Waiting until after the holidays to get help with a drug or alcohol addiction? We’ve heard all of the excuses.
The holidays have always pulled at my heartstrings. I think that’s because it’s easier to identify the pain in the world this time of year. The Salvation Army has the Red Kettle bell ringers to generate money for those in need, the U.S. Marine Corps collects Toys for Tots for underprivileged kids, Second Harvest Food Bank hosts Food and Funds drives to feed the homeless. At the holidays, I notice more of the needs of our community – and I make every effort to take action, the right action. Well, most of the time.
Even though there are struggles 365 days per year in our communities – Christmas is the time they become more visible. I try to get involved – I’ve made some donations, volunteered at my church etc., but sometimes, I just make excuses not to help. I’m trying to pay off my student loans. I just got back from front row football tickets (an early Christmas gift to my boyfriend and me!) to see the Steelers beat the Falcons. I’m busy. I have commitments. I’m tight on cash. Plus, it’s that time of year I go back home and spend time with my family – I need to be there and make my famous chocolate-dipped cranberry cookies. There’s just this long list of reason that I can’t stop and help this year. I’ll do it in the new year. I’ll take care of things then.
But I don’t do it then because I just spent all of this money on travel, gifts and expenses. Then I have new reasons not to do some of things I need to do to help my community.
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I see the same similarities with a person struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Their pains are 365 days per year. And because it’s the holiday season and they or their families are crunched financially, stressed with family expectations and busy with commitments – they make excuses to avoid their problems. We tell ourselves we’ll talk to our loved one after Christmas. We will talk to an interventionist in January. We don’t want to ruin Christmas, do we?
But here’s something to think about. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, everything is already ruined. Because they aren’t there for you. They aren’t there at all.
That’s why we put together the top three types of excuses our treatment specialists hear from people who call us around the holidays.
At the holidays, these excuses tend to escalate. Whether they’re excuses you’ve made for yourself or excuses you’ve made for a loved one, it’s time to take a good, hard look at them and see why they just don’t hold water.
Excuses that aim to pull on the heart strings:
People who are addicted to prescription pills, illegal drugs or alcohol often make excuses that are designed to generate sympathy. They’ll take something completely out of left field and attach it to something that is logical.
“I can’t go to addiction treatment at the holidays because my child is out of school and doesn’t have any childcare.”
“I can’t go to addiction treatment at the holidays because I’m supposed to host Christmas dinner. It’s a family tradition.”
“I can’t go to addiction treatment at the holidays because I can’t ask my family for money at Christmas because they’re spending so much money on gifts.”
If you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, chances are you’re not providing the child care that your child actually needs. If you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, you’re still going to be using whether or not your family meets at your house or someone else’s. If you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, you need to get help no matter what time of year it is.
Excuses that hold false promises:
“I’ll go to addiction treatment when this bottle of Oxycodone is gone. I just need to get rid of it all before I go.”
“I’ll give myself one last chance before I go to addiction treatment.”
“I’ll get one more paycheck before I go to addiction treatment.”
Remember, these are just excuses. In reality, someone who is addicted is already looking for their next supply of drugs or alcohol before they run out. They’ll always need one more pill, one more drink, one more paycheck before they’re ready. The time will never come and the promise will never be fulfilled.
Did you know? Financially, the holidays can be the best time for addiction treatment because time away from work is easier to plan. With Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day often being holidays for most businesses, it’s less time away from the office.
As far as affording treatment, the end of the year is the best time for treatment with your insurance. You’ve had insurance claims throughout the year – even if you haven’t met your deductible or your max out-of-pocket, you’re closer now than when it renews at the beginning of the year. Also, many companies have a fourth quarter carry-overs, where all out-of-pocket payments will be applied to your deductible in January. Getting treatment now will likely be less expensive for you and your family than if you wait until the new year.
Excuses of shame and guilt:
Excuses of shame and guilt aren’t just heard from addicts, but also from family members. Because expectations are so high this time of year, it’s easier to sweep problems under the rug while we aim to please and uphold traditions for Christmas Day.
“If I can get through this one day, I’ll be fine.”
“I can’t send my son or daughter to rehab at Christmas because it will ruin our family’s holiday.”
“I can’t go to addiction treatment now because my family will have to reschedule Christmas.”
“I can’t go to addiction treatment now because there’s too much financial stress on my family at Christmas.”
Addiction treatment isn’t about this one day of the year. There’s no reason to put so much pressure on your loved one or a family to have a perfect Christmas before dealing with the problem. In reality, Christmas is really no different than any other day. Dinner and gift-giving can be rescheduled and would probably be more enjoyable with a sober family member.
If you’ve seen previous family gathering and holidays ruined by drugs or alcohol, the shift towards recovery this time of year can reset family feelings. Instead of having the season be a time to dread, transform it into a time of change and renewal. Addiction treatment will change the way your family sees the holidays.
Drug and alcohol addiction is like any other medical emergency or crisis. There is no absolutely no reason to wait. If your loved one was in a car wreck on the way home from work today, would you expect them to “keep it together” through the holidays and wait to get their broken leg in a cast in January? Would you “hold out” until after Christmas to start taking insulin for diabetes?
Take the opportunity. Get help. Don’t wait. Reschedule Christmas – because If you do, it might just be the last time you have to see the pains of addiction at the holidays.
To get help now, call (615) 208-2941.