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 are tired of struggling with addiction and want to get your life back on track, but you 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.
Let’s look at seven reasons your family and friends could be holding you back from seeking help.
1. Cultural/Religious Beliefs
It can simply boil 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, rather 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 handle or 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
Along with cultural perspectives on potential threats posed by federally-funded or state institutions, some families simply 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 be able to finance the treatment you require. To find out your options, browse our directory of treatment centers or call 800-891-8171 to speak to a treatment specialist.
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,and as part of 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 often fear the time away, assuming the friendship or relationship will change, be replaced or come to an abrupt 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
As far as personal responsibility is concerned, it’s not just family members who think they’ll be exposed as “the one to blame” for your addiction. Friends often wonder if they’re the reason, reflecting on times they pressured you to use or used with you. Moreover, they may also fear being indicted as one in need of recovery as well.
Both family members and friends may feel threatened by the rehab option, simply because the possibility of you seeking treatment and getting sober may require them to do some self-reflection and sobering up as well. Though your recovery has nothing to do with their personal choices, their defense mechanisms may quickly go up at the thought of you seeking recovery and sobriety simply because they fear any personal indictment they may feel or experience.
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 helping professionals themselves and find that because they are too close to you, they are following protocol.
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. It is, after all, your life, and you are the one who is living with the darkness of addiction and the consequences of the behaviors that align with being active in it. Make the decision for yourself, and love yourself enough to choose to do whatever it takes to heal yourself and ensure your well-being.