Myths About Alcohol, Drugs & 12 Steps Rehab Treatment

Our therapist Mark addresses some of the most common myths he has identified about Addiction, the 12 Steps and Recovery.

Myth 1: I’m a bad person, that’s why I’m addicted.

You are not bad. Maybe some of the things you have done have not been pleasant or kind, or have hurt those you love. You have a disease, a disease which is treatable. You can find Recovery in organisations like AA and NA or you may need treatment, in which case we are here to help you and so are your peers.

Myth 2: I’m not an addict if I smoke cannabis.

Smoking cannabis can lead to addiction. Cannabis dependency is a serious problem, as serious as with any other drug.

Myth 3: I’m here for my cocaine addiction and when I’ve finished treatment I can go home and drink alcohol and smoke cannabis.

Your primary addiction is cocaine, however, using other drugs including alcohol or cannabis will lead to cocaine relapse. The 12 step programme is about total abstinence.

Myth 4: I’m not like these “heroin addicts” I only use alcohol.

You haven’t used heroin, that’s right, but alcohol is also a drug. Look at how much alcohol you have been drinking and how it has affected your life and your family – look at the problems it is causing. You are denying that you have a serious problem, but alcoholism is a progressive and harmful disease.

Myth 5: My family say I should just stop by using willpower.

Have you found that your own willpower has helped you in the past? Your family have been severely affected by your addiction. Can I suggest that your parents/family attend family therapy? It will help them learn about the illness of addiction and how they can support you.

Myth 6: Once I finish my detox I can go home, after all, I still have a job, money, my family. I’m OK.

Completing detox is just the first stage. Then it’s about ‘Change’, changing yourself, looking at your attitudes, behaviour, beliefs and lifestyle connected to your addiction. We want to help you with that. The group process is also here to help you make these changes.

Myth 7: I will be “brain washed” if I listen to the 12 step programme.

Alcohol and drugs were damaging your health, your family and your relationships; the 12 step programme is to help you to find yourself again, to gain strength and hope. You have a choice now, isn’t that fantastic?

Myth 8: I don’t believe in God so I can’t do the steps.

You don’t have to believe in God in the religious sense, it’s your concept, your understanding of a “power greater than yourself” and “strength” to help you achieve abstinence and move on in life. After all, your addiction is certainly a ‘power greater than yourself’ at the moment. If you believe in God, that’s fine too. It’s your understanding, not mine.

Myth 9: I can’t talk to people unless I have a drink or take drugs.

I know it feels difficult to socialise without drugs helping you, but you will learn here, in group and in the community, to talk to others and to believe in yourself again.

Myth 10: When I leave treatment, I won’t be able to stop because everyone drinks!

It’s true that you will end up in situations where everyone but you is having a drink. But if you find yourself in this situation you will remember the strategies you learned in the relapse prevention programme. You can’t change the fact that other people drink. There are plenty of things you can do to keep safe when you go home – you can attend regular AA meetings and continuing care and build up a network of sober friends. You will have a choice!

By Mark Abrami, Senior Therapy Manager, Castle Craig