Alcoholism is a disease that we can’t see or often understand unless we’ve experienced it ourselves. All we can see are the repercussions and impact it leaves on the addicts and their loved ones. As a result, it’s easy to believe misconceptions about this invisible disease — but these false perceptions can ultimately be damaging to both recovery and relationships. Let’s take a closer look at some of these myths about drinking and uncover the actual truth behind them.
1. Drinking Can Be a Pain Reliever
Truth: Alcohol should never be mixed with pain relievers. If you suffer from chronic pain, it may be tempting to turn to alcohol to take the edge off the pain by numbing yourself. Alcohol may feel like an easy solution when you’re tired of feeling this way, but combining pain relievers and alcohol can lead to serious liver issues and cause dependency and substance abuse. If alcohol becomes your temporary crutch for pain, it’s likely to eventually become an addictive cage.
2. I’m Too Functional to Be an Alcoholic
Truth: While it may feel more comfortable to imagine alcoholics as derelict, poverty-stricken and nonfunctional, the truth is that anyone can be an alcoholic. You may hold a solid job, have a family or be an excellent student and still be an alcoholic. In fact, almost 20% of alcoholics are highly functional and well-educated, according to a representative from the NIAAA.
You might excuse your heavy drinking habit as simply a stress-relieving vice and think it’s no big deal because you don’t fit the mold of a struggling addict. That doesn’t mean you’re immune to alcohol addiction.
3. My Problem Is Not Serious Enough for Me to Get Help
Truth: You don’t have to hit rock bottom to seek and receive help. There’s no barometer for when your alcohol abuse is severe enough to need intervention, a support group or a treatment program. Just because it’s a recent addiction or you feel you’re still able to function in other areas of your life doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out for help. The earlier you get some assistance, the more power you’ll feel you have over your addiction and the less damage it will be able to wreak on your body and life.
4. Treatment Is a One-Time Cure
Truth: Unfortunately, treatment programs can’t fix addiction. While they can help an addict recover and provide powerful tools for managing their alcoholism, the addiction itself will never entirely go away. Think of it as a chronic disease that an addict will have to make continual choices to manage and control. Viewing treatment as a cure will only cause frustration and misunderstanding from loved ones who may think the problem should be resolved and no longer present.
5. Sobriety Is Impossible
Truth: Sobriety is not only possible, but it’s also infinitely worth fighting for. The journey to recovery is challenging, but many addicts have found success and are living fulfilling, sober lives. No one is past the point of being helped or a lost cause to start their recovery journey.
Are you or a loved one ready to start the journey to sobriety? Contact Gateway Foundation to learn more.