The truth of the matter is, addicts lie. They lie to their spouses or family about their addiction. They lie to their bosses about why they were late or missed work. Most importantly, they lie to themselves about having a problem. The lies addicts tell themselves help protect themselves from the painful truth of their addiction.
Today, almost 21 million people in the US are living with addiction and only 10% of those individuals are seeking treatment. Confronting someone struggling with an addiction can be a tricky matter. Nine times out of ten they will deny an addiction problem if they are not ready to get help. They will lie and make up excuses for their substance use until they’re blue in the face.
Twelve of the most common lies addicts tell themselves to avoid getting help include:
- “I don’t have an addiction problem.”
- “I can stop anytime I want.”
- “I only use occasionally.”
- “I haven’t changed at all.”
- “I can still do the things I’ve always done.”
- “I don’t drink in the morning which means I’m not an alcoholic.”
- “I only drink beer/wine, so I can’t be an alcoholic.”
- “I’m employed, so my substance use isn’t that bad.”
- “These are prescription medications, so it’s okay to take them whenever.”
- “I only drink or use on the weekends, so I’m not an addict.”
- “I’m under a lot of stress and this helps me relax.”
- “My drinking or substance abuse isn’t affecting anyone else but me.”
“I don’t have an addiction problem.”
The first, and most common lie, addicts tell to themselves and their loved ones are that they don’t have an addiction problem. They tend to rationalize their behavior and excuse it as something they do on occasion. Instead of acknowledging they have a problem they try to avoid the conversation altogether because they are not ready to get help.
Many people go a long period of time without acknowledging that they have an addiction until it is too late. This destructive and dangerous behavior can lead to DUI’s, jail time, overdose, or death.
“I can stop anytime I want.”
Many people try and convince themselves, and sometimes believe that they can stop the substance abuse whenever they’re ready. However, this is usually not the case. When addiction occurs, trying to stop is never an easy task. From withdrawal symptoms, intense cravings, and the potential of relapse, the thought of stopping whenever you want is far from the truth.
What needs to be understood is that no matter the strength and willpower an individual has to stop using, addiction alters the brain chemistry. Your body changes and adapts to constantly living with substance abuse. Your body builds tolerances which means more of the substance needs to be taken to feel the effects. Our bodies go through withdrawal because they are now wired to think we need this substance to survive.
This is why medical detox centers and treatment facilities are so important when finally taking the first step towards recovery. Detox and withdrawal can be unbarring, however, with a professional staff the symptoms can be managed safely in a controlled environment.
“I only use occasionally.”
When confronting an addict about their substance use, or when trying to justify to yourself, a common lie is that they only use occasionally. Although this may be the case, someone can still have an addiction problem without drinking on a daily basis.
For example, someone who doesn’t drink throughout the week but binge drinks all weekend has an addiction. The addict can live a normal life, with a job, kids, and a social life, however, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. Someone who can’t stop themselves from binge drinking, even just on the weekends, has a problem. The quantity, timing, and frequency of your substance use do not mean there is not a problem.
The excuse that you only drink occasionally is you trying to justify your issue.
“I haven’t changed at all.”
An addict uses this excuse when a friend or loved one confronts them about how they have changed since using. This can be a personality change or behavioral change. Sadly, when we tell ourselves we haven’t changed since our substance abuse, we normally believe it is true. This is because an addict has little self-knowledge of how substance abuse completely alters personality, mentality, and behavior.
“I can still do the things I’ve always done.”
Addicts will tell themselves and others that they are capable of doing the activities they once did before. They make plans and promises that end up falling through because of the addiction. For example, promising to attend a baby shower Sunday afternoon, but going out binge drinking Saturday night and not making it.
Addiction completely consumes a person’s life and before you know it, your life looks completely different. Eating habits change, exercising stops, and any form of a social life either stops or revolves around substance use. Although you tell yourself that you are still going to do the things you always did, addiction takes a toll on your physical and mental health. These can all be a factor as to why you aren’t doing any of the things you once loved.
“I don’t drink in the mornings which means I’m not an addict.”
A common misconception about alcoholics is that they wake up every day and start with a drink. Or they start drinking before noon. However, this lie is far from the truth. Like we touched on above, it doesn’t matter the time of day you start drinking, or if you only drink during the weekends, an alcoholic can’t control their drinking or stop once they’ve started.
Binge drinking at night or over the weekends is just as harmful as drinking in the morning. When you begin hiding your alcohol abuse, sneaking away to bars and liquor stores, or lying about how much you drank are all indicators that you have an addiction problem. Believing lies about not being an addict if you don’t drink in the morning can hinder you from seeking help.
“I only drink beer/wine, so I can’t be an alcoholic.”
Whether drinking beer after beer at the bar or polishing off a bottle of wine a night, alcohol is alcohol. The idea that if you only drink beer or wine doesn’t make you an alcoholic is very misconstrued. All forms of alcohol cause cravings and can lead to addiction. There are many circumstances where alcoholics who are addicted to hard liquor believe that switching to beer or wine will cure their addiction. However, as we mentioned above, alcohol is alcohol and the problem still remains.
“I’m employed, so my substance use isn’t that bad.”
Many individuals living with a substance use disorder believe that if their life is together from the outside looking in there is no issue. Having a steady
You may be telling yourself that if you are employed the substance use can’t be that bad. However, just because you are able to hold a steady job doesn’t mean you aren’t an addict.
Again, above we touched on that some people stay sober throughout the week and wait until the weekend to go on benders. Yes, you are capable of keeping employment but you still have a problem.
“These are prescription medications, so it’s ok to take them whenever.”
According to the NCDAS, 2 million people who misuse prescription medication are addicts to these drugs. Although prescribed by a doctor and the legality of these substances, prescription medications are one of the most abused drugs across the world. Thus, believing that doctor-prescribed medication can not form an addiction is a harmful belief.
Prescription medication should only be used as directed by your doctor and not as a recreational drug. Although these are legal and prescribed by a doctor they are highly addictive and result in substance disorders. Signs that you are abusing prescription drugs include; taking more than directed, refilling scripts when it is not needed, as well as taking medication more frequently than prescribed.
“I only drink or use on the weekend, so I am not an addict.”
Unhealthy drinking habits and addiction do not depend on the days of the week an individual drinks. Many believe that if they only drink on the weekends and stay sober during the workweek they are not an addict. However, weekend benders can be just as bad, if not worse because you are jam-packing a drinking binge in two to three days.
Furthermore, if you are craving a substance and look forward to the weekend to finally use it to help escape life this is the telling sign that there is an underlying addiction-forming.
“I’m under a lot of stress and this helps me relax.”
Using substance abuse as a form of release is not an excuse to dismiss an addiction. There are many other ways to relax and deal with stress. Some of these activities include:
- Getting outside and taking a walk
Turning to drugs and alcohol to escape the stressors of life and help relax after a long day is a telling sign that there is a problem.
“My drinking or substance abuse isn’t affecting anyone else but me.”
An individual who is completely consumed with a substance only focuses on their next hit. The outside world becomes distant and some may feel isolated. During this many people tell themselves as long as their addiction isn’t affecting anyone else there isn’t an issue. However, addiction affects the people around you physically and emotionally.
When a person is addicted to a substance mood swings and irritability is a daily occurrence. Addicts don’t realize their negative actions at the moment which is why they believe their addiction doesn’t affect anyone but themselves. We influence a multitude of people every day without even realizing it. A simple smile can change someone’s entire day. This is why any negative gesture can have an effect on someone without even knowing it.
Get Help with Your Addiction
If you are done believing the lies you are telling yourself every day to excuse your addiction contact the Harm Reduction Center. HARC is a private healthcare facility located in Boynton Beach, Florida that utilizes proven and effective treatment methods to help fight addiction. Some of the services we utilize include:
- Medication-Assisted Treatment
- Trauma therapies
- Individual/ group therapies
- All levels of outpatient care
- Familie services
- Aftercare services
Our mission is to help every individual who is battling addiction receive the resources needed to take back their life. We create a highly individualized treatment plan for every patient because each person has different needs and goals. If you are ready to take control of your life, contact us today.