What is the biggest myth about addiction?

Addiction and lying can go hand in hand. When somebody is in the throws of active addiction, they may feel the need to lie so that they can continue using drugs or alcohol. While addiction is known for its shaky relationship with the truth, the biggest myth surrounding addiction can be as harmful as the lies that keep people from seeking help.

The Biggest Myth About Addiction

The biggest myth about addiction is its assessment of addicts. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are not “bad people”. Contrary to the old way of looking at addiction, addicts are not lazy or stupid or sociopathic. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are desperate for help.

Why Does Substance Abuse Cause Good People To Do Bad Things?

Those who are addicted to substances are generally not themselves. Any parent, friend or spouse can tell you that the person they love who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is not the same as they used to be.

For many people that struggle with substance abuse issues, they require regular use of their substance of choice. Going a full day without alcohol or drugs can be excruciatingly painful, physically impossible or even debilitating. This is usually a terrifying reality for those struggling in active addiction. The very thing they feel they need to have is the same thing that is hurting them. Denial is a lie that many addicts use for psychological survival.

What Perpetuates The “Bad Person” Myth?

Shame infiltrates an addict’s life in many ways. Whether an addict is lying to themself or others, there is a huge stigma attached to substance abuse. The behavior does not make sense to many people who continue to stay in active addiction. “If it’s bad for you, why don’t you stop?” is a commonly asked question. Most addicts won’t be able to tell you.

Addiction is a condition and not a problem with one’s personality. Although their behavior may change, their true selves may feel lost. Although there are many studies that show alcoholism and addiction can be physically treated with medication, much in the way most illnesses are, there are still people who believe addiction is a choice.

Shame prevents many people in active addiction from seeking treatment. The fear that they will be further judged is sometimes too much for them to bear. Since many people who abuse substances have to do things they do not want to do in order to continue using drugs or alcohol, their esteem and sense of self may no longer reflect who they truly are. The type of shame that comes from losing the ability to make sound decisions about emotional and physical health is often shameful enough.

Do Addicts Have The Capacity To Ask For Help?

Watching a loved one go through active addiction is frequently heartbreaking. Not only is the addict suffering, but those around him or her may feel helpless to do anything about it. Those who are currently abusive drugs or alcohol can unintentionally hurt themselves and others by continuing to use substances. Knowing the best way to find help can be tricky.

Every person is different. What help looks like for one individual may not be the same as the next. Most people in active addiction do want help, but do not know what kind or how to receive it. By understanding all their options, they can have a clearer sense of what is available.

There are a number of ways for someone in active addiction to receive help. Like the recovery process itself, the initial step is as unique as the person. Some people who are actively abusing drugs or alcohol find help through a family intervention while others do better when they can choose their own method of substance abuse recovery.


The process of recovering from drugs and alcohol has come a long way in recent years. No longer do we see people who are struggling with drugs or alcohol as “bad people”. Although it is widely accepted that substance abuse is a condition that goes beyond the ethics of one’s personality, the myth still exists. To receive help from addiction, removing shame can ease the anxiety of a new life on the horizon. Call us at 833-820-2922.