When drug and alcohol abuse or addiction reaches a crisis point, people struggling with addiction may be among the last to admit that immediate treatment is necessary. Denial is part of the nature of addiction, and it often manifests in a litany of reasons why treatment is not an option they are willing to consider right now.
Here are some of the most common reasons why people struggling with addiction may choose to procrastinate on enrolling in a rehab program that will help them stop drinking and using drugs:
- “I don’t have a problem that requires treatment.”
Readiness to accept that one’s problem with drugs and alcohol has reached a certain point where treatment is required doesn’t happen overnight. It usually happens through stages of change that lead to readiness over time. For different people, this can happen at different rates, and many even enter treatment before they have accepted the fact that they are living with a substance abuse disorder and need immediate detox and rehabilitation.
If your family member does not believe that rehab is needed, you can stage an intervention. Helping your loved one to see the truth of the situation can be facilitated by recounting examples of things that have changed since addiction took hold, the incidents of harm or near-harm that resulted from poor choices under the influence, or the many promises to stop drinking or using that have not materialized. When it is clear that your loved one truly is living with an addiction issue, follow up with the offer to enter treatment right away.
- “I can quit on my own.”
This is a common assertion made by people living with addiction or a chronic substance abuse problem. If it’s true, great – it means that addiction is not in play. But if it’s a promise made repeatedly, it becomes another sign that treatment is necessary.
If your loved one has made the promise to quit drinking or using drugs in the past and been unable to maintain the change for any length of time, it may be worth mentioning this fact. You can alleviate the burden of responsibility by pointing out that addiction is a medical disorder and that, as such, it requires medical treatment at a substance abuse treatment program.
- “I have no one to watch the kids.”
When there are children involved, the first instinct is usually to prioritize their ultimate safety and comfort – as it should be. But when parents are struggling with a drug or alcohol dependency and they are also the primary caregivers for children, those children are at risk. It’s not an easy discussion to have, but the fact is that if care can be found with other family members and close friends (people working together to get the kids where they need to be and make sure they are taken care of) then it is essential for the kids’ long-term health and wellness that their caregiving parents get the help necessary to overcome addiction.
- “I have too many things going on at work to leave right now.”
Work is an essential part of most people’s lives. If people are still functional in addiction, they may very well have quite a bit going on at work in order to maintain appearances and keep up. It’s no easy feat to maintain a job and an addiction. The problem is that an addiction knows no bounds and just because the person is managing to maintain at work today doesn’t mean that that will still be the case in a few weeks or a few months if the addiction continues untreated. The best thing to do in any career when a person is struggling with an addiction is to undergo the treatment necessary to get the situation under control before it takes over.
- “There’s no money to pay for rehab.”
It is true that rehabilitation services can get expensive, and it is also true that at no point in life is money tighter than when the purse strings are being controlled by addiction. However, there are methods to pay for treatment, and it should not be financially out of reach for anyone. With the changes to the laws concerning health insurance coverage, everyone should have access to insurance that will cover the cost of services at least in part. Additionally, if family and close friends do not have the means to help pay for the bill, there are financing services available as well. Working together with family members can help those in need of treatment to get the funds necessary to pay for the services they need. As a result, individuals can make a strong start in recovery under any financial circumstances.
When there is an identifiable dependence upon alcohol and/or other drugs, there is no viable excuse for avoiding treatment. The longer one spends in active addiction, the more damage will be present in the person’s work life, health, personal life, and more.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), treatment does not need to be entered into voluntarily in order to have a positive impact on the person’s use of drugs and alcohol. Addiction is a medical disorder, and the earlier the person gets needed help, the better.