Common Beliefs About Recovery – And Why They’re False

“If you’re sober, you’re boring.”

“I’m just not meant to be in recovery. I’m meant to stay addicted for the rest of my life.”

“If you relapse, you’re a failure.”

“I’m in too much pain to get better. My life is supposed to be like this.”

It’s amazing the lies that we tell ourselves – and what society tells us – all because of fear. We’re afraid of what could happen if we succeed, of how much happier and healthier we could be – and many of us can hardly imagine living a better life because we’ve become so comfortable in our own pain. Recovery is a challenging, long, twisted road, but it’s by no means impossible. There are so many people who’ve worked towards their recovery – for years, even – and have found that their entire lives have been transformed for the better.

Success Stories

There are many celebrities who have worked desperately towards sober living, and while they may have relapsed from time to time (as it’s quite normal regardless of how far along a person is in recovery), they defeated every voice that told them they couldn’t.

  •    Just last year, Eminem celebrated 10 years of sobriety after having had an accidental methadone overdose that nearly took his life back in 2007
  •    In the 90s, Robert Downey Jr. was arrested on several occasions on drug-related charges; as the Insider notes, he told Vanity Fair back in 2014,

“Job one is to get out of that cave. A lot of people do get out but don’t change. So the thing is to get out and recognize the significance of that aggressive denials of your fate, come through the crucible forged into a stronger metal.”

  •    Rob Lowe has maintained continuous sobriety for over 25 years now, and he explained in an interview once that recovery has given him “integrity, honesty, fearlessness, faith, a relationship with God, and most of all, gratitude.”
  •    Lana Del Rey has openly talked about having struggled with alcohol and drugs as a teenager, and after entering rehab at 18, she’s worked hard towards sobriety ever since.
  •    Dave Gahan, the voice of new-wave legends Depeche Mode, shared his gratitude for sobriety with MusiCares in 2017, stating I’m known for wearing my feelings on my sleeve — as they say quite often — and I’ve found that, for me, that works because I don’t want to bottle them up like that. I don’t think that’s good for anybody. It’s certainly not good for me because I tried doing that for years. I tried smashing down at the way I felt about everything with booze and drugs…I mean, it works for a time, and then it doesn’t…There are points where you lose people or things happen, and they could be strangers, but they sometimes have a profound effect.

The Truth About Recovery

Despite common beliefs that asking for help is “weak” or that a person has “failed” if they relapse, recovery is a lot like life – and because it has ups and downs, we’re bound to make mistakes along the way. In fact, asking for help and working through troubling moments in recovery only makes us stronger; and while there will certainly be moments of insecurity and doubt for one’s potential success in treatment, the truth remains that it’s all about persistence, hard work and taking one step at a time towards healing.

A 2016 study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors Reports depicted that recovery isn’t an easy process – and even though some may view treatment as a “quick” solution, it’s not. After interviewing 69 people who struggled with opioid, alcohol and/or methamphetamine addiction over a 3-year period, researchers found that it’s not about “willpower” when it comes to sobriety – it’s about strategy. Those who work hard towards sober living are able to identity specific strategies they take on a daily basis to ensure they’re on the right path towards success, whereas those who identify as being “strong-willed” but do not directly apply what they’ve learned in treatment were found to be without a daily plan.

Treatment is so important because it provides clients with a multifaceted approach towards healing – through holistic treatment modalities as well as through therapy approaches. Those who understand that recovery is a process that needs to be taken one step at a time are most likely to succeed – and the following are some highly effective strategies they may be using day-to-day:

  •    Meditation
  •    12-Step programs
  •    Yoga
  •    Nutrition management
  •    Establishing a healthy sleeping/eating routine
  •    Exercise
  •    Developing healthy hobbies of interest
  •    Volunteering
  •    And much more

We tend to deny ourselves the opportunity to succeed in recovery when we’re afraid of what other people think – especially if we feel that nobody believes in us.

Rachael, a woman who’d struggled with addiction, trauma and a lot of pain over the course of several years, shared her story on She stated,

“I didn’t want to live anymore but I was too scared of getting help and the pain and shame and guilt and fear that I was bound to feel…”

It’s not uncommon for people to hold themselves back because they’re afraid of what life could look like. Substances numb us from pain, and recovery opens our mind and heart to all the pain that we’ve tried so desperately to cover up. It’s easy to believe that we’re just not meant to recover, that we’re a “failure” or that we’re doomed to stay addicted forever. That’s not the truth, though – and once we confront those fears, we can take a step forward – the step that we need to change our lives around.

Burning Tree provides programs specializing in long-term residential treatment for clients with a history of drug and alcohol relapse. Our long-term approach and extensive aftercare programs help clients break the cycle of relapse. Contact us for more information or visit the websites of our two locations: Renewal Lodge, which offers a 30-60 day treatment program, Burning Tree Ranch, which offers year-long treatment.


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