5 Myths and Misconceptions of Addiction

By D&M Consultants

Although many Australians are more educated about addiction thanks to social media and television programs, there continues to be widespread myths and misconceptions about addicts and addiction.

At D&M, we challenge some of these myths and misconceptions in order to uncover the reality of the suffering you or someone you know may be experiencing.

MYTH 1: You have to hit a rock bottom in order to begin recovery

REALITY: One of the most important principles of our REFRAME YOUR LIFE program is our belief that you do not have to hit rock bottom in order to begin recovery. You don’t need to lose everything. In our experience, the earlier that you enter recovery, the less harm you will cause not only to yourself, but those around you.

MYTH 2: An addict is an old man drinking from a brown paper bag and living on the streets

REALITY: This ‘stereotype’ of an addict is far removed from what an addict looks like. In fact, there is no ‘typical’ addict. People have a misconception that you have to be a certain age, look a certain way, drink a certain amount or use certain drugs, but this is incorrect. Most of the people we see who are struggling with addiction are employed professionals with children; they seem ‘fine’ from the outside. This is an important barrier to seeking help. High functioning addicts tend not to see themselves or their lifestyle as ‘bad enough’ to warrant support.

MYTH 3: When people say the term ‘recovery’, this means abstinence

REALITY: Recovery is far more than abstinence. In fact, many people may not need to be abstinent in order to begin their journey of recovery. For some people, recovery may require abstinence. There is a continuum of addiction. At D&M individualised care means that we assist clients to unpack where they are on the continuum in order to facilitate a recovery that meets their needs.

MYTH 4: Once you stop using your preferred substance, you are no longer an addict

REALITY: Many people think that if they can stop using their preferred drug (this includes alcohol), that must mean everything is ok and that they have ‘recovered’. Yes, you may be able to stop your drug of choice for a period of time, but addiction will manifest in other ways. Perhaps you are now throwing yourself into your career obsessively or into a toxic relationship. You may find yourself using another drug or even become out of control with spending money. Substituting one drug for another drug (or addictive behaviour) is not a long term solution.

MYTH 5: I’m not harming anyone other than myself

REALITY: Denial is powerful. In the context of family law, we know the harms (emotional, psychological, physical) experienced by children of parents who are misusing substances. Individuals struggling with addiction tend to not have self-awareness and insight into their behaviour. They are therefore, not present in their own lives so how can they be expected to be present in the lives of their children? It takes courage and work for an individual to acknowledge these harms and take responsibility for their behaviour.

Specialised Addiction therapy is a complex process that should be facilitated by highly experienced professionals.

Contact us at D&M Consultancy for more information about our Addiction Services for individuals and families.

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