Common Excuses for Avoiding Addiction Treatment


People have a myriad of excuses lined up when it comes to avoiding seeking professional help for addiction. Among the most prevalent are financial (fear of losing one’s job); social (the stigma of being labeled an addict); psychological (a feeling of hopelessness and skepticism that one’s needs can be met); not having enough time to take on the recovery process; and of course, the denial of having a problem in the first place.

  • Financial. Although this may seem like a valid excuse, especially in these harsh economic times, the reality is that there are several options for treatment, including low-cost alternatives to residential rehab. As long as you are willing to seek treatment, there is a program available for you. It is understandable that many people can’t afford to leave their jobs and pay for residential rehab. For those who find themselves in this situation, there are outpatient drug treatment centers conveniently located all across the United States. These outpatient clinics are considerably less expensive than inpatient treatment centers and allow you to maintain your daily life while treating your addiction. Also, if you think about the investment of getting sober versus contributing money toward a drug habit that may irreparably damage the most important relationships in your life, seeking treatment is the clear choice.
  • Social. Social labels are often undesirable and damaging. If you are struggling with addiction, it can be difficult to see yourself as an “addict.” Many addicts are high-functioning and successful professionally so the thought of being “outed” as an addict can seem detrimental to your career and reputation. The good news is that a recent poll conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows that Americans are becoming more open-minded about those struggling with addiction. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the respondents would not think less of a person who was currently struggling with substance abuse and addiction, understanding that it takes courage to admit that one has a problem and even more courage to seek help. Because many high-functioning addicts are also providers for their families, outpatient addiction treatment centers allow people to maintain a presence professionally while receiving drug treatment.
  • Psychological. If you are struggling with addiction, you likely have negative thoughts about yourself and your situation. Feelings of despair and hopelessness often accompany feelings of personal failure and loneliness. Many people who are struggling with addiction feel that their situation is uniquely hopeless, but the reality is that even people who have struggled with addiction for decades can overcome it and live out the rest of their lives as healthy and happy individuals. The cost of therapy can be daunting, but many outpatient drug rehab facilities offer individual and group therapy as part of treatment. In addition, many of these programs tailor their treatment to the needs of specific groups. For instance, there are outpatient rehab programs for men, women, teens, executives and various religious groups.
  • Not Enough Time. Being an addict often skews perception, especially regarding time. Often, people struggling with addiction have become so out of touch with reality that the prospect of altering their schedule in order to seek treatment is too stressful. No matter how important your career is, the urgency of recovering from addiction supersedes it.  Many addicts argue that taking the time out of their schedule to attend a residential drug rehab program will be a detriment to their careers when the truth is that rehab, whether inpatient or outpatient, will increase their quality of life and enhance their productivity since addiction will no longer consume a vast majority of their time and energy.
  • Denial.  Denial is an elaborate, persuasive and powerful defense mechanism that delays much needed treatment.  According to Bill Urell, MA.CAAP-II, an addictions therapist, the progression of denial is as follows:

1. Minimizing. The user is claiming to use less than they actually are. They will downplay the seriousness of their problem and the consequences.

2. Rationalizing. More and more excuses are made and repeated to the point where they become inculcated as fact to the user. Elaborate anecdotes are created to justify use such as stressful work and family situations.

3. Blaming and playing the victim. Typically, an addict will place blame on another person or event rather than taking personal responsibility. This shifts the responsibility to the other person, not the user, to solve the problem.

The bottom line is that denial keeps addicts insulated from reality. Facing reality is daunting, but if you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, there is always a way to improve your situation by seeking addiction treatment. There is simply no excuse compelling enough to delay recovery so you can begin to live your best life.

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