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Why don't people encourage their loved ones to get treatment?

holiday candle burningJohn Perry, Co-Founder, Clean & Sober Recovery Services, Inc.

The holidays can be slow days at a residential treatment center because individuals and families often avoid seeking treatment at a time when it’s needed most. Why is that? At Clean & Sober Recovery Services, I see three factors at play in the hesitation to start treatment:

False hope: Starting mid-November, family members start to hold their breaths, waiting to see who will show up for Thanksgiving dinner. Will it be “the good (sober) daughter” or “the bad (drugged and abusive) one?” “The kind and loving father, or the angry one?” Will Mom show up at all, or will she be hunkered down in bed at 3 PM? Will our brother be in jail or MIA entirely? Beneath that festive holiday tablecloth, a lot of people cross their fingers tightly, ever hopeful that their loved ones will join the celebration in a safe and sober state. That typical view of hope during the holidays is "wishful thinking," at it's best.

Lack of understanding about how people recover from alcoholism or drug abuse: "It’s my loved one’s problem. He or she simply needs to straighten up.” Or It’s their problem, not ours.” Oh, if only it were that simple! But we know Substance Use Disorder impacts the entire family, and the entire family needs to change to support a loved one’s recovery. Family counselor/interventionist Ricki Townsend explains how those pieces fit together in her short, FREE and powerful eBook, Recovery 101. Understanding the basics of alcoholism/ addiction is the first step towards family recovery.

Fear: Families are often afraid to even bring up the topic of treatment for fear that it will send their loved one into a tailspin and ruin the holidays for everyone. Spoiler alert: a person who abuses alcohol or drugs often ruins the holidays without any prompting whatsoever from the family. And while you are worrying about who is going to show up at your door, your loved one may fear an unknown future without their familiar chemical sidekick and the confidence or numbed feelings it offers. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” can keep people from seeking treatment. And it can keep families from encouraging and supporting treatment.

If you are concerned about who is going to walk through your door during the holidays, Clean & Sober Recovery Services is here to help you get your loved through our front door. Here's to a happy, healthy and sober Thanksgiving for all.


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