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Busting the Sobriety Myths: 5 Lies about Addiction Recovery

A lot of addicts suffer from delusion and denial when deep in the throes of their addiction; and 'making up' reasons why they can not stay sober is just part of the process.

But if you haven't found recovery yet, take it from one who knows, most of the screwy things you've been telling yourself are downright lies.

You may have come to believe some of these myths through fear of change, or worrying how you will cope, or even just because of a lack of understanding of what recovery is like.

So let's bust a few of those sobriety myths, so that you can start to think about recovery without all the nonsense and confusion. Here are the top five myths that many addicts believe, along with the truth about addiction and recovery.

1. I can control my using

I doubt you'd be reading this page if you were able to control your drinking or drugging. The truth is, if you are an addict, you have crossed a certain line. Whereas once upon a time, you could drink or take drugs recreationally, once you have moved into compulsive using, there is no way back. You have changed the way your brain works. It doesn't understand 'one' drink or drug any longer. So you are highly unlikely to achieve controlled using for a sustained amount of time.

2. I'm not that bad

Just because you're not in jail, or haven't been to hospital, or lost all your friends and family, it does not mean that you don't have a problem. Addiction is a progressive illness, and the longer it goes on, the more you lose. Drinking beer compulsively is just as bad as drinking vodka compulsively, in terms of addiction. If you're addicted, you're addicted - and it'll only get worse unless you stop.

3. I can't live sober

I completely understand the feeling that you will never be able to cope sober. I was an alcoholic for pretty much all of my adult life. But the truth is, I love sobriety now. I didn't at first, but that's because it was new and I wasn't used to it. If you put work into your recovery, and learn to do new things sober, you can live sober and you can have tremendous fun doing it. Don't ever tell yourself that you can't.

4. I don't have the willpower to stop

One of the things that puts a lot of addicts off long-term sobriety is the thought that they won't be able to deal with cravings, or that compulsion to use, for the rest of their lives. Most people don't realise that you don't really have to use willpower once you've been in recovery for a little while. If you work at recovery, you will find that the obsession with drink or drugs just lifts. These days I hardly ever even think about alcohol, and I was a severely dependent alcoholic for most of my life.

5. I'm different

While you are a wonderfully unique individual, with different interests, qualities and characteristics, your addiction is no different than anyone else's. I have worked with addicts long enough to have heard all the stories about why people think they are different - but the truth is, addiction and recovery follow very clear patterns. You are no better, nor worse, than any other addict - addiction is a biological and mental process. If you are an addict, no matter when or why it happened, then your addiction and recovery will follow pretty much the same rules as every other addict's. The good news is, there are people who have been there, who are willing to share their experiences and to help you find recovery, too.

Beth Burgess is a Recovery Coach at Smyls and the author of The Recovery Formula: An Addict's Guide to getting Clean & Sober Forever.

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