5 Common Excuses Used to Avoid Treatment for Addiction

Whether you are concerned about your own relationship with drugs or alcohol, or the substance use of a loved one, talking seriously about treatment can be difficult and tense.  You may be making excuses to yourself, or have a loved one who is constantly coming up with new reasons why professional treatment is a bad idea. Most of these common excuses lack substance.  Looking at the underlying issues behind a resistance to treatment can help establish reality and make room for change.

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Here are 5 Excuses Used to Avoid Treatment for Addiction

1. “I Don’t Have a Problem”

Getting past the realization that a problem exists is often the biggest obstacle in the way of recovery.  If you are questioning your relationship with substances, feel that drug and alcohol use is having negative consequences in your life, or find yourself unable to quit on your own, you almost certainly have a problem.  Addiction looks different for everyone, and many people avoid treatment because they do not believe themselves to fit the description of what they imagine as an addict. If you are suggesting treatment to a resistant loved one, try reminding them of the aspects of their personality and behavior that have changed since they began abusing substances.  This can help them to see the damaging effects their drug or alcohol use is having, despite their belief that they are still in control.

2. “It’s Too Expensive”

Many people put off treatment for addiction because they falsely believe it to be a luxury reserved for celebrities and the super-rich.  Treatment programs can be costly, but many are partially or fully covered under common health care plans. Instead of immediately writing off treatment as unattainable, try taking the time to investigate financing options.  If your loved one insists that they don’t have any additional money to spend on their recovery, try pointing out the money they are spending to feed their addiction. Many people who abuse substances are not aware of how much they regularly spend on drugs and alcohol.  Treatment for addiction is an investment now that will pay off exponentially in the future, both financially and personally.

3. “I’m Afraid of Withdrawal”

For those with severe addictions to drugs or alcohol, a common and natural concern is the fear of withdrawal upon entering treatment.  While it is true that withdrawal can cause many unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms, a professional treatment program is best equipped to ease them through this initial stage of recovery.  There are several ways that withdrawal symptoms are managed during treatment, including medically assisted detox when necessary. Some individuals with substance use disorders are supervised during detox to avoid potentially dangerous physical reactions.  This process is best completed under the supervision of an addiction professional, rather than on a whim the next time you or your loved one decide to quit. You may want to remind a loved one who is afraid of detox that they will eventually encounter a time when they don’t have access to their drug of choice, and they will be forced to endure painful withdrawal symptoms without medical or psychological assistance.  Intentionally choosing when and where to manage withdrawal with the help of professionals is a much better option.  

4. “I’m Embarrassed”

There is so much shame associated with substance abuse and addiction in our culture, and most of it exists as a result of misinformation.  Unfortunately, we still have a good deal of progress to make as a society when it comes to understanding addiction, and until then we are forced to deal with much of the stigma that surrounds treatment.  If you or your loved one are afraid of entering a recovery program because it feels embarrassing, think of the alternative. Addiction always progresses over time without intervention, and eventually, even high-functioning individuals with substance use disorders will be put in situations where their addictions will be on display.  Addiction treatment centers are highly confidential and take every step possible to ensure your privacy. You may choose to share your journey with others later, but for now, there are very few people who absolutely must know about your treatment.  

5. “It Won’t Work”

For the individual struggling with addiction that has tried to quit many times without much success, entering treatment might feel like a lost cause.  Depression and anxiety, which both commonly occur alongside substance abuse, can add to a general sense of hopelessness when facing treatment. Even if you or your loved one have been through addiction treatment in the past without achieving lasting recovery, there is no reason to give up entirely.  There may be an important lesson to be learned from the last relapse, or perhaps the last treatment center was not a good fit. Seek out a holistic treatment center that offers a variety of techniques and strategies for finding and maintaining sobriety, and never give up hope that recovery is possible.   

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, a quality treatment program can provide you with strategies for maintaining long-term sobriety.  At Renewal Lodge by Burning Tree, you will find a team of compassionate, knowledgeable professionals ready to coach each client through the 12-steps and beyond.  By structuring treatment to fit individual needs, including the identification of co-occurring disorders, Burning Tree facilitates an environment of healing and holistic wellness.  Here, our clients tackle their addictions head-on and harness the power to restructure their lives through high accountability and life skills that foster lasting sobriety. We specialize in treatment for the chronic relapser and believe that with the right tools, you can put an end to the cycle of addiction.

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Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness
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