Why Getting Clean For the Wrong Reasons Fails

Why Getting Clean For the Wrong Reasons Fails

No one with any ethics will tell you that getting clean is easy. It isn’t. In fact, it is probably the most difficult challenge you will ever face. Just making the decision to enter treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is a thoroughly daunting prospect. Many addicts and alcoholics dance around the subject for months or years and never really quite get around to it, or they do it for the wrong reasons. The truth of the matter is, when you try to get clean for the wrong reasons, you’ll fail every time. Why is that? Let’s examine some of them.

• Getting Clean To Win Someone’s Love – We want people to love us as we are, with all our faults. That’s human nature. But when who we are is a lying, untrustworthy, perhaps violent, moody and negative abuser of drugs and/or alcohol, often the people we want to love us most turn away in disgust or shame. Worst of all, they just won’t love us. You can’t decide to get clean and sober and think that this alone will win someone else’s affections. It just isn’t that easy. And it won’t work. Why? You have to want to get clean for yourself, genuinely and wholeheartedly want to quit drug and alcohol abuse. Maybe then you’ll have a chance to prove yourself to that someone special. Or, if you don’t have a significant other, you may finally be able to open up yourself to another and truly be able to give and receive love. But it all begins with you making a firm commitment to change your own life.

• Kicking Drugs Because Others Say It’s Good For You – Who are you kidding? Only someone with a lot of power and control over you can exert enough influence to get you to believe getting clean just because it’s good for you will work. Sure, they can cajole and argue that this is the best thing for you – and, if it is purely your decision alone, it is – but going into treatment to satisfy someone else’s desires is destined for failure. Your heart’s not really in it. And since the first stage of getting clean is usually detox, especially for hard-core drug users, you’re likely to ditch that often painful process even before it’s started to work. Then you’re right back where you were – using drugs and/or alcohol. So much for getting clean because it’s good for you. Bad reason. Don’t fall for it.

• Looking For A Quick Solution – While there may be some individuals who can quit drinking or drugs cold turkey and suffer few ill effects, what typically happens is that getting clean is a much longer process. True, some drug users, especially those who have only recently begun to use, or who use a drug that’s either less addicting or they’re only occasional users, may go through treatment and into recovery quicker than, say, a heroin user. But you can’t think that you’ll pop into rehab and be miraculously clean in a weekend and that’s it. Some detox times are longer than that. There is no quick solution to getting clean. Period. It takes time to purge the body of all the toxic substances you’ve ingested over the months and years, and it takes more time to understand what drove you to use in the first place, then learn coping skills and techniques to help you avoid the triggers that can cause relapse. None of this is quick – or easy. So, if you think treatment is a quick solution to your drug and alcohol abuse, think again. It won’t work.

• Try It For A While And See If It Works – No half-hearted participation works, certainly not in an individual’s attempt to get clean and sober. When you tell yourself that you’ll give it a chance and see if it works, you’re subconsciously giving yourself an escape clause. Here’s what happens. As soon as things get tough – like the counseling session unravels some painful discoveries about yourself that you’d like to keep buried, or the drug cravings are so overwhelming and painful that all you can think about is scoring and getting high – you leave treatment. You go right out and perpetuate the behavior that consumed your thoughts. You didn’t really give treatment a chance. You sabotaged it with your own ulterior motives. You never really wanted to get clean in the first place. If you did, you wouldn’t have put a time limit on it. You don’t just try getting clean, you have to work at it day in and day out – for the rest of your life.

• Rehab Is A Good Cleanse – For some individuals who consider themselves totally in control of their lives, eco-conscious, up with the latest trends, certainly not a destitute addict or alcoholic, going to a luxury rehab center is just another way of doing a whole body cleanse. This is not meant to be flip – these individuals really believe that purging all toxins from their bodies is good to do after years of what nature – and they – have done. After all, in detox and treatment, you’re under supervision 24/7 and you don’t have the accessibility to drugs and alcohol. It’s a no-brainer. Besides, with all the confidentiality rules, no one’s the wiser. You might even learn a thing or two, but, of course, you don’t really have a problem. It’s just something you think you’ll do. Here’s another truth: If you go into treatment with this even remotely in your thoughts, you’ll be back another time for real. Things will just progressively get out of hand in your life until drugs and/or alcohol take away everything that’s real and dear to you. Rehab is a good cleanse only if you intend to get clean and sober – and stay that way.

• Being Forced To Get Clean – Many drug and alcohol treatment websites will tell you that going into treatment doesn’t have to be voluntary to be effective. That’s true to a certain extent. You can get clean through detox whether you wanted to initially or not. But if you don’t really commit to the hard work it takes to learn why you use drugs and alcohol, and discover ways to keep from falling back into it, you won’t stay clean. Having someone force you into treatment as a guilt trip or last resort – even a court order – doesn’t mean it will work. It may, and hopefully it will, but only if you yourself make the decision that this is something you will do for yourself. No one else is living your life. No one else can quit your drugs and alcohol for you. This is purely on you.
Chronic Drug Use Changes Brain Functioning
Long-term substance abuse is known to cause significant changes in the brain. Research shows that not only do these changes persist long after the individual stops using drugs, they also negatively affect behavior. One example is the inability to exercise control over the impulse to seek out and use drugs. Depending on the type of drug or drugs used, the frequency and duration of abuse, some of these brain changes may be permanent.

Addicts and alcoholics tell themselves a lot of lies, particularly about their drug and alcohol use. In many instances, they are not even aware of the falsehood, because to them, their statements are true. They’ve lost the ability to differentiate right from wrong, what’s good for them and what’s inevitably killing their bodies and minds.

How To Change From The Wrong To The Right Reasons

Knowing what the wrong reasons are, how do you change to wanting to get clean for the right reasons? Or, how do you help a loved one recognize and accept responsibility for their own actions, admit they have a problem, and genuinely accept going into treatment?

You start by learning as much as you can about your particular drug of choice, or that of your loved one. Look honestly at what negative impacts to your life this obsessive use has caused. Ask for help to find the right course of treatment – whether that’s an outpatient, inpatient or residential drug and alcohol treatment program or facility.

Decide that you want to change your life – or encourage your loved one to make these kinds of changes. And then take the bold step to enter treatment – or support your loved one in his or her own decision to get clean for all the right reasons.

Find relief in recovery. Life gets better with addiction treatment.

Call our experts today.