Breaking through Common Barriers to Treatment: Part 2

Man and woman talk about rehab.

In the second part of our series, we will explore more of the common reasons people give to try to get out of going to rehab. We have also provided some tips on how to break through these excuses, in order to help a loved one agree to get help for their addiction.

Rehab is for addicts and I can stop any time I want.

Yes, rehab is for people with addiction, but it is also for people who may not have a full-blown addiction but are still having difficulty with substance abuse and stopping on their own.

Most of the time when a person says “I can stop any time I want” they probably have a substance abuse problem or an addiction. Someone who does not have an addiction wouldn’t feel the need to defend themselves in this manner. People who say this are either in denial of how severe their problem is, lying to you to get you to leave them alone, or trying to convince themselves that they don’t have a problem.

I don’t want to be around a bunch of criminals.

This is a common excuse often used by alcoholics or older addicts to try and get out of going to rehab. Many alcoholics feel justified in their behavior because alcohol is legal and many other drugs are not.

People who use illicit drugs often catch criminal charges because the drugs they are using are illegal. The important thing to remember is that although an addiction treatment facility may have people in it who have a criminal history, it is not a jail or a prison. People in treatment are actively working on bettering themselves. If a loved one says this to you then remind them that you are not implying they are a criminal—you are just trying to help them.

If you guys would just love and support me I could do this on my own.

This is a common case of deflection. People will say this to try and put the blame for their addiction on someone else instead of taking responsibility for their actions. The fact of the matter is if a person were able to beat their addiction on their own, then they would do it. Having a loved one go into treatment does not mean that you are not loving and supportive—on the contrary, it is one of the most loving and supportive things a person can do to try and help someone. Let the person know that it is because you love them that you are asking them to get help.

It’s a waste of money.

The only way treatment would be a waste of money would be if the person going to treatment made a conscious effort to make it so.

When it comes to addiction, treatment is never a waste of money because it gives a person the opportunity to regain control of his or her life. Addiction is a serious condition that can often have deadly consequences. Therefore, doing what is needed in order to get sober is never a waste of money.

Letting the person know that you feel it is worth the cost if it helps them regain control of their lives allows them to see that, in your opinion, it is not a waste of money.

“Let them know that you are not going to give up on them,
so they shouldn’t give up on themselves either.”
Son convincing father to go to rehab.

It didn’t work last time so it’s not going to work this time.

Sometimes people need to go to treatment more than once in order to finally handle their addiction. There are also multiple approaches to addiction rehabilitation out there and because one form didn’t work, it doesn’t mean all forms of treatment won’t work.

Having options for addiction rehabilitation is a good thing because not everyone is going to benefit equally from the same forms of treatment. What works for one person may not work for another person. If a “traditional” form of treatment did not work in the past, then it would be a good idea to seek out an alternative solution which may be better suited for that particular person.

Let them know that you are not going to give up on them, so they shouldn’t give up on themselves either.

You guys are the ones who need to go to rehab, not me.

This is another classic case of deflection that someone will use to try and shift the blame or attention onto someone else.

Many times when a person is confronted about their addiction, they will initially try to get the focus off of themselves and onto someone else that drinks or uses. While, depending on the situation, it may be true that the other person does need or could benefit from rehab, it does not negate the fact that the person being confronted needs help.

If this happens then the best approach would be to acknowledge what the person is saying, let them know that their concerns will be considered, and return them to the topic at hand.

Sometimes people have the false belief that because addiction isn’t always an immediate threat to a person’s survival, it isn’t a serious enough condition to seek professional help.

While it may not be the same as having a heart attack or brain tumor, when left unchecked, addiction can still become life-threatening.

Taking into consideration the vast amounts of fentanyl circulating the streets, it is now more important than ever for addicts to seek out help and recovery.

Previous: Breaking through Common Barriers to Treatment: Part 1

Next: Breaking through Common Barriers to Treatment: Part 3



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.