5 Myths of Alcoholism Revealed


I once approached my father with the idea for a perpetual motion machine.
Of course, he didn’t want to discourage my inquiry so he let me work on the concept.
His only comment was, “It won’t work”.
The idea of a perpetual motion machine was and is simply a myth.
You may find yourself holding on to a few myths about alcoholism and your alcoholic.

Let’s reveal a few…

Alcoholics Choose This Lifestyle

If I believed alcoholic’s chose to have an out of control lifestyle full of blackouts, hangovers and all kinds of problems, I would think they are even sicker than they actually are.

The truth?

Your alcoholic chooses to drink. Then the effects of the alcohol dictate the lifestyle.

When you consider the fact inhibitions are lowered and judgment is impaired there’s no surprise that your alcoholic’s lifestyle becomes out of control.

The need to consume alcohol is more intense than anything around your alcoholic. If it means don’t pay the rent so there’s enough money to get the booze, that’s just the way it has to be.

You see, your alcoholic doesn’t plan to be out of control he just plans to get intoxicated. Out of control just happens to be part of the journey (illness).

Alcoholism is About Bad Choices

If only your alcoholic would make better choices everything would be okay.

Granted the choices your alcoholic makes may be poor and better choices would contribute to better outcomes.

However, for your alcoholic there’s nothing other than the next high that’s important. So whatever choice enables the next episode of drinking is the best choice, to your alcoholic.

These choices are influenced by a strong compulsion. It’s as though other choices become non existent.

I would put it this way, when you’re so blinded by an obsession everything else is blotted out, do you really have a choice?

Alcoholic’s Never Recover

You may have bought into the idea many hold that your alcoholic never will recover.

Alcoholism is a chronic condition. This means there are periods where the illness is better or worse.

In clinical terms we view 5 years of sobriety to be full remission.

This doesn’t mean your alcoholic may not ever relapse. The probability is less after this length of recovery.

Don’t let me give you the wrong impression. Many alcoholics die in the illness having never recovered.

When I first started working with alcholics it was commonly understood about 25% of alcoholics found recovery.

That number is significantly higher today as our understanding of the illness and treatment has improved.

Alcoholic’s Are Just Bad People

What a misconception.
Your alcoholic is more than his illness.

I would hope we wouldn’t consider a person with cancer to be defined by the illness.

I know alcohol effects your alcoholic’s personality and almost everything about him. It isn’t the definition of your alcholic.

I like to believe we all have an intrinsic value. For alcoholic’s it gets hidden by the toxic influence of alcohol.

Never the less, your alcoholic has value as a person, as someone who deserves recovery.

For this reason I believe if there’s anything to label ‘bad’ it’s ALCOHOL, not your alcoholic.

Alcoholic’s Are Hopeless

Life with your alcoholic is extremely difficult to endure.

At times, I’m sure you feel hopeless about your alcoholic.

Most every chronic illness has had naysayers who spoke of the hopelessness of the disorder.

Be reminded of how cancer, stroke, heart disease, aids and many other chronic illnesses have all been viewed as hopeless.

There is hope for each of the above illnesses, not because the disorder has changed but because intervention and treatment have improved.

I understand how discouraged you may become when your alcoholic seems disinterested in recovery.

I also know when you stay consistent with your alcoholic, don’t enable and speak the truth into his life it makes a difference.

I’m glad I came to the point one day where I understood the Law of Thermaldynamics and accepted there was no way I was going to make a perpetual motion machine. The myth for me was broken by my acceptance of the truth.

What myths have you believed? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 14 Other People Thought...

  1. kat

    The myth i believed was cinderalla, i thought once i married and had a family and went to church all would be well with the world, wow was i taken back, i found the worst thing in this world was men addiction to lust and of course the media doesn’t help , even in cartoons one sin leads to another , God help us with a cure
    I hate and i mean hate the way rod gets a decision doesn’t include me and goes , he gets up one day and decides hes going to his families house of course they allow drink there, they don’t feel he has a problem .every day we are with each other is getting harder and harder since he quit drinking, he blames me instead of the drink, Lord help me with this demon that drives us apart

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Alcoholism cuts across all of society. Good people taken away by addiction to alcohol with horrible consequences. I’m not sure anyone is prepared for what’s delivered by an alcoholic. One of the reasons we’re here at FreeMyAddict is to try and make sense of this illness and what it does to family and friends. Lord help us all!

  2. LorriT

    Good article. This comes right on time for me as my husband had relapsed not too long ago and told him to leave last week and changed the locks when he did. Three days ago he came by and I told him he could not come back unless things change sooner rather than later. He sought help on Monday and is in Veterans Affairs Rehab program as he is a Vet. I am saying all of this to say that I was told all of the above from some family and a few friends and believed most all they told me. In speaking with a close friend today she, like, me believed the myths above. Living my life with my alcoholic I have learned a lot from this site and know that this article rings true. It helps to do the research to find out what you are dealing with in relation to an addict or alcoholic and to have support and believe in a higher power. I also realize that I do have limits and I did not think I did. Thank you Free My Addict for all that you have taught me. Hang in there everybody as best you can.


    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks Lorri. It’s wonderful your husband decided to go to rehab. The myths we believe keeps yous bound and unable to even defend yourself. The fact you were able to take proactive steps in the right direction and stand your ground tells me you’re understanding the truth vs. the myths.

  3. Ross

    can a person love their wife and choose to divorce her so he can have money to drink?mine says he loves me and misses me, but he doesnt want to stop drinking now. Also is there a notification that can be sent to our email, when responses are made to our post on here? I forget where i post and dont find all the responses.Thanks!

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      The simple answer is YES alcoholics make all kinds of irrational decisions. Many of those decisions have incredibly high costs. These decisions are generally to perpetuate the addiction to alcohol. This continues until the cost of the addiction is greater than the perceived benefits of using.
      I don’t have a provision for notification when comments are posted. I’ll look into it.

      • Ross

        If their not bad(and i know my my husband has some good qualities when in sobriety).Then how can i understand him cheating on me after relapsing and then taking our retirement and leaving?(still wants to come home)
        He may have cheated other times he’d relapsed too.And i dont think im afar off from that being the truth.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        It’s never okay for your husband to cheat on you, drunk or sober.

  4. Some of your words offer me such hope and others I have moral problems with. I love how you say ‘Your Alcoholic is more then his illness’. Absolutely and even though I’ve had to separate myself from a few people because of their substance abuse or their life abuse (sex, gambling… trouble with the law) I’ve never given up on them, or their ability to make the decision to be the best of themselves instead of the worst. What I do not like is saying it’s “the Alcohol that is bad”. No. I’m sorry. That’s just not true. Alcohol is an inanimate object, as are drugs of all sorts. NEVER has it forced itself down anyone’s throat or into anyone’s veins. People put it there. And it’s the people that have the power to stop. I understand addiction is an illness, but it is one we can have influence over. I don’t feel it’s fair to compare it to cancer but much like diabetes, the individual and their choices has EVERYTHING to do with wether or not they live or die. I believe in relinquishing control to God to battle the demon that is the compulsion to use, but it’s the individual that has to stand on the front line and fight. If they don’t, they loose, no one else can do it for them. It’s not good to call Alcohol “bad” because it takes the focus off of what the real problem is (like you said)- the compulsion to drink, not the drink itself. That is what has to be battled. The drinking leads to a high, true… but many people aren’t compelled to keep getting high. That inability to modulate one’s compulsions is what makes an addict an addict so that is what has to remain the focus. That being said, I wish all the best to those that are struggling day to day with a loved one battling this illness. I hope they don’t give up. Love is 100% unconditional, but relationships are not. Don’t feel foolish for loving someone just because they’ve hurt you. You’re not foolish, you’re just in love, that is what love is- all in- all unconditional. But also remember that you have to love yourself too and if someone is doing something that is endangering you you have a right to remove yourself and your children or other loved ones from that danger. It does not mean you’ve given up hope, or you are not loving your addict enough. It simply means you are moving yourself to surer ground so you can be more productive in your part of the battle. And, from what I hear, accountability is really good for an addict. Sometimes staying and putting up with their abuse is anti-love, it’s enabling and that’s HORRIBLE for their recovery. Good luck everyone.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Certainly alcohol isn’t good or bad in itself. Alcohol negatively effects about 12% of the population who become problem drinkers or alcoholics. For them alcohol is toxic. Ironically, the 12% of problem drinkers consume more than 80% of the alcohol. It would be great if they COULD simply make a choice to drink responsibly. The American Society for Addiction Medicine has released an up to date definition of addiction indicating it’s a brain disorder with associated behaviors. These include relapse, compulsion and obsession.

      Some people choose to leave others decide to stay, in all cases concerns for the children needs to be foremost. I recommend zero tolerance for violence of any kind. As many as 40% of children from alcoholic homes report some type of abuse. It’s a big issue.

      Thanks for your comment.

      • Terri

        I have been married to an alcoholic/addict for 38 years. He is a good person with an addictive personality. My life with him has been difficult to endure. I spent many years trying to fix him. We have had long periods free of drugs and alcohol, then relapse. I reached my bottom in the relationship and he no longer lives with me. I now communicate with him only if he is sober. At this point I do not know what tomorrow will bring for him, or if we can ever re-unite, but I do know that I will survive, with or without him. He definitely has a brain disorder and it breaks my heart to see him struggle, but the choice is his, as we cannot control our spouses. We set our addict free by releasing them with love and kindness and offering encouragement as well as taking care of ourselves.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Your perspective is quite healthy. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Miss Bee

    Terri ~ Love your comment. I’m bookmarking. I’m healing from leaving a long-term relationship with a problem drinker. After telling me to never see him again, he’s back in contact. I care, but at a respectful and healthy distance now. It is freeing. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Your eyes are open. Keep them open. Promises to keep clean and sober are a dime a dozen. Actions speak louder than words. Keep speaking truth to him and keep strong boundaries about what you expect. Thanks for your comment.

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