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When we are still in active addiction or alcoholism, there are any number of things we will tell ourselves and others that attempt to justify our use, and to avoid having to make a change. Change is scary- for many of us, alcohol or drugs become like a relationship that we simply can’t break free of. As much pain as it causes us, and as much as it may cost us, we are so dependent on it (both mentally and physically) that we will go to almost any lengths to continue using.

Most active addicts and alcoholics live in a state of denial, where we actually begin to believe the lies our disease tells us. Here are 5 of the most common excuses that an addict or alcoholic will make to keep using.

  1. I can stop whenever I want to.

    This is the big one. Until we hit our bottom, most of us believe we have our drug or alcohol use under control. Because if we still have it under control, it’s not a problem. But you have to take an honest look at yourself. If, when you stop drinking or using, you can’t stay stopped, or if when you start drinking or using, you can’t predict how much you’ll take, you probably have lost control over drugs and alcohol. Some people will use the excuse of, “Sometimes I go out and only have a few drinks!” But, going INTO a drinking or using situation, that same person may be totally unable to predict how much they are going to take in and how out of control they will get. It’s often a roll of the dice.

  2. I’m only hurting myself.

    When we are actively using or drinking, we are WITHOUT EXCEPTION having a negative impact on the lives of others. This could range from estranged friends and family members, to innocent children, to frustrated employers, to angry landlords, and anyone else unlucky enough to be caught in the spiral of selfishness and self-centeredness that dominates the alcoholic or addict lifestyle. Whether we think we are hiding it well, or whether we have simply isolated ourselves from others, we still have an impact on the lives of those that care about us or that we have a connection to.

  3. It’s not that bad.

    Only you know when you have hit your bottom. How bad is bad enough? Some pursue this fallacy until they overdose and die, or kill themselves driving under the influence. Most of us had to suffer real consequences before taking an honest look at their lives. If you are lucky, you will reach this point before you land in jail or die. Could it be worse? Probably. But could it be better? Look at the ways in which you are a slave to the drug or the drink- the effect it has had on your relationships, legal problems, financial struggles, and employment status. If you feel like you NEED a drink or drug to get through the day- and if using simultaneously seems like the only thing that makes you feel better, while creating further problems in your life- you are likely headed for more problems unless you get help.

  4. I’m too young to get sober.

    This is a tough one. But alcoholism and addiction do not discriminate by age. No where is it written that to be an alcoholic or addict, we must be a certain age, and have lost a house, marriage, custody of kids, etc. There is a HUGE recovery community, particularly in larger metro areas, comprised of young people that are getting and staying sober. These days people are beginning to experiment with drugs and alcohol at younger and younger ages- which means if they are an addict or alcoholic, it may not take them too long to experience some real consequences. Your age doesn’t matter- if you can’t control your drug or alcohol intake, you need to get help. Luckily, this does not mean throwing away your whole social life and never having fun again. The fellowship of 12-step programs and treatment centers is a wonderful thing, and one of the most amazing revelations comes when young people realize that they can have fun and friends in sobriety.

  5. I tried treatment/a 12-step program and it doesn’t work.

    This excuse has been proven wrong by the thousands of people that have gotten sober and stayed sober from going to treatment and working 12-step programs. If treatment “didn’t work for you”, you need to ask yourself- did you give it an honest effort? Did you take suggestions and participate, and were you open to the guidance of your counselors and the staff? Same thing with 12-step programs. Did you work the steps honestly, and to the best of your ability? Did you get a sponsor, and try to be of service to others? There is no magic bullet for sobriety. Recovery takes willingness, and an honest effort to see the truth about yourself and try to be different. If you don’t change, nothing changes, and of course you will use or drink again.

None of these excuses are new or unique. As anyone in recovery will tell you, you cannot see these for the lies that they are until you are willing and open enough to gain an honest perspective. If you consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you have some incorrect or damaging ideas, that is often the first step towards change.

If you or someone you know needs help, and is willing to consider a different way of life, contact the admissions professionals at Serenity Acres today. Your life can be different, and better than you ever imagined- if you just take a chance.