and the details of her problems with drugs and alcohol.
A Life of Drug Addiction
Amber Valletta admits that drugs had been a problem for her even from a very young age. She was only 8 years old when she started trying to get high from sniffing markers, glue, fingernail polish or anything that made her feel a buzz. The culture of her family made her discover real drugs and she started using at the age of 10.
By the time she was 18 and had moved to Europe she was addicted to cocaine and alcohol. As a young model, she was in a business where this type of drug use was widely accepted and even given to people in the industry. Although her addiction began to take over her life, Valletta was still succeeding in the modeling world and even landed the cover of Vogue at the age of 25.
She began to realize how much her drug use was negatively affecting her personal life and even her professionalism. She alienated friends and family members and nearly sacrificed a multi-million dollar deal by showing up to a campaign drunk and high. Even when her uncle was dying, she showed up to his bedside still high and drunk looking to do another line of cocaine.
Seeking Help for Recovery
As Valletta’s behavior became more out of control, she finally realized that she needed to get help when she was 25. She sought treatment for her addiction and was able to get sober through a rehab program. After 15 years, Amber Valletta is still maintaining her sobriety although she still identifies herself as an addict and admits that she was always responsible for her own addictive behavior.
Even though she had easy access to drugs in her modeling career she believes it was her own fault for letting her drug abuse get out of control. The reason for her addiction problems was due to her feeling uncomfortable in her own skin and looking for an escape through drugs and alcohol.
Valletta knows she was not a victim of those providing her drugs in the modeling industry but her actions were always her own choice.
When she reached 25 and was at the peak of her career she finally realized that she didn’t want to die of her addiction. She was able to overcome her feelings of shame and admit to the people around her that she needed help. It took courage for her to saw that she didn’t want to go through it alone and that she needed support to overcome her addiction.
Valletta hopes her story of recovery can inspire others who are struggling with addiction to seek help. She understands the darkness of addiction and how hard it can be to finally summon the strength to enter recovery.
Amber Valletta continues her successful sobriety along with her acting career on “Revenge” and a new show called “Legends” that will premiere this month on TNT.
The NFL is now under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration for the abuse of prescription medication by athletes in their locker rooms. Federal drug agents began looking into the abuse of painkillers and other drugs after attorneys representing about 1,300 NFL retirees accused the league of illegally handing out medication without warning players about the possibility of addiction and health problems.
The DEA is looking into the specific circumstances of the abuse of painkillers and sleeping pills by athletes in the NFL and how they were provided with these kinds of drugs. The allegations against the NFL could mean serious consequences for the league if the DEA determines that the accusations are true.
Prescription Addiction in the NFL
Former NFL players such as Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon and a number of other plaintiffs have come forward to accuse the NFL of causing drug addiction among its athletes. The retirees’ attorneys assert that they were given prescription drugs illegally without being told of the risks. McMahon in particular has claimed that because of the medication he was given by the NFL he eventually became addicted to pain pills and at one point was taking more than 100 Percosets each month.
Because of these kinds of accusations the DEA is reaching out to former players to learn exactly how NFL doctors and trainers get access to dangerous narcotics like Percodan and Vicodin or anti-inflammatories such as Toradol which is considered a non-addictive pain killer. The DEA is searching to find out who provided and distributed the drugs to the football players that have made these allegations.
Health Problems Due to Use of Painkillers
The retirees who prompted the investigation have filed a class action lawsuit in San Francisco federal court against the NFL for providing prescription drugs to keep players on the field without informing them of the long-term risks. Over 1,300 players have confirmed that the NFL violated state and federal drug laws by giving them medication for their injuries so that they could quickly return to the field.
The NFL distributed powerful painkillers and sleeping pills to numb the pain so that athletes could continue playing leading to many aggravated injuries and long term health problems among the plaintiffs in the case. According to the statements of the lawsuit, Keith Van Horne of the Chicago Bears played an entire season with a broken leg because he was constantly taking prescription drugs to cope with the pain. Another player, Richard Dent, now suffers from permanent nerve damage after playing eight games of a season with a broken foot because he was given painkillers instead of necessary surgery.
The period between the 1980s and 1990s was a time when the NFL did little to monitor the medications that were provided to its players. For the NFL in those years, doctors would pass out medication freely and players could easily access the drug cabinet to help themselves to pain killers. The amount of pain medication taken during these years led to many players developing severe addictions.
Players like Ray Lucas of the Jets eventually turned to street drugs to deal with painful injuries after developing an extremely high tolerance for pain medication while in the NFL. Those involved in the allegations are hopeful that the DEA will uncover evidence that has been unavailable to lawyers pursing a civil suit. However in spite of plenty anecdotal evidence from former players, it may be difficult to prove that league officials played a role in the athletes’ abuse of prescription drugs. The ongoing investigation could reveal helpful evidence for the case but it remains to be seen how the NFL will respond to the allegations.
A record number of people have died in the state of Ohio as a result of heroin and opiate addiction, an epidemic that is also affecting the entire country. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is responding to this particular issue with proposal for legislation that could prove instrumental in reducing the number of people who die from heroin and treating those suffering from addiction. He introduced a plan that would substantially increase drug treatment for people that struggle with heroin or opoid abuse. With a proposal for a law called “the Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act”, Senator Brown hopes to provide more extensive treatment while also offering lower costs to hospitals.
More Treatment for Those in Need
Brown’s main concern is saving the lives of those who could potentially experience death by overdose of heroin or opoids. The number of deaths due to heroin overdose has increased at an alarming rate in his home state and throughout the U.S. He believes that his new law would lower costs for hospitals and more importantly save lives by allowing doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to treat more patients who are dealing with an addiction to heroin. The Senator is concerned that there are simply not enough providers that are available to care for patients with heroin or opiate addictions. In his opinion, it is easier for Americans to obtain heroin than it is to get help in recovering from their addiction. According to Senator Brown’s plan, treatment for heroin addiction would be more readily available to relieve the burden on hospitals and help get more addicts sober before they experience an overdose.
Lower Costs for Hospitals
An overwhelming number of emergency room visits are linked to abuse or misuse of opoid painkillers with 475,000 people a year entering the hospital nationwide. Brown believes that the amount of people receiving hospital treatment for overdoses costs the nation’s healthcare system a lot of money and his new law would have a positive financial impact. Providing more treatment for addicts to recover from heroin addiction can keep them out of the emergency rooms and reduce the costs that hospitals accumulate every year. His home state of Ohio is already taking more measures to address the problem of heroin abuse that is plaguing the nation. The Greater Cincinnati Health Council is planning to hold an educational program for hospital and healthcare leaders to discuss the impact of the heroin epidemic. The program will discuss the growing problem of addiction and how it affects law enforcement, hospitals and communities in the area.
Senator Brown’s new law would effectively increase treatment for addiction by removing federal limitations on how many patients a doctor can treat for drug addiction. Under the current law, doctors are not allowed to treat more than 30 patients for drug addiction during their first year and are also restricted to treating only 100 a year afterward. This type of limitation has led to long waits for treatment and many addicts being unable to receive the help that they need before it is too late. The limit on treating heroin addiction was put in place because of concerns that methadone would be abused if it was too widely prescribed. Brown’s changes to the law would increase the limit in the first year to 100 and after the first year the limit could be lifted for doctors who are substance abuse treatment specialists. Many doctors in the state agree with Brown’s legislation because of the number of patients in need they must turn down because of the federal limitations. If Brown’s bill passes, doctors will be more available to patients who are ready to get help for their addiction.
With the overwhelming rise in prescription addictions in the U.S. in recent years, communities are now looking for ways to educate the public about the dangers of prescription medication. Officials in the city of Santa Clarita are planning to host the “Pills Kill: Prescription to Addiction Symposium” as a way to bring more awareness to the problem of prescription drugs. They hope that by reaching out to parents and teens in the city they can work to reduce the number of people coping with serious addictions to painkillers and anxiety medications. Because prescription pills are so readily available and are legal, many citizens in the community may be unaware of the danger involved in taking them even when they are recommended by a doctor.
Prescription Drugs as a Gateway
The symposium will be held on August 27th at the Santa Clarita Activities Center for all interested members of the community. Some of the focus of the program will be on educating young people about addiction and the possibility of developing a habit of taking prescription medication. It will also bring awareness to the fact that prescription drugs can become a gateway to other types of drug use that can be even more addictive and dangerous. When young teens get hooked on their medication they could eventually move on to illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine or even heroin. The symposium will discuss these matters so that parents and teens alike understand what can happen when they take medications like Oxycontin or Xanax even when prescribed by a doctor. These are some of the most common and also most addictive drugs available to teens that have caused problems for families in Santa Clarita and all across the country.
Drug Abuse in Santa Clarita
Santa Clarita officials sent out a press release calling prescription drugs a “silent killer” that are extremely dangerous and easily addictive especially when misused or taken inappropriately. Unfortunately for the members of the Santa Clarita community, prescription pill abuse has become more prevalent and destroyed many families in the city. The Mayor of the city, Laurene Weste, stated that they believe the most effective tools to use in the war on drugs are providing information to parents and teens to prevent drug abuse as much as possible. Educating people in the community can help to keep families safe from addiction and the devastation it can cause. This kind of education is the goal of putting together the program for the benefit of families in Santa Clarita.
Discussing Addiction with Families
The symposium will offer a panel of experts including officials from law enforcement and the Hart district, as well as an emergency room physician and pharmacist. This panel will lead the discussion and provide their knowledge and opinions to educate the public about prescription drug addiction. There will also be a Resource Expo before the symposium to provide additional information and help from addiction and recovery experts. The program is free for attendees and is open to the public with a live Spanish translation available. Santa Clarita officials believe that it is important to inform families about prescription drugs as a gateway, especially parents with teens and pre-teens. Junior high is typically the period of time when children begin to experiment with drugs and they could be offered prescription pills by friends in their school. According to statistics, 80 percent of kids who become heroin addicts begin with prescription pills. The drugs become all the more dangerous because of how easy they are to obtain, even for young people under the age of 18. The symposium will help parents talk to teens about drug abuse and work to prevent this kind of addiction.
There are many myths and misconceptions about treatment for alcoholism. The reality is that many times there are no simple answers to helping someone recover from a serious addiction. However, what can be helpful is for people to become more educated about alcoholism treatment and the common myths that may surround it. Here are 10 myths about treatment for alcoholism.
One: Treatment That Works For One Person Will Work On Another
Although hearing about someone else’s success story may be inspirational, the reality is that what may work for one person may not work for another. Everyone brings different backgrounds and genetics and that affects how they will respond to a treatment. The best rehab centers will tailor a treatment for an individual to receive the best customized care.
Two: Only Irresponsible People Can’t Stop Drinking
Alcohol is a complex problem, and can happen to even the most responsible and normal people. If someone has developed an addiction to alcohol it doesn’t mean that they are irresponsible, but they’ve developed a dependency on a substance and need professional help.
Three: Professional Treatment Will Cure The Problem Forever
While professional addiction treatment will definitely set the alcoholic on the right path to recovery, the reality is that it will be a lifelong journey. Addiction is never completely cured, but it will give the patient the tools to cope with life without turning to alcohol, which they had turned to before.
Four: Alcoholics Must Be At Their Lowest Point Before Getting Treatment
An alcoholic doesn’t need to hit rock-bottom before attaining treatment. In fact, it’s better to recognize the problem early so that treatment can be sought before the addiction spirals out of control.
Five: Self-Control Is Key To Overcoming Addiction
Addiction isn’t about self-control, but about overcoming a disease that has taken over a person’s life. Attributing it to self-control is the wrong way to view addiction, and why it’s so hard to conquer.
Six: All Rehab Centers Are The Same
Rehab centers are not all the same, and some may be better for an individual than others. Patients should find the rehab center that offers the best facilities, staff, and individualized care to receive the best chance at a full recovery.
Seven: Relapse Is A Major Failure
No one is perfect, and even someone with the best intentions can have a moment of weakness. That does not mean that rehab has been a failure. In fact, it just means that the patient in recovery has experienced a bump in the road, and just needs to get back up again with renewed determination to be sober.
Eight: Families Will Immediately Be Reunited After Treatment
Families that have been torn apart by addiction won’t immediately be functional again after a member has received treatment. Besides recovery from alcohol addiction, the individual also needs to work on piecing one’s family back together. That is something that will have to continually be worked on even after treatment.
Nine: Mental Health Issues Need To Be Treated Separately
The exact opposite is true, mental issues and addiction problems need to be treated together by a dedicated addiction professional who has experience treating co-occurring disorders. Studies have shown that when treated together, patients have a much greater chance at long-term success.
Ten: Treatment Has To Be A Painful Experience
While treatment will be challenging, it doesn’t have to be a painful horrible experience. In fact, it’s time where the patient can focus strictly on oneself, becoming a healthier, more functional person. The patient can focus on growing spiritually and emotionally and have access to top-notch facilities and addiction professionals. There will also be a community of people fostering the path towards a successful rehabilitation.
photo credit: Travis Young