Drug addiction is a very complex problem that affects every aspect of an individual’s life. Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about drug addiction is that while it is painfully obvious to family members, friends and sometimes even strangers that a drug addict desperately needs help, the individual himself often refuses to get the help he needs. One could say that this occurs because the individual must want to be addicted, but the truth is often far more complex. In many cases, the addicted individual recognizes the damaging effects of drug use and actually desperately wishes to be free from drugs, but he simply cannot make it so on his own. Rather than admitting to this and allowing for the guilt and shame that normally comes with their inability to resolve this problem, the individual will often make up excuses in order to avoid getting help.
What An Addicted Person Says
Following are five of the most common things an addicted person says in order to avoid getting help for their problem:
1. I can stop whenever I want. Where an individual once may have chosen when and how much to use drug substances, drug addiction actually takes over control of their life. They usually feel that these substances are actually necessary for them to function normally, and while it is cravings and threat of withdrawals that drive them to continue consuming drugs, they may honestly feel that their drug consumption is by their choice alone, and therefore can stop by their choice. Unfortunately, the truth is that a drug addict cannot stop himself from continuing to compulsively obtain and use drug substances. In some cases, family members and friends–or even the addict himself–feels that at some point he will finally recognize how damaging drug use actually is and he will do something about it. However, waiting to “hit rock bottom” so that they will finally get the help they need is a very dangerous game.
2. If everyone would leave me alone and mind their own business, I’d be fine. It is not unusual for a drug addict to convince himself that they don’t have a problem–everyone else does. If they are functioning “well” in their life, they honestly believe that drug use cannot possibly be hurting them, and it’s just everyone else’s constant harping on the problem that is creating a situation.
3. It’s my life, so I can do as I please. It may be true that an individual’s life is their own to do with as they please, and they should not necessarily be chastised for messing it up. The problem with this statement, however, is that it completely ignores the fact that drug addiction affects far more than just the individual himself. It affects his family members, friends, co-workers, community and indeed society as a whole. This statement is therefore just another method of avoidance that allows the individual to continue their destructive drug use without being reminded of how it is affecting himself and others around him.
4. The detoxification process is worse than staying on drugs. There is simply no arguing the fact that the withdrawal and detoxification process, especially from certain drugs like opioids and alcohol, can be a very difficult and uncomfortable process. Physical symptoms can last for days or even weeks, and the individual can truly feel so incredibly uncomfortable that they desire to take more drugs just to experience some relief. However, this does not mean that detoxification is worse than staying on drugs. Not only can an individual receive professional help in order to smooth out the detoxification process, but this process leads to sobriety and a happy, healthier future. Further drug use only leads to continued destruction and possibly even a considerably shortened lifespan.
5. Admitting I need treatment means I’m weak. It is an unfortunate social stigma that drug rehab equals a weak character. This probably stems from widespread misunderstandings about drugs and drug addiction, wherein individuals think that a failure to resolve drug addiction is an indication of poor willpower. The truth is that drug addiction is far more difficult to address and handle than most people realize because it requires that the individual thoroughly resolve every single physical, mental and emotional cause and effect of drug use. Getting help to work through this process does not indicate that an individual is weak–it indicates that the individual has recognized they have a problem and they want to resolve it.
Regardless of what an addicted person may say in order to avoid getting the help they need, it is up to family members and friends to support and encourage them to step onto the path to recovery. Professional interventionists can assist family members in confronting a drug addicted loved one about their problems in order to outline the effects of their drug use and what is expected of them moving forward. The intention is not to attack or shame the individual, but rather point out that their drug use is unacceptable and harmful, and that help is available. It can be very difficult, especially since a drug addict is not above insulting or attacking those who seek to help them, and calm persistence is a powerful ally. Above all, one should never assume that a drug addict is beyond help or only able to receive help when they finally hit rock bottom, and should instead try their hardest to assist this individual in taking their life back.