We all use excuses from time to time to justify our actions and thoughts. In the realm of addiction, excuses are extremely common. We use these excuses because we either don’t understand our addiction or think it cannot be helped. Identifying the excuses we use is the first way to cut them out. Look over this list and see which excuses you have been using or hear others using. Often, these common phrases can help point us to a solution.
“I Don’t Have a Problem.” You’re showing up to work, paying your bills, and keeping a social life. You’re are considered “functioning”. This being said, a “functioning alcoholic” is still at the end of the day an alcoholic. Just because you are getting by with you day-to-day does not mean you are issue free. Without treatment your problem will only continue to grow and get worse.
“I Can Stop Whenever I Want To.” Another common excuse used is believing you have the power to stop anytime you want. Realistically, this is your brain tricking you into thinking you have control. In actuality, you do not have the power to refuse more of a substance or consuming it in the first place. If you did have this control, you wouldn’t the excuse in the first place or need to reassure yourself, your friends, and your family that you do not have a problem.
“Addiction Treatment Programs Cannot Help Me.” We hear this excuse more often than you would believe. Most addicts think treatment is not personalized and cannot help. Even though people tend to relapse, it is not at the fault of the addiction treatment program. Treatment can be as specific as you need and continues to improve with time. Others believe that they are too far gone for help. If you feel like a lost cause and completely out of control, this may be the best time for you to check-in to treatment. A supportive environment totally focused on your recovery is exactly what you need.
“Social Events Won’t be the Same.” People who engage in substance use “socially” argue that you will not enjoy yourself in social situations without. Even though you fear that not partaking will isolate you, the opposite tends to be more true. When you think about your behavior it turns out that addiction can be more isolating than social. In addition, being under the influence can affect how others perceive and may make you appear less socially attractive than you are in a sober state.
“I’m not Hurting Anyone.” A lot of the time we don’t see our addiction affects others. You say things like “It’s my body, my choices, and my life”. While, it appears like the decisions you make are independent of other people, that is wrong. When people who love and care about you witness your addiction is causes them pain. In addition, it makes you less reliable and lowers your accountability. You want to believe that you are only hurting yourself because it is easier than looking at the people we hurt. Your denial not only hurts them, but yourself, and any relationships you have.
Each of these excuses inform an insecurity you are having about your addiction. Noticing that you use these is a sign you need to evaluate your behaviors. Whether you believe you do not have an issue or cannot be helped, it is important to see how your addiction is affecting others. Finally, it is time to get honest with yourself. Owning up to an issue and discovering help will go a long way.