Get help today 888-341-7785 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

7 Excuses We Use to Avoid Treatment

As humans, we’ve become experts at coming up with excuses. We make them to others. We make them to ourselves. We downplay. We rationalize. We refuse to see truth.

Excuses, Excuses

When it comes to getting help with addiction, we are really good at making excuses…although not very original. Truth be told, most of us make the same claims everyone else makes.

See if you recognize any of the following statements we commonly tell ourselves in order to avoid seeking professional rehab services.

“I’ve Got This Under Control.”

Maybe you’re holding down a job. You feel like you’re functioning. It’s not that bad, you think. This is what we tell ourselves when the surface hasn’t completely cracked open yet, revealing the turmoil beneath.

We most likely know on some level that we don’t really have it under control, but to admit that would be letting go of the control we’re trying to hold onto. We’re in control, we say. We don’t need some rehab facility to tell us we’re not.

“I Can’t Be Helped.”

This one can go a couple different directions. The first is denial that the program could possibly be any help. We think it’s stupid, or pointless, or ineffective. We see others relapse who have gone through rehab and tell ourselves the program is the problem.

The second mode of thinking is that we are beyond help. At this point, we have gotten past the denial and downplay of our issues and have reached despair. We believe there is no hope. No rehab facility can save me now. I’m too far gone. What’s the point?

“I Can Stop Whenever I Want To.”

This goes back to thinking we are in control, when in reality the addiction is. We try to convince ourselves that at any moment, we could put down the glass and never pick it up again, or flush the rest of the drugs and never crave again. If it were really that easy, we wouldn’t feel the need to tell ourselves (or others) we could stop if we wanted to.

“I Can’t Afford It.”

Some treatment programs are pricey. This provides a seemingly reasonable excuse not to go. We simply don’t have the money.

It’s true we may not be able to afford every program out there. But, with tons of options available – including outpatient treatment and nonprofit agencies – we can find one that works with our budget, meager as it may be.

“I Have to Use in Order to Be Social.”

feel awkward in social situations is an excuse to avoid treatmentWe feel awkward in social situations. We’re stiff, tongue-tied, or anxious. We rely on a little (or big) buzz to loosen us up and help us have a good time.

At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

If we truly take in the big picture, we would see patterns of addiction forming that actually isolate us more than make us social. We would also see that our behavior when we’re under the influence isn’t always that socially attractive anyway.

“I’m Better Off Than Him!”

It seems we can always point a finger at someone worse off than ourselves. He lost his job due to alcoholism. She got divorced due to drug use. His addiction makes him completely unreliable. She got in a wreck driving drunk. He’s living on the street due to his habit.

We convince ourselves we don’t need help because we haven’t reached the same low point or suffered the same consequences someone else has. They must be the one with the problem. Look what happened to them!

We don’t want to admit this truth: If we don’t get help, we will be in the same situations.

“I’m Not Hurting Anyone.”

It’s my choice. My life. My health. My time. My consequences to deal with. Who is anyone else to tell me what I can and can’t do? I don’t need treatment. People need to understand I have the right to do what I want. It only affects me anyway.

Do we really believe these lies as we repeat them over and over in our own heads? Do we really not see the pain in our loved ones’ eyes as we destroy ourselves, our relationships and our lives? Do we really not recognize how much it affects those around us? Our children? Our spouses? Our parents? Our co-workers? Our friends?

Who are We Really Fooling?

What’s so important to realize is that all of these excuses are lies. When we’re addicted, we are hurting – ourselves and our loved ones. And somewhere deep down, hidden and tangled in the painful emotions we’ve tried so hard to drown with drugs or alcohol, we know we’re lying to ourselves.

There is hope and none of us are doomed to be dependent on drugs or alcohol for the rest of our lives. There is help – and we do need it. We have to stop repeating these false assurances and face the truth. And when we do, we’re able to accept the help we’ve desperately tried to deny but so desperately need.
Additional Reading: A Walk in My Shoes: One Day in the Life of an Addict

Image Source: iStock

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.