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What Addicts Say vs. What They Mean


Addicts in active addiction get really good at lying, whether it’s telling outright, bold-face lies or lying by omission, we were really good at covering up our drug use – for a time, at least. Eventually, things fell apart. But, in our addiction, there were several go-to euphemisms that we would use when we didn’t want to be honest about our drug use. A lot of times, it was our own denial that had us lie – we simply didn’t see what we were doing. Other times, we might have been fully aware but would rather be caught in a lie (see #7) than admit we had a problem. Here are addict clichés decoded for your reading pleasure.

What addicts say vs. what they mean:

#1. What Addicts Say: “I have the flu.”

What They Mean: I’m going through withdrawals and I want to die.

#2. What Addicts Say: “I don’t know what happened to the money in your wallet; want me to help you look for it?”

What They Mean: I stole your money, I needed it more.

#3. What Addicts Say: “I have chronic pain.”

What They Mean: I will come up with any excuse to use drugs.

#4. What Addicts Say: “I’m not a bad influence.”

What They Mean: I don’t share my drugs with anyone.

#5. What Addicts Say: (when confronted about their rapid weight loss) “I’m just under a lot of stress.”

What They Mean: I am on a steady diet of heroin and crack with no money to eat, of course I’m losing weight!

#6. What Addicts Say: “I just use recreationally, it’s not like I do drugs every day.”

What They Mean: I do drugs every day.

#7. What Addicts Say: “Test me, I’ll take a drug test.”

What They Mean: I will fail that test.

Here, we were basically calling their bluff. Or, we really thought we’d pass a drug test because we weren’t high in that moment. We were strategizing by being all confident, hoping that somehow we’d pass or just planning to blame a defective test when it popped dirty.

#8. What Addicts Say: “Can I borrow twenty bucks?”

What They Mean: I really need to get high.

We might follow up the question with a seemingly legit reason for needing the money, such as for food or the electric bill – we just fell a little short this month due to an emergency vet bill, or something.

#9. What Addicts Say: (When running late) “I got pulled over/my car broke down/I was abducted by aliens/some other thing.”

What They Mean: I had to wait on the dope man.

I once kept a date waiting on me for 3 hours because I was too busy getting high. And yes, he actually waited for me for 3 hours.

#10. What Addicts Say: “Don’t go through my phone, I have personal stuff in there.”

What They Mean: Really, don’t go through my phone, I have a lot of incriminating evidence in there.

Basically, there are a lot of texts containing references to drugs and drug deals as well as strange calling patterns, like phone calls to the city at 3 am.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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