Common Myths About Recovery & How to Address Them

November 1, 2021

4 mins

When it comes to recovery, it seems that most people with no experience in the worlds of addiction and recovery harbor a number of misconceptions. Whether from misinformation or incorrect assumptions, these myths have a direct effect on the stigmatization of addiction as well as how people perceive their loved ones’ recoveries from addiction.

Today, we wanted to tackle some of the most common myths about addiction recovery. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

“I can quit on my own.”

Many people convince themselves that they don’t need treatment as they believe they can quit drinking or using drugs on their own. Of course, this is rarely ever the case for individuals who are in the throes of full-blown addiction.

The thing to remember is that addiction is a brain disease, not simply a behavioral issue. Much like how someone who suffers from diabetes wouldn’t take it upon himself or herself to “cure” that affliction, the vast majority of individuals who suffer from addiction don’t have the knowledge, experience, or expertise to overcome an addiction without clinical intervention.

Addiction tends to develop as a result of a confluence of different social, situational, biological, and environmental factors. Once it develops, addiction is very likely to return — known as a relapse — unless the individual learns how to mitigate the effects of those factors. In most cases, professional assistance is required here.

Solution: Clinical care and rehabilitative treatment.

Treating an emotional disorder cures a co-occurring addiction

The human brain is a very complex, enigmatic organ that we’re only just beginning to understand. When it comes to mental and emotional disorders specifically, there’s a complex web of causes and effects, some of which are shared between numerous disorders while others have stronger correlations to particular diagnoses.

As research has shown, many individuals who suffer from addiction also suffer from a co-occurring mental or emotional disorder; when this happens, it is referred to as comorbidity. Although the development of addiction can be a byproduct of a psychological illness, there’s much evidence showing that the relationship between these comorbid diagnoses can be extremely complicated, or potentially completely coincidental. For this reason, it’s dangerous to assume that treatment of an emotional disorder will “cure” an addiction, and vice versa.

Solution: Dual-diagnosis treatment for addiction.

“Recovery is a lonely, isolating journey.”

It’s quite common for people in recovery — particularly the very early stages of rehabilitation — to feel like they’re alone in this journey. This could be due to the sudden flood of emotions after months or even years of using alcohol and drugs to suppress them; without substance abuse inducing emotional numbness, one can feel overwhelmed and alienated by these intense feelings.

Additionally, there’s the reality that drug rehab programs tend to be seen and portrayed as an experience that’s exclusively for individuals. In other words, we assume that people must participate in and complete treatment on their own, relying on their own determination and strength of conviction. However, that’s not necessarily the case.

There are many opportunities for recovery to be a more social, collaborative experience. For example, support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are built on the idea of fellowship, meaning that members find support and draw strength from their fellow members.

While a drug rehab program isn’t quite as collaborative as Alcoholics Anonymous, there are still group sessions where peers can trade stories, express their emotions, and offer support. Similarly, many drug rehabs offer forms of treatment that are for patients in addition to their loved ones, including family therapy and couples’ therapy. Because one of the most important pillars for a successful recovery is to have healthy, stable, supportive relationships.

Solution: Leverage family therapy and support groups.

“Getting sober doesn’t take long if you’re serious about it.”

People often underestimate the amount of time (and effort) that’s necessary to get sober. In fact, those without firsthand experience in recovery — whether they’re receiving treatment for the first time or are loved ones of addicted individuals — tend to view rehabilitation almost as if it’s something to be checked off a to-do list.

In reality, recovery is less a process than a shift in perspective or even lifestyle. Stable, lifelong sobriety requires a complete change in one’s worldview. For instance, the individual must learn new and healthier ways to cope with stress and intense emotion, which are common triggers for alcohol and drug abuse. These changes in perspective are the cumulative result of extensive counseling, psychotherapy, experiential therapy, and a number of other therapeutic techniques that often comprise a substance abuse treatment program.

It’s also important to know that it’s quite common for individuals to require more than one round of treatment before they’re able to maintain their sobriety long-term. In other words, relapse shouldn’t be seen as a failure.

Solution: Take the time to become more informed about addiction and recovery.

Take Your Life Back — Call West Valley Detox Treatment Today

As you’ve seen, there are many misconceptions about addiction, which often inform expectations of recovery. When expected outcomes are based on inaccurate information and assumptions, individuals can become discouraged.

At West Valley Detox Treatment, we help individuals prepare for lifelong sobriety with medically-assisted detox treatment and quality residential care. If you or your loved one is in need of high-quality rehabilitative care, call today to speak with one of our admissions coordinators.



West Valley Detox Treatment is a holistic, results-focused residential treatment center for substance abuse and mental health. Offering a range of clinical, behavioral, and experiential therapies, West Valley remains on the cutting edge of addiction rehabilitation.

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