Denial is an extremely common characteristic of addiction. Whether your drug of choice is alcohol, a street drug, a prescription drug or a behavior such as sex or gambling, you probably know deep down that addiction is bigger than you are. But you may try to deny it.
Friends and family may urge you to get help and may even issue ultimatums. Some will try to force you to choose between your drug of choice and them. Or it may be that you have a gnawing feeling inside that your life is unraveling. You may be experiencing frequent shame and embarrassment, or problems in other areas of your life may be increasing. But you keep trying to pretend your problem isn’t that bad or that it’s going to go away.
Why Addicts Refuse Help
You know you should stop chasing after your drug of choice, but you may or may not be aware that you can’t. You think you should probably get help, but you refuse. It may be that you genuinely don’t think you have that big of a problem, or you may have a number of excuses as to why you can’t go to a treatment facility. You may feel that it’s too expensive, or you may feel that you can’t afford to take time away from your work or family responsibilities. You may be convinced that you will be brainwashed or that life will never be fun or interesting again if you stop drinking or using mind-altering substances.
But refusing treatment comes at a cost. Addiction is a deadly disease that typically progresses. The progression could be rapid or it could be slow, but ultimately there is a high price tag for refusing to address a problem with addiction. It isn’t likely that your addiction will go away without help, and eventually there will be consequences. You may have more to lose than you think.
Common Consequences of Untreated Addiction
You may believe that you aren’t hurting anyone but yourself. You may even believe that you are having fun or simply relieving stress. But addiction takes a toll in many areas of life, and as you continue to progress, the consequences that you haven’t experienced may still be in your future.
Your family members may reach a breaking point and walk out of your life. Many marriages and relationships are destroyed because of addiction. If you have children, you are setting an example for them of reaching for alcohol or drugs when you are experiencing stress, and many children of addicts become addicts themselves.
Addiction may cause enormous financial difficulties, and you may need to continually use more alcohol and drugs than you used to in order to obtain the same effect. This is known as tolerance, and as this occurs, the financial strain may increase. Addiction may affect your work performance or even your willingness to show up to work, and if you haven’t lost your job yet, there’s a good chance you eventually will.
Have you experienced legal problems? If not, that doesn’t mean you never will. You may be arrested for driving under the influence or for violent or reckless behaviors that you would never do if you were sober. Legal problems can cost you not only financial losses, but also your reputation, and they can possibly cause a severe impact to your family.
Your health may be severely damaged by alcoholism or addiction. Continuing to use and abuse substances can cause or worsen health problems, and may ultimately be fatal.
There is no cost to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. By attending open meetings of AA or NA, you can learn a great deal about the recovery process and what is involved. You can see that it is possible to recover.
If you think you can’t afford treatment for your addiction, consider that the cost of not getting treated may be much higher. If you have financial concerns, talk to your doctor or minister about your options. Don’t wait until addiction has progressed to the point where it has taken absolutely everything from you.