Whether you’re an alcoholic/addict, live with one, or are friends with one, chances are you are quite familiar with the following top 10 excuses people use to justify abusing drugs and alcohol. Personally, I had thought and uttered all of these statements at one time or another during the decade or so of my active addiction.
Excuse #1 – “I’m not hurting anyone but myself!”
It’s safe to say that most, if not all, addicts and alcoholics struggle with low self-esteem and low self-worth. So it is perfect addict logic to use this excuse. Because we don’t feel like we matter, it’s easy enough to think, well, who cares if I’m hurting myself.
Another typical aspect of addiction is denial. When we’re abusing substances, it’s difficult to see how it’s hurting those around us. The addict/alcoholic mentality is that we are putting this poison into our own bodies, not other people’s bodies so then it’s not hurting anyone but ourselves.
Excuse #2 – “I just want a bit of relief.”
Addicts and alcoholics believe that they are the victims of unfair circumstances and that alcohol or drugs will give them relief in a world full of pain. Speaking for myself, my biggest resentment was towards my parents for even having me. My perspective was that I didn’t ask to be here and that being alive was thrust upon me. To me, living was pain. The irony is that having this perspective keeps the addict/alcoholic from seeing that their addiction is the very cause of their misery.
Excuse #3 – “If you had my problems, you would drink/use drugs too.”
Like excuse #2, this is another example of the victim stance that alcoholics and addicts take. However, everyone has problems, but not everyone resorts to substance abuse in order to deal with their problems. And again, the addiction is probably a cause of most of their problems, which would likely be resolved by getting clean and learning healthy ways to cope. Playing the victim is a perfect way to justify their addiction.
Excuse #4 – “This is who I am”
Once in the grip of addiction, it is difficult even impossible to imagine life without using alcohol and drugs. We as addicts and alcoholics come to identify ourselves with our addiction even if we are not aware of doing so. Using this excuse lets us portray ourselves as tortured-yet-unique souls who are doomed to our fate.
Excuse #5 – “I need to drink (or do drugs) to be social.”
Many people who turn to drugs and alcohol do so because they have social anxiety disorders and feel that substances lower their inhibitions and make them more comfortable in social settings. It’s true that substances can do this but, when you’ve crossed over into full-blown addiction, this sort of excuse doesn’t really serve you anymore. That’s because, most addicts and alcoholics become reclusive – avoiding social settings so that they can use what they want and how they want without the prying eyes of others. Also, there is a lot of guilt and shame that comes with the territory of being addicted and so we avoid others because of our guilty consciences.
Excuse #6 – “I need to drink (or do drugs) for work.”
I was an opiate user and, unlike normal people, I would get a surge of energy and the sensation that I was invincible when I was using. I was what you would call a high functioning addict: I held down a good job, had a nice place to live, and was able to maintain my car payments (for a while, at least). I loved getting high before work, which was a high-energy job, because the opiates would keep me energized and able to accomplish anything. Or so I thought.
Excuse #7 – “I’m not an addict, I can stop whenever I want”
Again, addiction and denial go hand in hand and this excuse clearly demonstrates this. There’s really no logic or reason going on here: the power of addiction compels the user to claim that they want to drink and/or use, even despite severe consequences.
Excuse #8 – “At least I don’t drink or use like he does, now THAT dude has a problem.”
Again, denial at its finest. Of course it’s true that there is always someone who is more drunk, more high, or more messed up. But comparing yourself to others who are worse off in their addiction in order to justify your own addiction is ridiculous. It’s more like: hey, that guy is way worse than me AND it won’t be long till I get that bad.
Excuse #9 – “Everyone else drinks and/or uses”
Yes, there are many, many people who can drink and even use drugs successfully. But, by comparing yourself to the typical recreational drinker or user, you are normalizing your abnormal behavior – of abusing substances.
Excuse #10 – “Life is pointless and I’m going to die anyways, I might as well go out on my terms”
Like me, many alcoholics and addicts feel like living is pointless. I suffered from depression and suicidal ideation – obsessive thoughts about dying or killing myself. I would use this excuse a lot in my active addiction; it was the perfect way to justify my self-destructive behavior of abusing substances.
If these excuses sound familiar to you, call us now at 800-951-6135.