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Addiction Myths Debunked

Disclaimer: Proceed through this post with caution. Do not read this if you're not ready to learn the facts about addiction. This will likely challenge what you know to be "right". Many of us have made all the mistakes and said many of the things I'm about to talk about, myself included. But if you're ready to make a big change, and shift your perspective to better understand the truth about addiction, read on to the end of this post.

We've heard it all before. We've even said it to others.

“They just have to hit rock bottom.”

“Tough love is the only thing you can do.”

“You have to leave them, for them to get help”

As partners of addicts and alcoholics, we hear this all the time. So much that we assume it’s a fact. (Wait, it isn't a fact?)

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine: “Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.”

A disease. Not a choice, not a personality type. A “chronic medical disease” that is one of the most prominent preventable killers in our society today.

Yes, you read that right. We are experiencing an addiction epidemic.

Here are just a few stats:

- more people die from drug overdose than from car accidents

- an estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year

- Only about 17% of those diagnosed with addiction receive the treatment they need

Those numbers are overwhelming. It may make you feel powerless. But there is so much we can do to help.

Time to face the facts:

"Rock bottom" kills people

"Tough Love" is a myth

Research has shown that the role of a romantic partner can make or break a person's recovery

For many, that "tough love" that we hear so much about, can be the very thing that leads them to sink further into addiction, resulting in overdoses, or "DIY detoxing" that can cause death. Those who do stay home with their families, will often still have to face with problems in their relationship that can put their recovery at risk. There's a lot of resentment, a lot of anger, SO much hurt, and many partners just don't want to keep supporting someone they've been disappointed by for so long.

Imagine with me for a moment: What if we treated other diseases the same way we treat addiction? Imagine that instead of struggling with substance abuse, we were talking about a husband with cancer. Would you ever hear anyone saying,

"If you keep letting him live there for free, he's just gonna keep having cancer."

"He promised you he would beat it the last time, and he still relapsed. Just another one of those cancer-patient lies."

"He clearly cares more about having cancer than he does about his family."

None of that sounds very reasonable, does it? And yet, that’s often exactly what partners of addicts hear when they seek out support, even from others who have been in their position.

Let’s imagine another scenario. A man’s wife has cancer. She beat it once before, but it came back, and this time it’s affecting her personality and mood. What would we think if he decided this second time that he just can’t do it - it’s too hard for him to support her?

“She’s on her own, this time. She broke her promise to me. She needs some tough love.”

I’m sure we can all agree that this would be unreasonable. We would want him to be there for her, support her however he can, and make sure she is comfortable and receiving the best treatment possible.

I hear you saying "Sure, that works for cancer. But how do I just get over all the crap he’s put me through. I can't just pretend it didn't happen. You haven’t heard what he’s said to me."

You’re right. You can’t just pretend it didn’t happen. You’re hurting. Addiction is traumatic for everyone involved, and you have to heal too, if you want to be there for your partner. I know this first hand. If I were to write a book just containing the insults I’ve received from an addicted partner, it would rival War and Peace. So I understand how addiction attacks relationships - more than almost any other disease. It can be so hard to dig yourself out of that hole of resentment, anger, and what feels like a total lack of love. But it is possible to heal from those wounds caused by addiction, grow our inner strength and become a strong, loving support system not only for our partners, but for ourselves.

If you’re a partner of someone suffering from addiction, I see you, and I am here for you. Partners need support too. So many times I’ve asked “Why isn’t there a rehab for me?”

Not everyone has the luxury of going on some soul-searching meditation retreat, or the time to spend every night in a church basement meeting, or the freedom to read a different self-help book every week, in hopes that something will help. Not to mention, who knows if the book you grabbed in the few minutes you had to look for one, will even have any useful answers for you, when so much of addiction medicine has changed and evolved. The answers we used to know, just aren't exactly right anymore.

That's why I created my platform, to establish programs, resources, groups, and provide solutions for the partners and loved ones of those struggling with addiction. I want this to be a source for all the support and solutions that I wish I had, years ago.

It's time to change the way we talk about addiction.

It's time for The Recovery Revolution.

If you're a partner or loved one of someone struggling with addiction, subscribe to The Recovery Revolution to get support and solutions for yourself and your loved one. Together we can change the conversation.

Did this blog post help you? If you're looking for more information to help a loved one struggling with addiction, book a free connection call with me.

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