The 5 Most Common Exaggerations in the Rooms
Need help? Call our 24/7 helpline. 855-933-3480

The 5 Most Common Exaggerations in the Rooms


People in recovery say the damndest things. Why? Well, we tend to be dramatic sorts. Maybe it’s the years of medical emergencies, bottomless puke parades, unrequited loves, near-constant screaming and crying episodes, perpetual pining for things we couldn’t have…Regardless, here are a few of the most common overly dramatic claims I’ve heard.

1) “I always woke up next to people I didn’t know.”

Really? Always? Like, every morning? Every time you tossed back a beer, or a glass of sangria or a white wine spritzer? And what do you mean by “people you didn’t know”—like, were they always literal perfect strangers? Or random friends of friends? Or acquaintances? Or Internet dates? Did you not even know their first names, or do you mean you didn’t know dumb little personal details like what cologne they wear or what toothpaste they use? It doesn’t really matter in the long run, but how could this not be an exaggeration?

2) “I woke up on a gurney headed for the morgue.”

I actually heard a man say this once in an AA meeting. He was describing his bottom.  He was a crazy man, duh—a crazy man who had a new over-the-top, dramatic, purportedly true story every goddamned week—but even I was taken aback by the ludicrousness of this one. You were pronounced dead and zipped up in one of those plastic body bag things and seriously came back from the dead? Really? Sorry, dude, but this one’s just too out-there, even for an addict. You might consider tweaking your meds or something.

3) “If I drink again, I know I’ll die.”

You hear this one all the time. It makes sense that people would tell themselves this as a way to scare themselves into never even entertaining the notion of drinking again. It’s a freaky thought. But is it true? I doubt it, at least for most recovering folks. I’ve known one person, throughout years of sobriety, who has died as an indirect result of drinking again. She got hit by a car after stumbling into the street. I know multiple people, however, who have died during recovery, and those were largely accidents—getting hit on a scooter, stuff like that. Sorry but for most of us, drinking isn’t an automatic death sentence.

4) “I know God is taking care of me and everything happens for a reason.”

I’ve mentioned before how much I hate this one. The idea that God is watching over any of us and actively observing, even meddling, in our dumb little plebian is, to me, just…magical thinking. If there’s a god, what’s the “reason” when children are abducted and murdered? What’s the reason for cancer and AIDS? What’s about the gun epidemic, the constant wars, the racism and homophobia? Obviously I don’t know better than anyone else whether there’s some kind of divine order or a guy/gal upstairs running the show. I just wonder how there possibly could be when the show is generally so…terrible.

5) “Before I came into the rooms, I was killing myself slowly.”

I understand the sentiment behind this one—that before recovery, most of us were flailing through life, fearfully spinning our wheels in a desperate attempt to stay afloat, but usually failing. Many of us probably struggled with depression and suicidal feelings. But many of us didn’t actually act on those feelings, and in my book, drowning one’s sorrows in wine or vodka just isn’t quite on par with slashing your wrists or jumping off a bridge. Not to sound like an asshole; addiction can be an excruciating act of self-violence, to be sure. But I don’t think equating every self-destructive urge to outright suicide is necessarily true, or helpful.

Any Questions? Call Now To Speak to a Rehab Specialist
(855) 933-3480

About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.