woman staring in other direction

7 Reasons Why Some Family and Friends Don't Want You to Go to Rehab


Sober Recovery Expert Author

woman staring in other direction

When you’re active in an addiction, everyone close to you may be trying everything to get you help. Or, if they’re like some, they don’t want you to seek help at all.

You want to get your life back on track, but can’t seem to get your family and friends behind you. It’s hard to wrap your mind around why a loved one wouldn’t want you to go to rehab, yet the reality of this experience is quite common.

Regardless of the reasoning friends and family members have for not wanting you to seek treatment for addiction, the choice is truly yours to make.

Let’s look at seven reasons your family and friends could be holding you back from seeking help.

1. Cultural/Religious Beliefs

It sometimes boils down to cultural beliefs. Different cultures have varying opinions on outsiders interfering with what would certainly be considered a family affair. And, with regard to the idea of inpatient addiction treatment – especially that which requires family therapy groups or other forms of family participation – some cultures simply see this as unnecessary or even harmful or threatening to the individual and the family.

Other cultures may not see excessive use of certain substances like alcohol or marijuana and other hallucinogens as addiction. Instead, they are an integral part of daily customs and/or ceremonies.

You can then add another layer when religion folds into culture. Some religions see addiction as a moral dilemma and feel that church is the best place to treat addiction. Some even see it as a form of demonic possession and believe an exorcist would be more appropriate than an addiction specialist.

Other spiritual (non-religious specific) individuals may feel that some form of energy work – Reiki, crystal healing, chakra clearing, and more – is called for and that anything more invasive – with regard to body, mind or spirit – might do more harm than good. If the condition isn't dire, this may sound like an acceptable step. Ridding oneself of addiction, however, may have actual medical consequences that need attention. Read about why some need to draw the line on alternative medicine.

2. Family Shame

Some families fear the stigma or shame attached to the experience of having a family member in treatment for addiction. In this way, they also see residential treatment or rehab of any kind as a threat to the family.

3. Financial Concerns

Depending on what type of rehabilitation you opt for, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes, a great deal of this may come out-of-pocket. For families who think they can’t afford the cost of addiction treatment, therapy is not an option they feel they can entertain. Yet the truth is, there are low-cost facilities and programs available, as well as ways to finance the treatment needed.

4. Codependency

All the reasons we’ve covered so far can be used as excuses or manipulations to perpetuate the cycle of codependency with you. Though codependent relationships often involve friends or family members nagging and threatening you to get help, the idea of you actually leaving to access treatment or seeking therapy can be quite overwhelming. Some may struggle with thoughts of losing you, being exposed as the cause of your addiction or having zero control over you and your situation. It’s at this point these friends or family members typically sabotage – either consciously or subconsciously – the attempts to seek help.

5. Separation Anxiety

Along with codependency, some family members and friends fear the time away from the individual more than the addiction itself. Having little to no contact for 28 days or more (depending on the type of treatment and facility sought) is too much to bear.

Friends or romantic partners usually fear time away, assuming the friendship or relationship will change, be replaced or possibly end. The thought of not being able to see each other and continue to nurture the relationship – regardless of the status or nature of nurturing – often leaves friends and romantic partners guarded about the rehab option.

For parents of adolescents or young adults who are struggling with an addiction, this is especially true. Being apart from their son or daughter, especially through what they sometimes perceive to be an unnecessarily painful ordeal, is emotionally and mentally anguishing. Whether the reasoning is control issues, over-parenting (anxious parenting) or fear that they will be to blame, the inability to be present, informed and in charge, is often the deterrent.

6. Fear of Indictment

Family and friends may feel threatened by rehab, thinking they’ll be exposed as “the one to blame” for your addiction. Family members may feel like they enabled your destructive behavior. Friends often wonder if they’re the reason, reflecting on times they pressured you to use or used with you. Furthermore, they fear being indicted as one in need of recovery as well.

Your recovery has nothing to do with the personal choices of others. However, their defense mechanisms may quickly go up at the thought of needing to sober up.

7. Control Issues

Some friends and family members have control issues and simply want to tackle your problem themselves. They may feel as though they have a better handle on the situation than any other helping professional. Sadly, some of these friends and family members may be professionals themselves and feel that because they are too close to you, they are following protocol.

Regardless of the reasons for not wanting you to seek treatment for addiction, the choice is truly yours to make. After all, it is your life. You are the one who is living with the darkness of addiction and the consequences of that destructive behavior. Make the decision yourself, and love yourself enough to do whatever it takes to heal yourself and ensure your well-being.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-891-8171 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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