Treatment on Monday. Whomp-whomp. You have a vague recollection of a conversation (while you were messed up) with a treatment counselor. You’re now riding the high horse that comes with finally accepting help for your problem. But at the end of the phone call, you made it clear that you wouldn’t be coming in that day. Because there are loose ends to take care of first! Right? Some vague excuse like telling your family or talking to your work about FMLA. But let’s be honest. The real reason for putting it off is that coveted last hurrah. Because treatment on Monday gives you permission to get it all out of your system first… right? (Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t.)

Last Hurrah

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

Typically, addicts vaguely intend their last hurrah to last a few days. But a wide schism exists between intentions and plans. The disorganization inherent in the disease of addiction creates a fast and loose relationship with the truth. While many people begin their last hurrah with the intent to keep it temporary, the end result isn’t usually so tidy.

A weekend seems like ample time from the perspective of a Friday. But as Sunday winds to a close and treatment looms Monday morning, intentions collapse under the desire to keep using. It’s simply the cycle of addiction at work. The actual timing of your hurrah doesn’t really matter. Whether you try to “get it out of your system” on a weekend or during the course of a few weeks, the end result is the same: it’s still in your system. And you’re probably worse off than you were before.

You’re Not Getting Anything “Out of Your System”

At first, the last hurrah seems like a harmless allowance. Sure, you’ve gone this long running and gunning, what’s the problem with one final act of self-destruction before committing to the tedium of treatment? Well, since you asked…

  • Self-indulgence fuels the cycle (not end) of addiction.

    By going all out for a last hurrah, you risk romanticizing your addiction. This compromises the resolve to get treatment, which is already (by definition) hard to come by for addicts in an active habit. This adds fuel to the fire rather than helping to put it out.

  • Permission to use recklessly is a recipe for a full-blown bender.

    While you may intend for the last hurrah to last a few days, too often it ends up much longer. Or you lose your way completely and it takes a few more years to find a new rock bottom. That’s not to mention the legal problems that can result from serious benders.

  • Why are you feeding the fire before fighting it?

    Even if you do make it to treatment eventually, that last hurrah romanticizes your addiction. It psychologically removes you from the consequences that brought you to treatment in the first place. Consider the value in putting your best (in this case, most humble) foot forward.

  • Risk of overdose.

    When you give yourself free reign to use as much as you want, the likelihood of overdose skyrockets. Addicts don’t typically prioritize safety as a concern to begin with. Add a desire to use as much as possible in a small window of time, and overdose seems almost inevitable.

Fraying Loose Ends Rather than Tying Them

One of the initial excuses for the last hurrah is tying up loose ends. But in reality, these loose ends typically get worse by the time the last hurrah ends.

Realistically, giving yourself permission to “get it out of your system” untethers any kind of responsible behavior. Due diligence about talking to your family or job about logistics of going to treatment becomes long forgotten. While tying up loose ends feels like a legitimate reason initially, it’s often a veiled excuse for putting treatment off. All of those logistics can be handled by treatment staff after admission.

Risk of Legal Entanglements

We’ve all gotten cases of the “f*** it”s at some point in our lives. The last hurrah serves as a glorified, celebratory approach to, “Well, f*** it, might as well do what I want before I give up my freedom and check into treatment!”

Aside from the fact that addiction takes away an addict’s freedom long before treatment, an out-of-touch drunk/high case of the “f*** it”s can spell out serious legal implications. Adding arrests, bail, and parole to your laundry list of problems doesn’t do you any favors on your way to treatment. It may also derail you from recovery entirely, as many jails/prisons offer easy access to your drug of choice.

Alternatives to Last Hurrah

The last hurrah is a digression from the path of recovery. If you or a loved one need help getting started with a treatment center, our counselors are available 24/7: 855-737-7363