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4 Excuses Addicts Have for Not Going to Rehab (And What You Can Say in Return)

One aspect of my job involves facilitating a detox group in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. During this weekly group, I meet with a group of patients who have basically just begun the treatment program and we all share about why we came to treatment, what our fears and concerns are, and what we plan to do after detox (i.e. go on to complete the inpatient residential phase of treatment, move in to a sober living house, stay in the area, or move back home). This is when I hear a lot of similar excuses that addicts use for not going to rehab after detox. Here are 4 excuses addicts have for not going to rehab (and what you can say in return).

#1. Their pet

This was one of my excuses, at first. A lot of people are very attached to their pet or pets and can’t bear the thought of being away from their beloved animals. They’ve probably grown even closer to their pets as their addiction worsened, since it’s a very lonely and isolating disease.

#2. Their job

Many people are afraid of taking too much time off from their job in order to seek treatment. A lot of people also fear losing their job while they’re in rehab. The thing is, there is actual federal legislation that protects us from losing our jobs in order to get help. We have job security, paid leave, and the reason for our taking leave is medical in nature and therefore is protected by confidentiality.

#3. Their family

People with children and/or a spouse back home will often use their family life as an excuse for not going to rehab. They need to realize that they are being the best parent and/or partner to their loved ones while they are struggling with substance abuse. Rehab is the best way to get the space, perspective, and life-saving tools so that they can return home and be there 100% for their family members.

#4. Their choice/happiness

This is pure denial. Many of us in our active addiction can’t really imagine life without substances and so we think we’re making a choice and that we’re happy when we’re drinking or using when, in fact, we’re simply maintaining – just keeping our heads above water. In fact, many of us are completely miserable and without hope. Addiction is a disease of perception. As addicts and alcoholics, our perceptions are often skewed and, when you add substances to the mix, it’s impossible to decipher reality.

These are 4 excuses addicts have for not going to rehab and what you can say in return is this:

  • Addiction is a disease of perception – you cannot think your way out of it because you simply can’t see what’s up and what’s down.
  • You can’t be the best parent/spouse/daughter/son/sibling/friend while you’re using; it’s impossible to be your authentic self when you’re using substances that cloud your vision and negatively impact your personality.
  • As far as your pet, job, family, or any other “reason” (read: excuse) you have for not going to rehab, those will be the first things you’ll lose if you don’t put recovery first. I’ve seen it over and over again with people I’ve known from treatment and meetings as well as from that group I facilitate. Those lucky enough to come back are often the ones who stated previously that they couldn’t go to rehab for these various reasons. It’s those same patients I see back in my detox group that humbly share that what I said would happen is exactly what happened.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction and is seeking treatment and rehabilitation, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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