Debunking the Myths of Substance Addiction and Recovery

Debunking the Myths of Substance Addiction and Recovery


Not only does addiction come along with some harsh stigmas, but there’s also a list of untruths that surround it. Without understanding the real reasons and causes of substance abuse, friends and family members may not be entirely able to help their loved one overcome addiction — or worse — they could be enabling their behaviors without even knowing it.

For anyone who wants to help someone struggling with substance addiction, it’s important to stay educated. Staying informed can be invaluable in assisting someone through the recovery process. Knowledge is power. Don’t believe these common myths about substance addiction and recovery.

Myth #1 - Rehab Doesn't Work

While a “cookie cutter” approach to sobriety may not work, rehab certainly does. Not everyone is the same, that’s why many different therapies and treatments can be tailored for each individual need. For example, if two people have an alcohol addiction, one may respond better to group therapy and the other may do well with individual treatment. Many individuals have gone through a successful substance addiction recovery and remain sober today.

NIH (National Institute on Drug Abuse) reports, “According to research that tracks individuals in treatment over extended periods, most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning.”

Addiction recovery is a personal experience. Blueprints for Recovery offers these therapies that can be tailored to individual needs.

  • Humanistic Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Individual Therapy
  • Outdoor Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Anger Management
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Myth # 2 - Drug Addicts Lack Morals and Willpower

Someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is physically dependent on their substance of choice. This does not mean that they have fewer morals or less willpower than any other individual.

According to NIH, drugs and alcohol can “hijack your brain” as there is a biology associated with addiction. Blueprints for Recovery understands the struggles that come along with being addicted and the recovery process. We offer a 3-Phase Approach — This method is designed to help our clients gradually become more independent while building a support network outside of rehabilitation.

Phase 1. The residential phase - includes a series of therapies and treatment activities to determine motivation and incentive to get clean and sober.

Phase 2. Transitional Living - Clients learn techniques that they can use to intervene on behalf of their own recovery that empowers them to be part of their own solutions.

Phase 3. Independent Living - Developing an initial recovery support network for recovery support upon discharge.

Myth #3 - Only Low-Income People and Criminals Have Substance Addiction Problems

Substance addiction does not discriminate against age, race, religion, income or if someone has been in trouble with the law. Anyone can become addicted to drugs and alcohol. While some people may be more at risk than others, no one person is immune. According to SAMHSA, the risks can be very complex, ranging from biological and psychological to the community and cultural levels.

Blueprints for recovery has helped many young men with a variety of different backgrounds. From high school and college students to business professionals, our treatment programs will be tailored to each individual’s needs.

Myth #4 - People Who Have a Job Can't Be Addicts


Most addicts, in fact, do have jobs and families — some may even be stellar college students and athletes. However, they may know how to hide their addiction quite well. Often times, addicts may not even realize that they have a problem until it continually gets worse or they get deeper and deeper into relying on their substance of choice. They may also continue the substance abuse to keep from going through withdrawals. Addiction can be a vicious cycle and it’s not easy to break without professional help.

Myth #5 - Once An Addict, Always An Addict

This myth is not only untrue, but it perpetuates the stigmas that come along with addiction. Someone who wants to get sober does have the strength within them to recover from substance abuse without relapsing. The key is to become aware of the triggers that can cause a relapse.

Some common triggers are:

  • Stress and emotional feelings - Whether personal or work-related, stress can be a trigger for someone to turn to alcohol or drugs. They may be seeking temporary relief from the uncomfortable feelings that come along with stressful or emotional situations.
  • Environment - Sometimes a person’s environment can trigger a relapse such as attending a party where drugs or alcohol are present or living with a family member or friend who is an addict.

Relapse incidents are common after addiction recovery. The exact statistics vary depending on the type of addiction, but studies show that more than half of the people who attend rehab will undergo a relapse at some point. Blueprints for Recovery offers a Relapse Prevention Program to help clients stay on track.

Myth #6 - People Choose To Be Addicted To Drugs


Drug addiction is not a choice. People that abuse drugs regularly become addicted. Their body goes through a process in which brain chemistry changes. These changes make a person reliant on the drug and the drug abuse cycle continues so they can offset withdrawals.

Myth #7 - A Good Detox Is All That Is Needed

Overcoming an addiction takes more than just detox. While detox is part of the process, there are other physical and psychological obstacles to overcome. For example, someone who has recovered and is sober may still experience depression or anxiety and may need further therapies to help deter a relapse.

At Blueprints for Recovery, once an individual is accepted into the facility they are usually required to go through a medical detox, therapy and education as part of the entire rehabilitation process.

Myth #8 - Anyone That Relapses Is a Failure

Relapse is not uncommon for someone who struggles with drug or alcohol addiction. This doesn’t mean that you are a failure. The important part is to recognize that a relapse happened and get back to treatment. Once back in treatment, changes to your recovery plan will likely be made.

Myth #9 - There Is Nothing Friends or Family Can Do To Help


Friends and family play an essential role in helping someone with an addiction recover. They must be willing to be supportive, but at the same time not enable the behavior. Here are some examples that demonstrate enabling:

  • Ignoring negative or dangerous behavior
  • Putting an addict's needs before your own
  • Covering up or lying about an addict’s behavior
  • Paying bills and taking care of an addict’s responsibilities

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Stop making excuses and covering up behavior
  • Seek help from support groups
  • Encourage your loved one to get help
  • Learn how to say no to things that make continuation of the addiction easy - (lending money, letting them live with you or lying for them.)

Blueprints for Recovery can offer helpful advice to your loved ones that are going through the rehabilitation process. We encourage family members and friends to stay educated about recovery to assist their loved to help aid a successful recovery.

Myth #10 - You Can Always Tell When Someone Is an Addict

Someone who has a substance addiction may know how to conceal their addiction and hide it well. Anyone can become addicted to drugs or alcohol — teachers, high-powered executives, stay-at-home moms, grandparents, or college athletes. While some may be able to hide an addiction, there are some tell-tale signs:

  • Missing work or classes often
  • Displaying risky behaviors
  • Financial trouble
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Involved in a relationship with someone who has a substance abuse problem
  • Stealing
  • Mood Swings

Myth #11 - Some Addicts Are “High Functioning”

The term “high functioning” is often used by the media and in pop culture and it negates the serious nature of substance addiction. While someone with a drug or alcohol may be able to hide it from others or can perform their job duties, they are still an addict going through the same vicious cycle as someone who may not hide their addiction as well.

Myth #12 - A Person With a High Tolerance For Alcohol Doesn’t Have a Problem


According to the CDC, “binge drinking is the most common, costly and deadly pattern of alcohol use in the United States.”

Having a high tolerance is more about how intoxicated one feels over how intoxicated they actually are. This is a slippery slope into alcohol addiction, as the more someone becomes tolerant to the amount of alcohol they consume, the more they will need to satisfy the “euphoric” feeling.

Myth #13 - You Can’t Be Addicted To Medicine Prescribed By a Doctor


According to NIH, “Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription (Rx) opioid pain relievers, ADHD stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs.” Doctors prescribe certain medications if they feel it’s necessary for a person’s recovery from an illness. Unfortunately, some prescribed medications can be highly addictive. Here are some reasons why someone may become addicted to prescription drugs:

  • Temporary feelings of happiness
  • Physical dependence
  • Prevention of withdrawals
  • Relief from stress and anxiety
  • Sustain work or school concentration

Some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs are:

  • Opioids (OxyContin, Morphine, Fentanyl) - prescribed for the treatment of pain.
  • Central nervous system depressants (Xanax, Valium) - prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders.
  • Stimulants (Adderall, Ritalin) - prescribed for attention deficit disorder.

At Blueprints for Recovery, we use our proven methods for drug addiction treatment to help people overcome prescription addiction.

Substance addiction is damaging to one’s physical and mental health, as well as relationships. Without getting help, the vicious cycle of substance abuse and addiction continues. If you or a loved one has an alcohol or drug addiction, Blueprints for Recovery can provide you with a safe place for substance abuse rehabilitation. We provide young men between the ages of 18 and 30 a supportive environment. Contact our Arizona drug rehab today for more information.


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