One minute, they may want drug treatment—the next, not so much. This is the constant struggle of those working with addicts and alcoholics.
Particularly when it comes to getting addicts and alcoholics into a program in the first place, this can be exceptionally challenging. Often, we are confronted with the nasty, manipulative, and cunning side of the disease.
We get a moment of clarity—but only for a moment.
Addicts and alcoholics have a seemingly unnatural tendency to do only what is in front of them. The endgame does not matter, because we do not know if a later will come. When it does, we have to deal with the cumulative effects of what our previous actions have earned us.
As it turns out, that is rarely a pleasant place to be.
Like any living creature, our tendency is fight or flight. We might get lucky, though, and decide that going to a drug treatment facility is the best choice—that there is no fight or flight left in us. When it comes to actually getting in the car or on the plane and going, though, that is a different story.
It is vital to take advantage of those moments of clarity, as they are all too rare in the practicing alcoholic or addict. Get in while the getting’s good, as they say.
Take care of loose ends before going to drug treatment.
It might not seem like that big of a deal to let the alcoholic or addict tie up some loose ends before going to drug treatment, but that is just more time for the momentary streak of rationality and reason to evaporate. Once that willingness is gone, who knows if or when it will return? Sometimes, it does not.
No, the best course of action is to drop everything, and go straight to the facility. No breaks, no stops, no making a few calls, no appointments that need to be kept (because, really, how good are addicts or alcoholics at keeping appointments?). Really, nothing an addict is doing is so important that it takes precedent over his or her life. Sure, we can make some compelling arguments at times, but more often than not, this is little more than an attempt at emotional blackmail.
No doubt, addicts and alcoholics are a scandalous bunch. However, there is a person underneath the insane behavior and claims…the person we really care about. We may hate the things they do, but we love the person we know they have the potential to be. That is the person who is worth fighting for.
It is a harrowing ordeal for family and friends. It is painful, it is scary, and it is frustrating to degrees that we had not yet known. The come-here-now-go-away attitude and sense of being used or betrayed is heartbreaking and infuriating.
That said, the rewards for helping that person find a program—for family, friends, and the addict or alcoholic himself or herself—is more than worth these comparably minor obstacles. If an addict or alcoholic you know is seeking drug treatment, seize the opportunity, because you never know if or when a second chance may return.