There are many myths and misconceptions about alcoholism and who alcoholics are. Those who are not in the recovery community contribute to the perpetuation of these myths via stereotypes and being generally unaware of what addiction actually consists of. These myths may also contribute to the stigmatization of alcoholism.
Here, we’ve listed 5 common myths associated with alcoholism and alcoholic behavior.
Myth #1: All Alcoholics Are The Same
Many people believe that all alcoholics are the same. Common stereotypes about alcoholics include being unemployed, not having much money, drinking only hard alcohol, drink alone, getting sloppy while drinking, don’t have strong family relationships, etc.
These stereotypes can be true in some cases, but in many other cases, the opposite is true. Highly functioning alcoholics exist, and it can lead to a stronger denial that they have a problem. Addiction does not discriminate and people from all backgrounds are affected.
Myth #2: Alcoholism Can Be Cured
Many believe that once you complete an addiction treatment program, you are then cured of your alcoholism. This is not the case. Once somebody is an alcoholic, they will always be one. One drink will never be enough, and their drinking habits will never be considered normal.
Alcoholism is a lifelong disease, and addiction treatment is one that must be continually maintained. After residential treatment, outpatient treatment, sober living, etc., it’s extremely important to begin involvement in a 12-step program and aftercare services. Getting a sponsor and being accountable will help keep your alcoholism in check. Alcohol recovery is a continuous process.
Myth #3: Alcoholism is a Choice, not a Disease
A common belief about alcoholism is that alcoholics bring their condition on themselves and that they can stop drinking whenever they want.
Alcoholics are unable to control their drinking and they cannot stop drinking after one or two drinks. They are powerless over alcohol. Alcoholism is not a lifestyle choice somebody makes, it’s a vicious and deadly disease that needs to be treated as such. Many factors may contribute to alcoholism: genetics, environmental factors, stress levels, other mental illnesses, etc.
Myth #4: Relapsing is Failure
When somebody relapses, some will equate this to failing. Relapse does not equal failure, relapse is simply a part of that person’s journey to recovery. Yes, relapsing is painful, frustrating, and disappointing. It can make you feel as though you’ve failed, but know that relapse, albeit unwelcome, is very common. In fact, studies show that more than half of newly recovering addicts will relapse within 1 year of sobriety.
Myth #5: Once Alcohol is Eliminated from an Addict’s Life, All Problems Go Away
When an alcoholic experienced stress, frustration, insomnia, anger, sadness, etc. while active in their disease, they turned to drinking. Drinking was their coping mechanism and the quick-fix for their problems. The alcohol gave immediate relief, but when you eliminate that relief method, you need to find a healthier and more long-term way of coping.
Alcohol use can create more problems in ones life, but simply eliminating alcohol will not make all of their problems go away. The same problems exist with or without alcohol. However, instead of escaping their problems, they must learn to manage them in a healthy and positive way.
Stonewall Institute Treatment Center provides world-class addiction treatment care in Phoenix, AZ. In just 10 weeks, our Intensive Outpatient Treatment program can help you establish a solid foundation for achieving and maintaining a meaningful life of sobriety. We will help you make purposeful life changes in a supportive, non-judgmental setting.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol issue, we can help. Call Stonewall Institute Treatment Center today to schedule a confidential clinical evaluation with one of our qualified professionals at 602-535-6468.