Even when the addict realizes how much their behavior is costing them, they can still delay quitting alcohol or drugs. The danger with this is if the person delays too long they can leave it too late. They can reach a stage in their addiction where they have inflicted so much damage on their body that a full recovery will no longer be possible. This is because the final destination for addicts is death or madness unless they are able to stop the decline. The only time that the person will be able to stop this behavior is right now. There is absolutely no benefit in a delay because the person is only putting off the time when they can begin to find real happiness.
The individual can have many justifications for delaying their recovery from addiction including:
* The individual can be ambivalent about their recovery which means that they still have not let go of the idea that they will find some happiness in substance abuse. So long as the individual holds onto this hope they will not be willing to let go of addiction completely.
* The person may believe that they have to lose it all before they will be able to stop. This is a misunderstanding about what it means to hit rock bottom, and it means that people die addicted because they are never sure if they have gone down far enough.
* The individual can have many mistaken ideas about what recovery means in practice. This means that they delay seeking help for the problem.
* Some people are waiting for other people to save them from addiction – a type of learned helplessness. They fail to realize that the only person who can save them is themselves.
* The person can still be under the misguided impression that they can control their intake. Rather than quitting the addiction they experiment with moderation but such experiments usually fail because the only real option is complete abstinence.
* The individual may be waiting for their situation to improve before they give up alcohol or drugs. The reality is that they are caught in the downward spiral of addiction and things will only get worse over time.
* The person can feel resistant to the idea of getting help, but they are unable to stop alone. This means that they are caught in the position of wanting to stop but being unwilling to take the steps needed to make it a reality.
* People can be deluded into thinking that there is no rush to recover. They will keep on putting it off until a future date.
* The individual might not feel ready to break away from their drug using or drinking friends. They are fearful about stepping outside this group.
* Those people who have low self efficacy may want to stop the addiction but they do not feel currently capable of doing so. Until they take a leap of faith they will never find out what they are capable of doing.
* If the person has low self esteem they might not believe that they deserve anything better than their current life.
* Some people will be afraid of facing the consequences of their previous actions and they use this as an excuse to stay addicted. The problem is that until they become ready to face their past there can be no moving forward.
* The individual may feel fear at the idea of recovering from an addiction. It means taking a step into the unknown and making significant changes in their life.
When people delay getting helping for their addiction they are taking a risk because:
* Those who are addicted to alcohol or drugs will find that their situation deteriorates over time. This means that the longer they abuse alcohol and drugs they more they will lose.
* The longer the person remains addicted the more risk there is that they will cause permanent damage to their body. Some conditions, such as alcoholic liver disease, are irreversible once they reach a certain point.
* The longer the person remains addicted the more they will hurt other people. Family and friends will have already suffered enough as a result of the substance abuse.
* Life is short and the longer the person remains addicted the less time they will have to enjoy sobriety.
* By delaying their recovery the person is delaying their own happiness. It just doesn’t make any sense to do this.
* There is no guarantee that the individual will want to escape their addiction at a later date. The only time they can stop is right now.
It is common for people who have quit an addiction to do so after they hit rock bottom.This is the point when they finally became ready to escape the miserable life of addiction. They had lost enough and were not prepared to lose any more. The individual can clearly see where their life is heading and they decide to abandon ship before it is too late.
The concept of hitting rock bottom has been corrupted by addicts to justify their continued use of alcohol or drugs. They believe that rock bottom is an objective point in addiction when getting sober becomes easy. The addict holds the dangerously mistaken view that rock bottom means losing everything. This means that they put up with the misery of addiction because they expect a special day to arrive when they will have had enough. The problem with this type of thinking is that rock bottom will mean death for many of these individuals.
Hitting rock bottom is not about losing everything. It just means that the individual has reached a point where they decide they’ve lost enough. Some people will have a high rock bottom where they become willing to give up even though they have lost relatively little as a result of their addiction. They see what the future has in store for them and they do not need to descent any further. There is no benefit to be had by falling lower into addiction – there is only more suffering. The reality of hitting rock bottom can be better explained using the metaphor of a descending elevator. It is up to the passenger to decide where they want to get off – this will be their rock bottom.
Delaying addiction recovery is playing with fire. There are compelling reasons for why the individual should quit their addiction right away including:
* The sooner the person stops the sooner they can begin living better. There is no sane justification for prolonging the suffering.
* The only time that the person can stop is right now. If they keep on delaying they will never stop.
* Sobriety is a gift and by stopping now the individual will be giving themselves longer to enjoy this gift. It is never too late to stop drinking or using drugs, but it is better that this happens sooner rather than later.
* By stopping right now the individual will be helping their loved ones by reducing their worries and suffering.
* When people become sober they are able to find great success in life. The sooner the person stops the sooner they can enjoy such success.
* By stopping now the individual will lose less as a result of their addiction than they would lose if they persist with the behavior.
In order to stop drinking now the individual can:
* Arrange to enter rehab. By taking this step the individual is committing to their sobriety in a positive way, and they are ensuring that they will have the support they need during the early weeks of recovery.
* Make an appointment to see an addiction therapist as soon as possible. If the individual is unsure about their options they may benefit by speaking to an addiction therapist.
* Attend a recovery fellowship meeting. This is a way to meet other people who have managed to break away from addiction – these individuals will be able to offer advice and guidance.
* Tell family and friends of the decision to quit. By voicing their decision to quit alcohol or drugs the individual is further committing themselves to this path and it will be difficult for them to change their mind later on without feeling embarrassed.
* Seeking help online. There are now many online resources that the individual can turn to when they need help stopping their addiction.
* Immediately break off contact with drug using and drinking friends. These people will only try to keep each other trapped in addiction.
* Arrange to see a physician right away. A doctor will be able to assess the individual to see if they need to have a medically supervised detox.