It’s frightening. It’s unpredictable. And it’s not easy to take the first step. There is a multitude of reasons addicts give for avoiding entering a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. And to the hesitant and reluctant addict, these issues are rationalized as practical reasons not to get help.
The addicted individual may believe that there are realistic objections to taking the initial step to go into treatment. But drugs and drinking are already disrupting them from enjoying a sober and healthy way of life. And it will only get worse.
Here are some of the reasons individuals may cite for choosing not to enter a rehabilitation program.
1. Financial limitations.
Addicted individuals may be struggling financially to pay for their basic needs. The stress of money is genuine since much of their income is spent on drugs. An addict may believe that the cost of treatment is just not affordable.
However, there are options available so that financial hardship does not become an obstacle. Many insurance companies cover treatment. Even without insurance, treatment facilities offer extensive opportunities for financing treatment. There are people and places that want to help when a person needs and wants to be helped.
Unfortunately, substance abuse still carries a stigma. It may be difficult for family, friends, and co-workers to understand or accept substance abuse as more than just a lack of inner strength. Some who are unfamiliar with addiction believe that drug and alcohol abuse is a lack of willpower. Many addicts look outward and are worried about the opinions of others and are deeply impacted by the stigma.
Telling friends, family, and your boss, that you are taking time to resolve your addiction issues is necessary, but not an easy task. The stigma that addiction is a character flaw still permeates our society. But addiction is a disease. Society would never consider someone with cancer to be a weak person. Besides, it is likely that others have seen your behavior and are already aware there is an issue.
3. Job constraints.
Losing your job is a legitimate fear for many individuals, but you are protected by law. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows for up to 12 weeks of medical leave. This will allow you to relax knowing that your job will be protected while you are in treatment. There are also intensive outpatient programs that are available, allowing continued attendance at your job throughout treatment.
And if you are in a situation where you are already considering rehab and decide not to get treatment, there is a high likelihood that you will lose your job anyway due to the consequences of your addiction. Data reveals that employees with substance addictions have more unexcused absences from their jobs and were more likely to be involved in a workplace accident. Substance abuse also significantly affects decision-making skills and is likely to affect your job performance.
And if nothing else, remember that nothing could possibly be more important than getting out of the wretched cycle of drug and alcohol dependence. This is the only way you’ll regain the trust and respect you may have lost.
4. Legal Issues.
Regretfully, addicts may have outstanding legal issues and may have court appearances scheduled during the time period where they would be in rehab. They need to appear in front of a judge in order not to suffer additional legal consequences. They may cite this as a “practical” reason not to enter treatment and take the first steps toward recovery.
This is a matter that can be resolved by speaking to an attorney before entering treatment. If an individual is expected to be in court while they are in rehabilitation, all they have to do is communicate with the lawyer in advance to prevent any additional penalties. Many in-patient facilities understand this situation and support the need for communication on legal matters.
According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the most common reasons people who needed treatment did not seek help were:
not ready to stop using drugs
fear of a negative opinion from others
concern it would affect work
Rationalization, Not Reasons
It is not uncommon for an addict to say they can stop their substance abuse on their own with professional guidance and support. The truth is that when you are on your own, it's all too easy to get discouraged and rationalize "just one more pill” or “this will really be the last drink.”
Denial delays the person from seeing the seriousness of their problem. It allows the addict to avert entering a treatment program and dealing with the issue. The "practical reasons" an addict refers to in order to avoid treatment are simply rationalizations to dodge the process of getting clean and sober. And bluntly speaking, whatever addicts prioritize over their recovery, they tend to lose in the long-run anyway.
If you’re reading this and know that you are struggling to get healthy and sober on your own, understand that you have to decide to do whatever it takes to recover. Your life will improve beyond imagination and you know it. Not facing the addiction head-on will continue to make your life worse--and you know that too. Nothing will improve unless you act. Thinking, talking, wondering, considering will not fix anything. Getting and staying sober will.
If you or someone you know is struggling to get sober and require professional help, here’s a directory of treatment centers by state or feel free to contact 800-772-8219 to inquire about addiction specialists in your area.