MYTH 1: Overcoming addiction is a simply a matter of willpower. You can stop using drugs if you really want to.
The continued exposure to drugs actually alters the brain in ways that result in cravings that are extremely powerful and push the compulsion to continue using. These changes make it difficult to quit by sheer will.
MYTH 2: Addiction is a disease; there’s nothing you can do about it.
Most experts agree that addiction is a brain disease and that it is a chronic disease. However don’t call the addict a “helpless victim.”
Addiction is a disease but not an excuse and just like any other person with a chronic disease, they need to do what they must to control it.
The brain does change for the better when addiction is treated and the addict continues to stay clean.
MYTH 3: Addicts have to hit rock bottom before they can get better.
This is considered the normal but actually recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process.
The longer drug abuse continues, the harder it is to treat. It is quite common for that first wake up call to take place because of an arrest.
An arrest lays the problem out on the table and makes it very hard to hide the fact that someone is abusing drugs.
So often families protest at this time that the addict needs help and shouldn’t be in jail. The fact is they broke the law and usually other charges are involved. Remember addiction is not an excuse.
MYTH 4: You can’t force someone into treatment; they have to want help.
Treatment does NOT have to be voluntary to be successful.
People are often pressured into treatment by their family, employer or the legal system.
As they sober up, many become less resistant to change. The difficult part is keeping them invested in their own recovery.
That component can only come from them and that is why recovery is always an ongoing process.
MYTH 5: Treatment didn’t work before, so there’s no point trying again.
Recovery from drug addiction is a process that often involves setbacks.
These are relapses and those are signals for the addict to get back on track, either by re-entering active treatment or adjusting the treatment approach.
It is not a time to accept or allow them to claim a tried and failed attitude.
Often families of addicts and even addicts themselves claim jail didn’t cure them or a certain treatment didn’t cure them - It is not the role of either to cure them.
They are tools that allow the addict to help himself.
It is great that we have programs within jail but again it is up to the addict to work the programs and do what they have to do to become drug-free.
Donna Thacker is the Director of Dearborn County Citizens Against Substance Abuse (CASA). They invite you to become part of the solution and join them the first Monday of every month at 11:30 am in Classroom A of the Lawrenceburg Community Center. For more information check out their web site at www.dearborncountycasa.com or contact Donna at 812-532-3538.
To read the rest of this article please subscribe or sign in