Stigma exists everywhere. Myths and misconceptions can keep us stuck from experiencing a life of possibility. Oftentimes, our assumptions of what we think sobriety looks like can keep us prolonged in a perpetuating cycle of addiction and limited in our beliefs.
For many, the thought of not using substances can bare uncomfortable feelings and a number questions. What will life look like sober? Will it be boring? How will I handle stressors? Some of these common questions are oftentimes backed by myths and beliefs we hold that keep us living in fear – though, they are simply not true.
Continuing the recovery journey, there are some misconceptions about sobriety that you should be aware of. Acknowledging these can help continue the path of sobriety and mitigate any trepidations or fears you may have.
Here are the top six myths about sobriety, debunked:
You Won’t Have Fun
One of the most common misconceptions about sobriety is that life will be boring, and you won’t be able to have fun without drugs or alcohol. However, that statement could be farther from the truth. It’s normal to enter a new chapter of our life in trepidation, as the unknown for the future can be scary and uncertain. Our ideas of fun connected to the mainstream are watching a game sipping down a cold one. However, for many who struggle with addiction, what was once an idea of “fun” while casually using turned into a full-fledged addiction. I don’t know about you but blacking out and not knowing what I did the night before was not all that it seemed to be. As I got sober, I learned a lot more about myself, and found out I had more time and money to pursue the hobbies and goals that I had always wanted to.
The truth: Sobriety has more opportunities for fun that addiction ever did.
You’re Only Sober If You’re In A 12-Step Fellowship
When I first got sober, I was told that in order to maintain my sobriety I needed attend Alcoholics Anonymous, complete the 12-steps and continue to partake in meetings for the rest of my life. While 12-step meetings have helped and continue to help save thousands of lives, it’s not a requirement to say sober. While 12-step fellowships are just one component of sobriety, there are other paths to get there including participating in programs such as Refuge Recovery, SMART Recovery, online meetings, or online meetings.
The truth: There are multiple paths to sobriety.
You’re Not Sober If You Use Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
It’s a huge misconception in the recovery world that if you’re using medication such as methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone), or Naltrexone, you’re not exactly sober. However, in recent years Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has recently become a proven way to help many recover when combined with therapy. While these certain medications do have the potential to be abused, when used appropriately, medication can help those who have previously attempted to get sober but repeatedly failed.
The Truth: MAT is a form of harm reduction and has been proven to save lives. Recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and each person’s may look different.
Your Life Will Be Perfect in Sobriety
When I got sober, I had these pie-in-the-sky ideas that if my addiction was under control, so were the rest of my problems. False. I found that the first six months of my sobriety, the problems that I had been running from, came crashing down head on. At the time, I was unprepared to face stressors, deal with the people I screwed over, though, in the long run, it made me more prepared to deal with life as a sober member of society. Today, life still happens, but because of recovery I’m now able to face those challenges with more self-efficacy than I ever had.
Truth: Life happens even in sobriety.
You Must Face Serious Consequences To Have The Need to Get Sober
Comparing our situations to others is dangerous and destructive. Many times I justified my drinking and drugging to the fact that I wasn’t a ’round the clock drinker, I had never driven when I was drunk, or that I hadn’t been in jail… yet. This mentality kept me stagnate and prolonged my addiction. While keeping this mindset can be extremely dangerous and self-destructive, there are many who have and continue to get sober no matter how lightly or how severe the consequences. While you don’t need to hit rock bottom to obtain sobriety, anybody can benefit from being in recovery.
Truth: Anybody can benefit from being sober.
You Don’t Deserve To Be Sober
A self-perpetuating belief system that can keep us in the grips of our addiction is the belief that we don’t deserve to be sober. While many of us don’t repeat this myth out loud, it’s definitely a common one. As our own worst enemies, we love to put ourselves down and keep the negative self-talk and self-loathing running rampant, and prolonging our addiction.
Truth: You deserve to be sober.