People can have a lot of misperceptions about alcohol, how drinking affects people and what alcoholism really means. These types of myths about alcohol can be dangerous because they can prevent people from seeing addiction in themselves or others.
Myths about alcohol serve to keep alcoholics in denial and it also creates a general confusion about drinking and what it means to have an addiction. People may not realize that their drinking is harmful to themselves and others when they don't fully understand the reality of alcohol addiction. It is important for people to educate themselves and learn the true facts about alcohol rather than believe damaging misconceptions.
These are some of the most common myths about alcohol and addiction.
Drinking Culture is Harmless
In the U.S. drinking and even binge drinking is considered a normal social activity. People may believe that it is harmless and even take an irreverent attitude toward heavy drinking. Their drunken escapades may seem funny in retrospect, but for certain individuals the culture of binge drinking can be dangerous.
For people that are more vulnerable to developing an addiction, drinking should not be taken lightly. Being a part of a drinking culture among friends or family can also make it harder for alcoholics to quit.
Alcoholics Fit a Certain Stereotype
Some people may have an idea of what it means to be an alcoholic and think that their lifestyle or social status mean that they don't have a problem. They may imagine an alcoholic to be broke or jobless or even someone on the street. They might think that an alcoholic drinks all the time and is physically or verbally abusive to people making a mess of their life all the time.
The truth is that people can become alcoholics from all walks of life. They might be rich people with powerful jobs who are functional in their addiction so that no one ever sees the impact of their drinking. Anyone can be a victim of addiction to alcohol so there is no one stereotype that matches an alcoholic.
People Can Quit or Moderate Drinking through Willpower
One of the most dangerous myths out there is that anyone can quit drinking simply through their own self-control and willpower. For people that have addictions, it is not something they can turn on or off at will.
They are usually at the mercy of their disease which takes over their life in more ways than they are aware. Trying to quit cold turkey without any help can lead either to relapse or picking up another addiction as a replacement.
People might also believe that they can simply moderate or cut down on their drinking through willpower even though they are addicted. An alcoholic is only playing with fire if they attempt to continue drinking because they will quickly fall back into old habits. In reality, people with addictions need to be completely sober to manage their problem effectively.
After Detoxing Everything Will be Easier
When people have unrealistic expectations of what recovery will be like they might end up being disillusioned and fall back into their drinking patterns. Although quitting alcohol and going through detox, people improve their physical health and make important progress but there is still a lot of hard work through the rest of the recovery process.
Even after completing detox, alcoholics experience a lot of ups and downs as all the emotions they tried to avoid through drinking come back in full force. Early sobriety is difficult and it can take a long time before things get easier and people are better able to manage their addiction.