Jennifer Maneely

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Why it's so hard for addicts/alcoholics to get the help they need.

There are several reasons why someone doesn't want to seek help. It's never just one reason. I know for me, it was a true struggle to make that leap from using everyday to completely changing my life. Even thinking about it now, over a decade later, I find myself getting overwhelmed by the idea.


Here are a few common reasons why people, including myself, find it so difficult.


1. Afraid of the detox.


This is one of the more commonly said reasons. Notice my language, it's a commonly SAID reason, but it's often so much more than the physical withdraws people are scared of. If that was the biggest reason or the only reason, well, we have solutions to that problem now, so there is more to it than just being sick. Sorry, but afraid of being sick is no longer a valid excuse.


2. They don't think they have a problem.


It's hard to believe that someone who is creating so much destruction in their life could be in such denial. This is not a valid excuse either but I will attest to the fact that when someone is in a drug haze, it's hard to see reality.


I know for me, I was shooting heroin and cocaine, staying up for 3-4 days at a time, not paying any bills, doing shit that I won't say here because I'm not sure of the statute of limitations on certain things, and just overall all living a crazy life. And up until the last day using, I really thought I didn't have a problem. It wasn't my problem, it was everyone else around me that kept me using, I could stop at anytime (that's what I told myself).


3. The thought of dealing with the emotional pain


Famous inner thoughts of an addict/alcoholic: "I'm not going to worry about that right now, I'll worry about that later, right now, I'm going to party and live my life." Life is all about the party, even when it's not a party. Even when we find ourselves alone in the bathroom for five hours at a time, it's a party. Deep down, we know we are avoiding all the things we are going to have to face when we are not using. All that destruction we are causing, we are aware, even if it's subconscious, and we keep doing shit that digs us deeper into a hole. The more we keep going, the more things we know we are going to have to face if we stop.


Asking a person to stop using/drinking is like asking someone to put their hands on a hot stove and promising them that if they leave it there long enough, it will stop hurting and the heat will allow them to burn out their trauma. And we are not trusting people. I'm not saying it's a valid excuse, but the pain of being out there doing shitty things has to be worse than putting your hand on the hot stove before they can think about getting help.


4. They don't feel like they deserve it


We are perfectly aware of all the shitty things we are doing when we are out using. We do not feel like we deserve anything other than to continue punishing ourselves until we kill ourselves. Getting help for me was not in the front of my mind. I just thought I was going to die. I was good with that, I was tired of my life and I had fucked it up so good, I didn't see any other way out.


And yet, here I am over 12 years later, and still continuing to learn why I did/do deserve it. But I needed other people then to remind me and I still need people now to remind me.


Recovery isn't easy and it's really hard to make that leap. Anyone that is ready to make that leap can and will, no matter how far down they dig themselves. They can choose to pull themselves out of it at anytime. But I hear family and friends angrily, fearfully, and shamefully screaming at someone that wants to die already that they need help.


And it's true, they do need help. And I understand the anger and the fear, they do shitty things and hurt a lot of people along the way of their using. It's justified. They should feel ashamed of themselves and THEY DO.


But it's also important to know what you are asking of them. They can't take back the things they have already done, as much as I know they would like to. Holding it over them and reminding them of these things constantly is trying to shame someone into doing what you want them to do.


Shaming someone who already wants to die is not helpful. As angry as you are and as fearful as you are, I know this is hard, but if you want your loved one to get help, they need to know they are going to be supported and loved through the hot stove.


Once they are in recovery and working on the things they have done, that is when you will get your chance to heal and vent about how crappy they were to you, and that is when you will get your chance to heal your relationship and talk about things (Try to give them a few months so they can process and get their emotions back under control).


For now, you are going to have to work on healing your own anger and resentments without them. They cannot give you what you need or what you are looking for from them, and trying to do so will only send you into more anger and resentment.


This was a challenging blog, and there may be a lot more questions you have. You may feel the need to say your peace to me as I am sure this brought a lot of emotions up for you and probably not happy ones. I invite you to either ask questions, or vent to me if you feel the need. I only request that you give yourself 24 hours to sleep and digest things and then we can talk.

I post daily about things that will help you navigate this crazy world of addiction! If you want to be notified when I post, click here and Subscribe to my blog!



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