Misconceptions of People Who are in Recovery
Making the decision to seek recovery from drug or alcohol abuse is significant. It’s what changes lives. However, that doesn’t stop people who suffer from addiction from feeling ashamed about their recovery. When it should be a moment of celebration, it’s more often a moment of embarrassment for those in recovery when someone finds out. The reason is the sheer number of misconceptions surrounding the recovery process. People who’ve never been through recovery view it as a negative rather than a positive. The truth is those who have the strength to go through detox, rehab, and recovery are often the strongest people. They are making a daily decision to live a clean life, and that’s not easy. Misconceptions abound, and it’s time they’re debunked.
Addiction is a Choice
Addiction is not a choice, no matter what people choose to believe. Addiction is an illness that can occur to anyone. Drugs and alcohol are both addictive, and people can’t control how their bodies react to something that makes them want more each time. While so many people view recovering addicts as weak for making poor choices, it’s not their fault. They aren’t living with the power to just stop using. They can’t do it because they’re addicted.
Much like a person diagnosed with cancer didn’t choose cancer, a person addicted to drugs or alcohol didn’t choose this lifestyle. They made one poor choice to try the substance, and their lives spiraled out of control from that point. People in recovery choose to recover. They didn’t choose to become addicted.
Recovery is a Cure
Addiction is a disease without a cure. There’s nothing that gets rid of addiction except the choice not to use drugs or alcohol in the future. Some diseases simply have no cure, and this is the case. Recovery is a form of treatment. It lasts forever. No one is cured of addiction; they simply go through recovery for the rest of their life. It’s how they stay clean, and it’s a choice.
Those not in recovery typically don’t understand the process. It’s an everyday choice, and that’s why people in recovery have a support system in place. It’s also why they refer to themselves as being a recovering addiction for however many days, weeks, months, or years it’s been since the last time they used their substance of choice.
You Have to Want to Recover to Make it Work
When someone’s family forces them into rehab or recovery, it won’t work. That’s the general misconception surrounding the entire process. While it is true for some people, it’s not always true. Many people are pushed into rehab to make their families happy only to come out the other side of recovery able to take control of their life each day.
Another misconception works the other way. Just because a person who hit rock bottom made the decision to seek help for his or her addiction doesn’t mean recovery will last. People have to continue to make the choice to want to get better every day. Whether the choice began as their own or someone else has no bearing on the outcome of their recovery.
Those in Recovery Are Dangerous
There are people in the world who see things in a positive light, and there are people who don’t. The people who don’t see things in a positive light see recovering addicts as dangerous and unreliable. Those who see the world in a positive light see that these are people who made a decision, and they’re working hard every day to continue to make the same good decision to stay in recovery.
There are people who won’t hire someone who is in recovery to work for them. There are people who won’t date someone in recovery or have kids with them. There are people who see recovering addicts as dangerous, scary, unworthy people. They’re not. They’re strong, they’re fighting, and they’re reliable. Addiction is not who a person is. It’s part of their life, but it’s not who they are as a person. Just because someone is in recovery doesn’t mean they can’t work for you, work hard, and succeed in life.
Former Drug Addicts are Criminals
Many people see recovering drug addicts as nothing more than a common criminal, but this is not the case. Criminals can be addicted to drugs or alcohol, and so can people who have never broken a law in their life. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, but people do. Former drug addicts can be anyone from a criminal to the local kindergarten teacher to someone’s grandmother, but it doesn’t mean they’re criminals. Addiction can happen to anyone, and it doesn’t make them bad people.
Recovering Addicts Can’t Have Fun
While it’s not a recovering addict’s favorite thing to do, they can still have fun attending parties and events where alcohol is being consumed. The longer a person is in recovery, the easier it is for them to be around others and still have a good time. Many people who just came out of rehab might want to avoid this kind of situation while they’re still learning to figure out their triggers, say no, and get better.
Recovering addicts can have fun, and they’re able to live a normal life. It might take more time for some than others, but don’t stop inviting them to events or having fun with them. They need people there for them to support their decisions, to be there throughout their recovery, and to have a support system.
Recovery is a life-long process, and it’s one many people mistake for other issues. People going through recovery deserve respect and understanding. Those who know little to nothing about recovery should look into it and educate themselves. It’s the best way to support those who are going through it.