Rebutting the 5 Most Heard Excuses for Not Getting Treatment

Asking for help can often be a difficult task for a lot of people. For someone struggling in their addiction, it can almost be easier to justify why they “shouldn’t get treatment”. Many professionals can attest to hearing their fair share of reasons from clients, but they all have one thing in common. They are all excuses that people come up with when they are having difficulty accepting the severity of their use and the impact it has had on their lives. Rarely do people come into treatment with a smile on their face and a happy go lucky attitude. More often than not, people come with a wave of emotions, including anger, frustration, guilt and shame. It is important to emphasize that though people may come in with these emotions, it outweighs the cost of not seeking help when it is needed.

Here are some of the most common excuses that professionals hear from clients as to why they shouldn’t seek treatment:

1. Financials. It is important to emphasize that the cost of attending treatment heavily outweighs the risk of not attending. Take a moment to think about the cost of obtaining your drug of choice and then add all the other incidentals that come with it, such as lost paychecks from a job, lawyers, etc. The cost of maintaining an addiction is tremendous. There are always ways to make treatment more affordable and programs that will be willing to work with you. Think of it as an investment into a better future.

2. Timing. There is never a “perfect time” to do anything in life, just like there is never a perfect time to go seek treatment. There will always be obstacles, events happening and things to do. Ask yourself this question, would you rather be in treatment now and have the rest of your life a head of you or would you rather your addiction control your life and never get to fully live it. Be present in the now and take control of your own life. Don’t let your addiction do it for you, because here’s a secret, it does not have your best interests in mind. Use the time you have now before it’s gone. The only thing unforgiving in this life is time. It will keep moving forward with or without you.

3. I can do it on my own. Addiction is a disease that is meant to manipulate someone into thinking they are invincible and smart enough to beat it. If someone you love was diagnosed with a fatal disease, would you agree that they shouldn’t get treatment because they believe don’t need help and can do it themselves? Probably not. Denial is a key symptom of addiction that can cause someone’s reality to be skewed. Do not be afraid to ask for help or admit that you can’t do it yourself. It is one of the strongest and bravest things someone can do.

4. Jobs. Most people use this excuse as “I need to work to make money” or “Ill lose my job if I don’t go in”. Legally, there are laws in place to help protect employment while in treatment. In addition, treatment centers will often help their clients find jobs to support their goals. If you continue to use this excuse while in active addiction, chances are that you may end up losing your job from use anyway. Your health and wellness should always be the priority. There will always be another job, but there will not always be opportunities to save yourself from a deadly disease like addiction.

5. Family and loved ones. Many people use their family, including spouses and children, as reasons why they should not seek treatment. This can be valid at times. However, if you are in active addiction, think about what this is doing to your family and loved ones. If someone is constantly coming home intoxicated or high, think about what this looks like to a child or a spouse. Are you really being the best you can be for your family if you are active in addiction? Chances are family and loved ones WANT you to get the help you need so that you can be there for them. Family members can even get involved in treatment for further support. They would rather see you in treatment working on yourself than lose you to your addiction.

Taking the steps to seek treatment, for some people, can be the factor between life and death. Addiction can be a fatal disease that has already taken the lives of too many. Denial can be the toughest part in initiating that first step into treatment. On the outside looking in, it can be easy to identify the problem and understand when someone needs help. For the addict, it may not always be that simple. That is why it is important for family and friends, along with professionals, to be supports and help individuals work through their excuses and reasons not to seek help. There are no negatives to getting treatment for addiction. Don’t let denial or the barriers your addiction makes for you be the excuse for not seeking help.

Remember to Find Your Reason to seek treatment and turn someday into today.

Author: Lauren Tropiano, MA, LAC, NCC – Footprints to Recovery – Clinical Therapist

Stephanie Ballard, LPC, CADC

Currently attending The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's Business Psychology PhD Program with an emphasis in Consulting. Graduate of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's Masters of Arts in Clinical Counseling Program with an emphasis in Addiction.

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