Today, addiction affects some 23.5 million Americans who are held captive by their dependence on drugs, alcohol, and prescription pills. These numbers coincide with our increasingly stressful and busy lives, as more and more Americans turn to substances for relief from stress, poverty, home life, and even boredom. Despite our increasing reliance on substances, abuse remains stigmatized to the point where most of us are afraid to even talk about it, let alone seek out treatment. Addiction overcomes the sense of self, so that an addict isn’t really in control. As a result, any of us who are addicted to anything will find ourselves making excuses, avoiding professional treatment, and often failing to even admit that we have a problem. This problem of avoidance is characterized in the fact that only 11% of the nation’s addicts ever seek out professional help. If you or a loved one is making any of these excuses, don’t let them be a barrier to getting help. 1. I Don’t Have a Problem – Addicts habitually lie to others and to themselves about their addiction. This is in part born from the social stigma surrounding addiction, because many people feel as though there is a deep sense of shame in being addicted. Others are unwilling to admit that they are addicted, because that requires admitting to helplessness and powerlessness. In many cases, women lean towards the first excuse, because many women build up their ego and sense of self around their addiction in order to hide it. Men struggle to admit to addiction, even to themselves, because they use addiction to build their ego up. Unfortunately, it is necessary to admit to having a problem in order to get help. Being a victim is nothing to be ashamed of, and taking the steps to improve is the bravest thing anyone can do. If you or a loved one is taking a substance regularly outside of a prescription, takes a prescription when it can impair performance, take a substance in lieu of doing something for a loved one, reguarly take a substance for recreational purposes, or take more of a substance than prescribed on a normal basis, that is a problem. 2. I Can Quit Anytime I Want – Almost all addicts will engage in self deception to the point of believing they can quit any time they want. While this type of excuse is sometimes born from narcissistic rage which is used to avoid a feeling of helplessness, many addicts actually believe this. The thing is, the people who can quit actually do, they don’t keep telling themselves they can. Many addicts find themselves saying “this is the last time” over and over again as a habitual avoidance of the fact that they can’t actually quit. Addicts are naturally driven to avoidance by social stigma, guilt, and eventually physical dependence. 3. I Can Do It On My Own – Most of the time it’s easy to think that getting rid of an addiction is as easy as walking away and never looking back. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple. Many substances actually necessitate professional help in order to withdraw safely. Substances like benzodiazepines and alcohol can actually cause life threatening seizures and arrhythmia and you need medical assistance to get through them safely. Many people also use variations of this excuse, such as “I’ll stop when X happens”, because they associate something changing with an improved life, less stress, or a reduced need for their substance. Unfortunately, waiting on a lifestyle change to improve your life only makes life more difficult. 4. I Don’t Have Time – Most of us are unwilling to take time off of work, unwilling to admit to an addiction, and are often busy, which means we don’t have time to seek out inpatient or outpatient care. However, personal health should always be a priority. FMLA Leave allows you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work for family or medical reasons that affect your ability to work, and those 12 weeks are job protected. This means that you can take the time off and attend a treatment facility and then return to work without affecting your job. 5. I Can’t Afford Treatment – Treatment is expensive and it is understandable that many people don’t have the money upfront. However, many insurance companies will pay for or help to pay for treatment. There are also many programs designed to help people get funds for treatment or help with treatment, although these vary depending on the location. 6. Treatment Doesn’t Work – Almost any addict can think of one or more people they know who attended rehab or were in prison, got out and went right back to abusing substances. Unfortunately, it is true that 1 in 4 addicts will relapse and 71% will use shortly after exiting rehab only to use their treatment to remain abstinent later. However, most of these people were forced to get clean and didn’t make the decision for themselves, stopped attending group therapy, and didn’t really want to get clean. If you are going to stop an addiction you have to want it, you have to be prepared to change your life, and you have to be willing to commit. No amount of family members or friends guilting someone into attending a 28 day inpatient treatment facility will replace the simple desire to get your life back. 7. Everyone Will Know I’m an Addict – Perceived guilt and shame can play a large part in avoiding treatment, and this is important to consider and take seriously. However, treatment facilities are legally required to keep your information confidential, no one needs to know if someone is going into a facility. For those who cannot commit to inpatient care, outpatient treatment is also an option. Getting treatment is the first step to improving life, getting rid of a substance dependence, and moving on. Professional help includes the medical attention to ensure that detox goes smoothly, therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy to address the underlying issues behind the addiction, and long-term group support. Getting treatment is a choice, but it is an essential step to going substance free. The Oceanfront Recovery Addiction Treatment Program can help you or your loved one through the process of recovery from addiction. Our clinicians focus on bringing the underlying causes of addiction to the surface with a modern and effective recovery program in a closed setting. Contact Oceanfront Recovery today for a confidential assessment, and begin the journey of recovery today.