When someone isn’t ready to admit their addiction, they are likely living in denial about the seriousness of their habit. Denial can trigger a variety of excuses, keeping people from getting the help they need. But for many individuals, denial’s underlying emotion is fear. That fear can come from a variety of aspects—fear of admitting something is wrong, fear of losing control, fear of the unknowns about treatment, and fear of what others will think.
What are the excuses you might be making to avoid going through addiction treatment? Could some of those excuses come from a place of fear? Consider the following common excuses that prevent people from making a change and enrolling in treatment.
Excuse: I have this under control.
One of the biggest misconceptions addicts experience is the belief that they could quit at any time. While you do have the power to break free from a drug dependence, you may not be able to flip that switch as easily as you suspect. Assuming one can quit using at any moment severely underestimates the grip that addiction can have on someone’s decisions and behavior.
Addiction is a lifelong disease. Chemical dependence is characterized by disrupted reward systems in the brain, driving one’s urge to continue chasing a high. Even if you think you could quit whenever you decide, you will likely find that withdrawal symptoms are much more devastating than you foresee, and your likelihood of relapse will be much higher without the therapy and tools you gain through addiction treatment.
Excuse: I’m not hurting anyone.
This is never the case. Addictions damage all kinds of relationships—family members, friends, partners, roommates, coworkers…the list continues. We work with people who come from all types of backgrounds. Some have lost visitation rights with their kids. Some are coming out of divorce, and some have estranged relationships with their parents or other family members.
Whatever your situation may be, you have probably experienced pain, loss, or conflict in your relationships as your substance abuse has escalated. No one completely escapes addiction’s consequences. Even if you think what you’re doing in private isn’t impacting someone else, you are hurting yourself by allowing the cycle of substance abuse to continue.
Excuse: People who go to treatment will relapse anyways.
Entering treatment takes courage, and recovery is a lifelong process. Some people do relapse after treatment, but everyone goes through their own journey. One of the most powerful and humbling lessons that treatment teaches is that no one has to feel isolated on that journey. While substance abuse perpetuates loneliness, treatment inspires community. Going through addiction treatment allows addicts to hear other people’s stories who have been in similar situations. Even if people’s experiences with substance abuse began through different means or circumstances, the thread that connects their stories is a longing for acceptance and fulfillment. By building connections with others and avoiding isolation, one can reduce the chances of relapse.
Enrolling in treatment means meeting people who have been in your shoes. You develop a camaraderie with others and experience the comforts of mutual understanding and support. When people go through this experience, their perspective on living a clean, healthy life is enriched by meeting and knowing others on the same path. Through these relationships, counseling, and ongoing mentoring, people start their recovery journey with a community of others who can relate, supporting them in establishing a sober lifestyle.
Excuse: I could probably never afford treatment.
Maybe one of your fears comes from overestimating the costs. It’s easy to blame money to fend off suggestions of going to treatment. But while addiction treatment is an investment, most people are surprised to find out that their health insurance will cover some of the financial obligation. Treatment center staff are equipped to partner with families to make treatment feasible through payment plans, and state funding can be available in some cases. In the long run, continued drug or alcohol abuse is almost always the more expensive option, taking a huge financial toll on your health and well-being.
Overcoming the fear of addiction treatment means taking an intentional step toward a new, healthier lifestyle. Learn more about how treatment can set your recovery up for success.