Monday, February 11, 2013

Top 10 Reasons to Avoid Going to Treatment

Unwilling shopper
Unwilling shopper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I wanted to do something a little lighter for this week’s post, so I set off to put together a list of excuses that drug addicts and alcoholics use to avoid going to treatment. Being separated from drugs and alcohol seems like a fate worse than death when living within a pathological relationship, like the relationships most alcoholics/addicts have with their substance of choice. Working with the drug addicted and alcoholic for a short time easily produces virtually every single reason that these individuals can think of to avoid coming to treatment.

I, with the help of our clinical and assessment staff, have compiled a list of the top 10 reasons the addicted use to get out of going to treatment:

    • “I don’t need to go to treatment; I know where the answer is. I can stay sober on my own”
I used this excuse plenty of times, especially after I had already gone through treatment. What I have learned since then is that knowledge of a solution is a very small part of the battle. If my car broke down, I would call a tow truck. I wouldn’t tell my passenger that everything would be alright, because I know of a tow truck.



    • “I could quit if I wanted.”
Chances are, if you are being confronted with going to treatment, you already cannot quit. Addiction is essentially a sick relationship that it enjoyable in some fashion for the addicted individual. The issue is not quitting for a period of time, but being able to quit- and stay quit.



    • “I’m not ready to quit; treatment doesn’t work until you are ready”
That is why we are here, we are professionals. I have seen scores of young men come into treatment, not wanting to stay sober. Many people don’t know the benefits until after they are sober for a while.



    • “People in treatment are all criminals!”
This is by no means the case. The disease of addiction does not discriminate, it affects everyone. People in treatment are all trying to get sober. While there is often controversy over one’s motivation for going to treatment, in my experience, as long as someone gets to treatment, they have a shot at a sober life.



    • “I can’t be away from my kids/wife/job/life for that long”
Experience shows that, often, if one does not get sober, the kids, wife, job and life disappear anyway. Frequently, temporary removal from home and work situations is necessary and highly beneficial so that one may focus on treatment and recovery.



    • “It’s a waste of money”
This is a common excuse. Treatment can be expensive, but not compared to the cost of saving a life and/or a family. It is amusing that while drinking and using, the addict may be unconcerned with whose finances they spend. But once he thinks about getting sober, cost is easily jumped on as an excuse not to go to or remain in treatment.



    • “I’d get the same result from going to therapy/AA”
Although therapy and 12 Step programs alone may work for some, many times this course isn’t enough. In a therapeutic/treatment environment, we incorporate therapy and 12 Step recovery into our education of the disease of addiction. We teach alcoholics and addicts the tools that help one live life sober, as well as assist them in creating a healthy lifestyle. Treatment gives one an opportunity to learn many positive things in an environment where temptation of drugs and alcohol is not an issue.



    • “I don’t want people to know that I have a problem”
Generally speaking, if an individual is being confronted with treatment, many already know that he or she has a problem. Drug addicts/alcoholics may think they have everyone fooled, but, usually, the only person that is fooled is the alcoholic or addict.



    • “I’m not half as bad as some people I know”
This may be the case. In the addict’s mind, there is always going to be someone worse off than him or her, and it is very easy to justify continued use when people around them are using/drinking more or more frequently than they are.





    • “I know what I need to do to stay sober, and I can’t do it in treatment!”
This excuse is fallacious also. The way I look at treatment is as a learning experience and a test. Treatment is not a particularly easy experience. If I learn to stay sober in treatment while confronting many of my issues and facing realities, I will be able to stay sober anywhere. Again, knowledge is not enough to stay sober. Treatment is a lesson in application.


These are simply examples of excuses that we have heard used in the past to avoid going to treatment. Some of these, I have even used!

I hope that this list was able to elucidate some of the more commonly used excuses, and able to help those who are entertaining any of these rationales.

What are some excuses you have heard not go to treatment? Is there really a good excuse to not have a life threatening disease treated? I am truly curious, so please leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

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