Myths and Realities

Many people avoid getting treatment for their alcohol or drug problems, due to misconceptions about what is involved in getting help.

Myth: Treatment for addiction involves confrontation and humiliation.
Reality: The old model of working with addicts involving relentless confrontation only increases guilt and shame and does little to help address the real problems of addiction. I work to help increase your own internal motivation to change.

Myth: You must "hit bottom" to be ready for help.
Reality: You can get help at any point. It is, in fact, easier to be helped before the problems have gotten too serious.

Myth: Treatment is useless if you are not "ready to change."
Reality: Recent innovations in treatment suggest that people can benefit from treatment even if they are not sure they are ready to quit, or even if they are not sure if they have a problem. The primary ingredient is a willingness to talk about your concerns.

Myth: There is only one way to get clean and sober.
Reality: There are numerous methods that can help you achieve your goals, whether those goals are to cut down on your use or to quit altogether.

Myth: Making up your mind - willpower - is all that is necessary to quit using and drinking.
Reality: Making up your mind is not usually enough to make a lasting change. (Think of how many times you have changed your mind!) Nowadays, there are many adjuncts to treatment that can help you establish and maintain a more productive life.

Myth: The only person who can help you is you.
Reality: It may be true that nobody else can "make" you get better. However, it is quite clear that many people who recover from drug and alcohol problems are greatly helped by seeking support and/or professional help.

Myth: Having an addiction is a sign of poor character, moral failing or an "addictive personality."
Reality: Most people with an addictive disorder feel guilty and angry at themselves for negative choices they feel they have made. However, it is increasingly clear that addiction has a significant foundation in disordered brain chemistry, which results in disordered behavior and poor judgment.

Myth: Calling addiction a "disease" is just a way of copping out and avoiding responsibility for my behavior.
Reality: Having a disease does not excuse you from the responsibility for acting to manage your disease; for example, if you have diabetes it is still up to you to manage your diet and take your medications. Addiction, like many chronic disorders, requires your active involvement in getting better and staying better.