It is very rare that a person struggling with addiction will enter rehab as soon as they recognise that they have a problem. Addiction is so much more than an inability to regulate your use of a substance, it affects your brain to the point where the very idea of giving up the thing that you are addicted to seems impossible. Not only that, but chances are you won’t want to give it up, if you don’t feel like it is a problem you can’t deal with.
It is often the friends and family of an addict who will push for them to enter an addiction treatment programme, long before they have admitted that they have a problem. For the most part, people enter rehab facilities angry, frightened, and under pressure from loved ones.
If you are struggling with an addiction, or have a loved one who you fear is suffering from an addiction, here are some of the most common excuses that an addict will use to avoid getting treatment.
“But everyone does it”
This is obviously more likely with things like alcoholism than a heroin addiction, but thanks to the people that addicts tend to surround themselves with, is still one of the most common excuses. For most people, alcohol and drugs are part of their lives in some way.
According to the 2016 Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, almost 60% of people in the UK over the age of 16 admitted to drinking alcohol, which equates to 29 million people. For alcoholics, the fact that their friends and family drink alcohol, and drinking is often a big part of social occasions, helps them to see themselves as part of the crowd. What they fail to understand (or deliberately ignore), is that the majority of people around them don’t have these addictive tendencies that make their drinking problematic.
“I can stop whenever I want”
This is a very common excuse among addicts, who are often genuinely able to convince themselves that they could stop drinking or taking drugs if they wanted to, they just don’t want to. Often this theory is never tested because the addict uses it to stop themselves ever having to try.
“Other people are much worse than me”
As mentioned in the first point, many addicts will surround themselves with people who exhibit similar behaviours, meaning that they can often justify their problem by pointing out a friend or loved one who seems to have worse issues than them.
This is an easy excuse if you don’t look too closely at it, but the fact is that an addict is an addict however much or little they are abusing their substance of choice. Their partner may well match them beer for beer, but if their partner can take it or leave it, whilst the addict craves it and can’t go without it, then only one of them truly has a problem.
Even if the other person is also an addict, and has a more serious problem, this does not mean that the addict in question doesn’t have a problem and doesn’t require treatment.
“I’m still doing X so I don’t have a problem”
Many people will justify their addiction with the fact that they are still holding down a job or staying on top of their various responsibilities. But this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem either. There are a great number of functioning alcoholics and drug addicts that are successful, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t have an addiction, and it doesn’t mean that the problem will not continue to grow until they are eventually unable to hold down these responsibilities.
If you have missed one day of work because of a hangover or missed one special event because of being too drunk or high, then there is a problem, and it will most likely get worse.
How can you convince a loved one to go to rehab?
It can be tempting to get angry with an addict and try to enforce rehab, but this will never work. A person will always push back against this approach, and become more and more frustrated with you. In the end they could just decide to cut you off and then you wouldn’t be able to help them at all. When dealing with a loved one with addiction it is important to:
- Avoid criticism
- Demonstrate concern
- Open a dialogue with your loved one so that they feel free to talk openly about the problem
- Ask questions but don’t demand answers
- Suggest rather than order
Trying to deal with a loved one’s addiction on your own is not just difficult, it can be totally draining and damaging to your own mental health. If you want to get your loved one into treatment then it is useful to get as many people on your side as possible, so that they can work with you and your loved one to help them into detox and rehab.
- Look into local groups. There are groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous which provide free meetings, resources and support for those with addictions and their loved ones. You can attend on your own to get support, or you can get your loved one to go with you as a first step towards getting help.
- Speak to other friends and family members. If you have noticed your loved one’s spiral into addiction then it is likely you are not the only one. Try to speak to only the closest friends and family members at first, as otherwise it can seem like the addict is being ‘ganged up on’ and this could alienate them further. You can then speak with the addict separately or as a group to talk through the situation.
- Consider an intervention. If you feel as though the situation has gone far enough and you need immediate action then you can consider an intervention. Speak with a professional rehabilitation centre to get help planning an intervention, and arrange a place in residential rehab if the intervention goes well.
Ocean Recovery Centre is a luxurious, professional rehab centre which offers a range of services to help addicts. Rehabilitation involves professionally-monitored detox, group and individual therapy sessions and even a dedicated recovery and aftercare programme to help addicts to get back to their normal lives afterwards.
You can call Ocean Recovery Centre on 01253 847 553, or text HELP to 83222 to find out more.