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Drug and Alcohol Rehab Myths

Updated: Jan 16

Debunking Drug & Alcohol Rehab Myths

Have you ever considered going to rehab? Have you become discouraged by voices that keep whispering negative affirmations? Be it the voices in your head or of those around you? If you've ever wondered if rehab is right for you. This blog will help you to dispel some of the myths about drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

The myths we find about drug and alcohol rehabs confuse us. To ease these anxieties or confusions we create myths. Invented to explain situations we don't understand or have experience with.

In the following article, we'll examine some popular myths about addiction rehabilitation. Questions about affordability? Do employers wonder if their employees will be able to keep their jobs? Users wondering if they will be able to quit drugs or stop their addictions.?

Pervasive ignorance about rehabs and how they work fuels these concerns. If you open your eyes and allow yourself to experience the truth, you may find a greater sense of peace. Neither going to treatment nor starting recovery is that daunting.

We've listed a few popular myths about addiction rehabilitation. Don't discourage yourself from seeking help from a rehab centre.

Drug & Alcohol Rehab Myths Infographic

1. Rehab is only for certain people

What types of people go to rehab? People from all walks of life can receive treatment. Various kinds of treatment options are available to cater to everyone's individual needs. Whether a person struggles with drug addiction or alcohol dependence, gambling or sex. They can seek treatment regardless of age, race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Children may for instance attend occupational therapy tailored to their specific needs. Drug and alcohol rehab clinics become the places people go when they need help. Treatment heals a person's mind, their body, and saves them from addiction disease. The reverse is not always true, though. During rehab, some fail to realize the severity of their drug problem before it is too late. People often only go to rehab for family, legal or physical problems. That's fine but after a while, people find their reason for going to treatment and staying in recovery.

Until I went to Rehab, I didn't understand what it did

2. I will lose my job if I go to rehab

In case a person decides to seek treatment. They wonder what will happen to their work or current position. The big question should be; how will your job change if you don't get help with your addiction? A person with an addiction disease is more likely to lose their job due to its effects. Addiction treatment teaches coping mechanisms to become functional individuals to keep their jobs. Which option would you choose? Addiction treatment can save your life. That is the first thing you should know about it. You can suffer negative effects from substance abuse if you use it. There can be a range of effects. Minor changes like reduced sleep quality. To severe harm such as heart attack, stroke, psychosis, or even death. Simple: Avoiding rehab can be more expensive than going to it.

While it is the employee's responsibility to seek help for their addiction. Employers share the responsibility to refer you to places for help and/or treatment. There are Acts in South Africa that regulate substance abuse in the workplace:

  • The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (108 of 1996);

  • The Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (70 of 2008);

  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act (85 of 1993);

  • The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (130 of 1993);

  • The Employment Equity Act (55 of 1998);

  • The Labour Relations Act (66 of 1995);

  • The South African Labour Guide (RSA, 2011:1-3).

These acts state that substance dependency is incapacity and not misconduct. Mental illness and substance dependency are not grounds for dismissal for poor performance. Employers need to seek appropriate counselling and rehabilitation measures to improve their performance. Laws do not mandate that an employer must pay for the rehabilitation process. While some Employers may consider doing so. In some cases, companies will pay for these programs. (SEESA Professional Legal Support for Business, 2020). Employers need to assist their employees in getting counselling, treatment, and rehabilitation. (The International Labour Organisation's code of conduct on alcohol and drug-related issues).

Besides identifying professionals and services that specialise in counselling, treatment, and rehabilitation. Help could entail pointing employees to their names and contact information. Among them are psychologists, psychiatrists and medical professionals. Registered Counsellors or Social Workers, and even self-help groups. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), are very popular alternatives. Some companies might have Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP).

Rehab is not for quitters - Rehab is for Fighters

3. Rehab will cure my addiction

Getting treatment at a rehab does not guarantee a cure for your addiction. Rehab will provide you with the tools and coping mechanisms. This will help you to manage your addiction and become a more contributing member of society. According to Google, "Rehabilitation" means, restoring someone to healthy or normal life through training and therapy after incarceration, addiction, or illness.

Addiction is a chronic disease. It involves a complex interplay between brain circuits, genetics, environment, and life experiences. The use of substances or compulsive behaviours of people with addiction persists despite harmful consequences, despite a negative outcome (Google, 2021). Many factors may lead to addiction. The common factors include:

  • History of trauma in one’s life

  • Mental illness

  • An environment with present substance abuse

  • Brain changes

  • Lack of healthy and supportive relationships

  • Poverty

  • Etc.

Rehabilitation can give you the skills to deal with challenges, cravings, and triggers. It forms a part of your addiction, yet going to treatment will enable you to deal with it. It works if you work it. It requires your dedication and effort. Those who are in rehab can leave with a stronger foundation to begin a sober life. After participating in the designated program and working with the designated professionals.

I'm not telling you it is going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it

4. There is no point in going to rehab more than one time

One may think that going to rehab only once is enough for a person. Relapsing after they have undergone treatment would mean rehab won't work for them. The more chances you get for treatment, the better. This way you can get your recovery back on track right away. There are many attitudes towards rehab and also different reasons why people go to rehab.

When you go to treatment you can identify where you may have failed in your first attempt. Having a negative attitude to rehab the first time. To avoid legal issues, family troubles, or health problems. Changes after a second, third, or fourth attempt because of a strong motivation for change.

When you are desperate, you are more likely to recognize the chances you have of recovering. Despite the new challenges. You enjoy the experience and learning. Using the tools which will make long-term abstinence more possible this time. Besides, relapse does not mean failure. Addiction is a chronic disease that relapses and requires care and patience. Focus on learning from a relapse instead of blaming yourself. Assuming that treatment will never work if you have relapsed.

5. Rehab is not affordable

When someone has a plan, they will find a way to follow through regardless of obstacles. As the proverb goes "Where there's a will, there's a way". There are many rehab centres across the country, if not even abroad. Discover what options are available to you. There are government-run rehabs and there are also private rehabs. Exhaust every possible option for finding a place you can afford before deciding to give up. Do you have health insurance through your employer? Many rehab centres accept medical aid as payment. Does your employer offer health insurance but you do not receive medical aid? Don't worry, you can still speak with the relevant centre about payment options. Are you unemployed and without an income? Help is only a phone call away. If you or a loved one needs treatment. The government might have a rehabilitation program that can help. If necessary, you can ask friends and family to help you pay for your treatment. Getting the help you need should not rest on the stress of payment. A person's financial costs are far greater than the cost of addiction to them and their loved ones.

When is the right time to seek treatment

6. You have to be at rock bottom to go to rehab

Rehabilitation should not only be an option for those at their worst. It should also be an option for those who are still functioning within their addictions. It is important not to put off seeking treatment for your addiction. Instead, take action as soon as you observe a pattern of codependency has developed. Treatment will increase your likelihood of progressing in recovery. While maintaining it over a longer period. Waiting until you've reached your perceived rock bottom will only delay your journey. You deserve to live the life you deserve.

The feeling of being powerless to control your life may come from addiction. Treatment can provide you with the tools to control your life again. People who create myths are afraid of the truth. They give up on their abilities rather than explore the possibility of a new meaningful life. Taking control of your life is not an impossibility, so don't let anyone convince you it's not possible.


The relevant acts as mentioned, are the International Labour Organisations’ “Code of Conduct on the management of alcohol-and drug-related issues in the workplace” and the Services Seta (2003a:41-42).

SEESA Professional Legal Support for Business. (2020) The Obligations Of Employers Regarding Substance Addiction And Abuse In The Workplace. Available at:

American Addiction Centres. (2021) 5 Myths about Drug Abuse Addiction and Rehab Treatment Programs. Available at: (Accessed: 01 Sep. 2021).


This comprehensive guide dismantles prevalent myths surrounding drug and alcohol rehab. Covering topics from job security concerns to affordability, it empowers individuals to make informed decisions about seeking help. Debunking misconceptions about treatment outcomes, the text emphasizes the chronic nature of addiction and the importance of multiple attempts for successful recovery. It advocates early intervention and challenges the notion of hitting rock bottom before seeking rehab. Packed with valuable insights, the guide encourages readers to embrace the truth and take control of their journey towards a meaningful life in recovery.

Rehab is only for certain people:

Myth: Only specific individuals can benefit from rehab.

Reality: Rehab is inclusive, catering to diverse needs irrespective of age, race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. It addresses various addictions, emphasizing individualized treatment.

I will lose my job if I go to rehab:

Rehab will cure my addiction:

There is no point in going to rehab more than once:

Rehab is not affordable:

You have to be at rock bottom to go to rehab:

Dispelling these myths reveals the inclusivity, effectiveness, and accessibility of drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Seeking help early, understanding the chronic nature of addiction, and embracing the varied support options contribute to a more informed and proactive approach to recovery. Financial concerns and job security shouldn't hinder one's path to rehabilitation, emphasizing the importance of addressing addiction with compassion and understanding.



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