Common Barriers in Recovery

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Common Barriers on the Road to Recovery

By:  Rick Fannin

Common Barriers in Recovery

By far, the biggest roadblock on my road to recovery was me. I lived in denial that I even had a problem for so long. But, once I recognized that I had a problem, I had so many “valid” reasons why I could not go to rehab and get the help that I need. At the time, I still had a great job, and I was worried if I told my employer that I had a drug and alcohol problem that they would think differently of me, or even fire me. So, I felt that it was a valid justification that I could not get because of my job. God took care of that because I lost that job because of my addiction. The next barrier was my son because I was blessed to have him every weekend, and I felt like I couldn’t go away and get the help I need because I had to be there for my son. God and my son took care of that one too. My son told me that he loved me but that he could not sit on the front row and watch my self-destruction anymore.
The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book states, “We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 1976, p. 86) Every reason that I had, even as valid as I felt they might be, were removed as barriers to my recovery. I lost that job, I lost my son, and I found myself at a point that there was nothing left except for me and my addiction. What a dark and scary place that is to find yourself. The day that I decided to get help, I had the delusion that it would be an easy process. I imagined that recovery was there with open arms, just waiting for me to get out of denial and finally admit that I had a problem and surrender because this problem was more significant than my ability to solve it on my own. Boy, was I wrong? I faced many of the same external barriers that others run into when they finally do make the decision to get help. I had no insurance, and there was an extremely long waitlist at many of the detox and inpatient facilities that I called. I remember just how disheartened I was when I was told that the wait was approximately four weeks. They didn’t understand, and I would be dead in four weeks if I didn’t get help now.
Bellegrove Springs
I am so grateful that I had a family and an ex-wife that worked so hard to help me overcome these external barriers and got me the treatment that I needed. I am originally from a small town in Eastern Kentucky, and if I was going to do this, then there is no place like home. I ended up going to a faith-based recovery center owned by Addiction Recovery Care, called Belle Grove Springs, in Wallingford, KY. This place saved my life. I could not have picked a better place to work on my recovery, rediscover the authentic version of me that had been lost during addiction, reconnect with nature, and reestablish a relationship with God. I spent nearly every morning talking to God and meditating from in a rocking chair on the front porch of that old farmhouse overlooking the 22-acre lake.
After nearly three months in rehab, I returned to Columbus, OH, and the reality of the damage from my addiction had set in. I was unemployed, broke, my house had been foreclosed on, and it left me completely overwhelmed and stuck. It would have been so easy to have relapsed, but I was blessed to have a strong support system around me. I decided to get the training that I needed to become an addiction counselor, and I returned to school, and I am finishing up my Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Along with this non-profit, Life Recovery Society, my goal is to open my own faith-based, mental health, and addiction treatment center in the Hilltop next year. The story of each person in addition and recovery is different, but often there are elements of these stories that are remarkably similar. The biggest and first obstacle that we must overcome is the internal barriers that we create. But, once we have decided to get help for our addiction or mental health issues, there are still many external barriers that stand in the way along the long road to recovery.
Common Barriers that Stand in the Way of Getting Treatment
The most common internal barriers include:
  • Being in denial about the severity of their drug or alcohol problem
  • Feeling ambivalent towards recovery
  • Believing that they can just cut back on drinking or using, and things will be OK.
  • Believing that if they just stop drinking or using, then it will be enough to produce a successful recovery.
  • Untreated mental health issues coexist with the addiction to drugs or alcohol.
  • A belief that “I will never use again.”
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Not knowing where to turn to for help
  • Lack of insurance
  • Lack of residential treatment options or long wait times to get in
Many Fears
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of feeling emotions without drugs or alcohol
  • Fear of what others will think if they get help for addiction
  • Fear of lack of proper care of children while in treatment
  • Fear of loneliness and boredom
  • Fear that others will never forgive them for past mistakes

Common Barriers in Long-Term Treatment

Only 10% of those with addiction issues ever seek treatment. For those that do, clinical studies show the rate of relapse following residential treatment is between 37% to 56% within the first year of discharge (Manuel, et al., 2017). Following discharge, less than half make contact with aftercare providers, and even fewer follow through with aftercare recommendations (Manuel, et al., 2017). For those that do follow through with aftercare plans and engage in community support services, there is a substantial improvement in relapse rates. However, many individuals face a number of significant barriers that prevent them from fully engaging in aftercare services such as Intensive Outpatient Programs (I.O.P.) (Manuel, et al., 2017). These barriers include:

Individual barriers

  • Unmet basic needs (financial stability, a job, a place to live) are the top individual barriers for recovery following residential treatment.
  • Lack of insurance or finances for co-pay or deductibles for aftercare
  • Lack of education
  • Lack of job skills
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Transportation difficulties
  • Dealing with shame and other stigmas
  • Untreated mental health issues

Interpersonal barriers

  • Strained or dysfunctional relationships
  • Lack of a supportive network
  • Still maintaining relationships with others who are still in active addiction.

Organizational barriers

  • Lack of availability of treatment programs.
  • The treatment times conflict with a job or court obligations
  • High caseloads of case managers contributing to inadequate planning of aftercare to make the transition from residential treatment smoother

Community barriers

  • Stressful / High drug use neighborhood
  • Lack of supportive housing options
  • Lack of employment options

Policy barriers

  • Court and probation requirements which make it difficult to find a job to provide for basic needs.
Sometimes we have to Pray Until Something Happens (P.U.S.H.) for Recovery. P.U.S.H For recovery will be operating a faith-based intensive outpatient-program (IOP) at 3880 Clime Road, Columbus, OH 43228. We hope to be open very soon. Until then, If you know someone that is looking to get into this treatment, here is a link to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) Treatment Finder. This is the most comprehensive listing of various treatment service providers and you can filter based on the type of service, insurance, etc. If you know of someone that is looking for sober living, here is a link to the Central Ohio Recovery Residences Network (CORRN)which maintains a listing of all sober living houses in Central Ohio. If you know of someone that is in need of detox and doesn't have insurance, there are two options that we know of in Columbus. First is the Whitehall Fire department who is dedicated to helping get anyone into treatment regardless of insurance, and the second option is the Maryhaven Addiction Stabilization Center located at 1430 South High Street.
References
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