When a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it can be difficult to watch drugs or alcohol tear apart their lives. It can be even more frustrating if your loved one relies on common excuses to avoid seeking treatment. Understanding the reasons that people don’t get addiction treatment will help you better address your loved one’s excuses so they receive the help that they need.
#1: “I can stop at any time”
Denial is a common problem for individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol. This misguided belief “I can stop at any time” is the most common denial excuse. When individuals believe they can stop at any time, they don’t recognize the destructive impact that substance abuse is having on their lives. Worse, there is no urgency to quit. Oftentimes an intervention is necessary to help a loved one stop denying their addiction and recognize that they cannot simply “stop at any time.”
#2: “I don’t have a problem.”
This is another version of the common denial excuse. Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol may not see this behavior as a problem. They may be blind to the ways that their substance abuse is impacting friends and family, hurting their relationships, damaging their careers, and seriously putting their health at risk. Talk to your loved one about specific ways that their substance abuse has hurt you and is hurting others. Doing so helps them recognize the severity of their problem.
#3: “I can’t take time off from work.”
Using work and professional commitments as excuses for avoiding addiction treatment is common. Some individuals may feel that taking a leave of absence is tantamount to career suicide; they worry about being labeled an “addict” by their colleagues and fear being fired for taking extended time off. In reality, taking time away from the office to seek professional care can actually make individuals better employees” and even save them from losing their jobs.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that protects individuals who struggle with substance abuse from being fired should they seek substance abuse treatment. While an employer can fire someone who is currently using drugs (and not in treatment), once the individual seeks treatment and is actively in recovery, they cannot be fired.
#4: “Treatment is too expensive.”
Yes, some treatment centers can be costly, especially luxury addiction treatment facilities frequented by movie stars, entertainers and celebrities. However, not all treatment centers are expensive, and paying more money for treatment does not mean you will be getting better care or are less likely to relapse. Some treatment centers accept health insurance, which may cover all or part of the cost for inpatient care.
Additionally, if your loved one has short-term disability insurance, they may also be able to receive pay under this insurance for the time that you are away from work and in treatment. It is always possible to find an affordable and effective treatment option.
#5: “I don’t know how to find a treatment center”
Finding the right treatment center and coordinating logistics such as health insurance and payment can be overwhelming. You can help your loved one by offering one or two treatment options and allowing your loved one to choose. Depending on your loved one’s treatment needs, a local, outpatient program may be a good start. Even attending AA or NA meetings is an important first step. Offer to drive your loved one to a meeting and be there to take him or her back home.