Overcoming an Addiction Without Imposing: Is It Possible?

One complaint that many addicts use as a reason to keep using is that they wouldn't be able to get clean on their own, but they don't want to impose on others. Instead of letting this enable the addiction to keep going, it's better to face this problem head-on and keep the progress possible.

First, addicts need to realize they do not need to go into, or through, recovery alone. There are people out there to help. If you do not want to impose on a single person, come up with a big list of the people who you can turn to, and rotate who you call when you have a day of uncertainty.

Next, addicts need a plan. If they want to avoid boredom, especially on days where they are having cravings, then they need a few activities to keep them occupied. The addict can exercise, clean up the house, or read, just as quick things that can be started while other plans are figured out. All of those options help the addict, and impose on no one.

Addicts also need to know themselves. When specific times of day, activities, or events pop up that the addict knows he or she is going to struggle with, revert back to that plan. Predict problems as much as possible ahead of time, and avoid the inevitable relapse as often as possible.

Finally, addicts need to keep track of what goes on during their struggles. They need to see what they said, or thought, during that crisis, so they can go back to see it, and understand it, later. This can help an addict see the problems, and won't impose on anyone other than the addict.


Borchard, T.J. "12 Ways to Beat Addiction." PsychCentral (Website). (2010).
  • 3 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Sorry if I rock the boat with this reply but I do know what its like to feel like you want to clean up but you don't want to impose. I was in a position where cleaning up meant being able to pretty much sleep and rest for the first few days and since I had a young daughter at the time it was impossible to do it without getting someone to watch her.  Besides that problem, I also felt the need to have someone around, not to do anything for me, but because I suffer from anxiety as well and when I am using or detoxing, I am three times as anxious or likely to have a full blown panic attack.  

    Now I don't know about anyone else out there, but when I used I had a limited number of friends on whom I could call.  I never was one to make a lot of friends and when I lapsed back into addiction, I alienated some of the few I did have.  Other people I met while using weren't the people I wanted to be asking for help and likely they would say ya they'd do it and then clean me out the second I was too weak to fight them.  So this really left me with only two close girlfriends to choose from.  Both have families of their own.  One has two kids and the other only one but her son has a disability so she's got a lot of work with that.  Still both of them came through for me and helped me when I needed it the most.  I really appreciate what these two women did for me, the support they showed just by offering up their homes to me is overwhelming considering the treatment I've had from my own family at times.  All I can say to someone in this situation is that if the people you call friends are really your friends, they will not think of it as imposing.  They will be happy to help you out to get you back to being you.  Once you have your own life back in a reasonable condition, you can repay them by one) staying clean and two) doing something as kind and supportive for them when they need it.  That is what friends are for.  To help each other.  I would think that some friends hearing that you don't want to impose, might even be offended that you think they would feel that way.

  • One way of curing this feeling of not wanting to impose is to figure out what you can do to help your friends and as you focus on this question of how you can add value or service to your friends lives, you will find it easy to ask for help when you need it. Also this focus on someone else instead of yourself will take that mental pressure of you and deepen your connections and relationships. This is really one way of knowing who your real friends are and if you have any real friends at all.
  • I know this is an old post but what about the issue of hiding your addiction so it’s not only a matter of not wanting to burden/impose on others, it’s also the humiliation and hurting those you love, and love you, with the truth about your addiction!?
    I struggle so much with this. I have a couple gfs I opened up to about my other addictions, even the Fentanyl, but I just can’t bring myself to admit I started using meth. Even tho I have done it, I still think it’s a gross drug & the stigma around it makes me feel I can’t be honest with anyone close to me about it.
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