Alcoholism is one of those things that many people think they understand completely. Everyone more than likely knows someone who suffers from alcoholism. The problem is that alcoholism is often misunderstood. We wanted to debunk some of the most common myths associated with alcoholism to give you the tools of truth.

MYTH: “Rock Bottom” is Necessary for a Alcoholic

woman holds a glass of wine looking distressed. She gets addiction therapy in California at The Relationship Therapy Center

One of the biggest myths about alcoholism is that everyone who struggles with alcoholism must hit their own version of “rock bottom” in order to successfully recover.

THE TRUTH: Every individual that suffers from alcoholism will have their own experience. Treatment and recovery is an option at any point. Hitting “rock bottom” is not required to be successful in treatment and prevent relapse.

MYTH: Willpower is all I Need to Stop Drinking

Another common myth is that alcoholism is a choice. By classifying alcoholism as a choice it becomes easy to mistakenly think that all one has to do is think their way out.

THE TRUTH: Alcoholism is a serious disease that affects the body both physically and mentally. Therefore, there are chemical changes that alcohol causes in the brain and body that cause a type of dependency that goes beyond choice. It is said in recovery, that there is an obsession of the mind that happens first; irritability, restlessness and discontent that happens when we are trying to cope with life with limited tools and then once the alcohol is introduced in the body, there becomes an “allergic” type reaction that kicks in craving and the inability to stop at one drink. 

MYTH: One Drink Won’t Hurt

Alcoholics can have one drink.

THE TRUTH: There is no known cure for alcoholism. This means that there is always a chance of relapse when treatment and new behaviors are not consciously followed. No one would ever tell a severe diabetic that one donut will not hurt them. Alcoholism, like diabetes, is a serious disease that should not be diminished.  There are cases where “harm reduction” can help, but if a line has been crossed and the body reacts with craving response, then one drink leads to many over and over again.  

MYTH: Treatment is a Cure

Seeking treatment can cure alcoholism.

THE TRUTH: Again, there is no cure for the disease of alcoholism. Treatment can be a way to successfully recover for many alcoholics. However, continuing to use the skills gained from treatment is necessary to avoid relapse.

MYTH: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a Must

Everyone who goes through treatment must attend AA.

THE TRUTH: AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) is only one of several options for part of the treatment for alcoholism. AA is an independent organization that allows alcoholics to come together to share their experiences with other alcoholics. Even participation in AA is not a requirement if someone choices to attend an AA meeting.  There are secular recovery programs and sometimes working one on one with a therapist adept at dealing with addiction can work. 

Note: Sometimes attending AA meetings may be a requirement of some treatment programs and can often be part of court-ordered treatment requirements.

Learn more about addictions counseling in Sacramento at the Relationship Therapy Center.

MYTH: Sobriety is Impossible

Maintaining sobriety is too hard, therefore impossible.

THE TRUTH: Many alcoholics successfully maintain sobriety after treatment. Sobriety is not only a possibility, but it is also a goal of treatment for alcoholics.  Sobriety can be amazing and once coping tools are learned, an opportunity for a wonderful life. Sober people can have fun! 

alcoholic man looks sad after having a drink. He gets addiction therapy in California and online therapy in California at the Relationship Therapy Center

MYTH: Only Drunks are Alcoholics

Only those who drink very large quantities of alcohol, spend excessive amounts of time and money in bars and taverns, always drink to the point of being intoxicated, those who lose everything, who drink in the morning, who drink hard alcohol….are alcoholics.

THE TRUTH: While many alcoholics commonly drink heavy, the criteria for alcoholism considers a few things like whether your drinking is causing problems with family, home or work, have had times when you drank longer or more than you had intended, have to drink more for the same effect, have tried to quit all together and haven’t been able to, found that drinking has put you in dangerous situations among others. 

MYTH: Drinking is Good for Anxiety/Depression

Alcohol makes you feel good, so it is a good way to deal with anxiety or depression.

THE TRUTH: Alcohol is a depressant substance. While the early effects of alcohol often makes people feel more relaxed and less inhibited, alcohol can increase depressive symptoms and anxiety. This often leads to a vicious cycle of drinking to avoid the feelings of depression and anxiety only to make the symptoms worse later.

Final Thoughts

Alcoholism is experienced differently by each person. There are probably dozens of other myths about alcoholism that you could find. Taking the time to learn the truth is important to understand how to combat alcoholism successfully. If you need help, you can attend an AA meeting to see if it resonates with you or seek addiction therapy or couples counseling for any problems your drinking is doing to your marriage. 

Set up an appointment HERE either with online therapy or at our offices in Roseville, CA or Fair Oaks, CA

woman who formally struggled with alcoholism sits in her therapists office getting addictions counseling in California at the Relationship Therapy Center

Begin Addiction Therapy in California:

If you’re struggling with addiction and looking for support counseling may be right for you. To begin therapy in Roseville, CA, therapy in Fair Oaks, CA and online therapy in California, follow these steps:

Contact the Relationship Therapy Center and schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation to learn more about in-person or online teen therapy

  1. Make an appointment for your teen to meet with one of our compassionate teen therapists,

  2. Get the support your teen needs to navigate adolescent challenges with confidence!

Other Counseling Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:

In addition to teen therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.