Anyone who has had a loved one who struggles with substance use has probably been frustrated by that person’s evasiveness, stubbornness, and lying. Deception and secrecy are common characteristics of addiction, but people who struggle with addiction don’t just lie to others; they lie to themselves as well. Here are some common lies people with addiction tell themselves.
I don’t drink/use that much.
Often the first line of defense when people with substance use issues are justifying their behavior to themselves or others is that they don’t use that much. If you don’t drink very often or use drugs very often, you can’t have a problem, right? It is entirely possible for someone to believe this even while drinking or using excessively. The reason is that their frame of reference is often distorted. This may be because their friends use substances with similar frequency, that their parents used excessively, setting a high baseline, or they just lose track of how much they use.
I can stop whenever I want to.
This is an excellent defense tactic because there’s an easy out. You can tell yourself, “I can quit whenever I want to. I just don’t want to.” That way, the problem is not that you’re addicted; it’s that you don’t see any reason to quit. It may also be easy to prove at a superficial level. Often, people with substance use issues can go a few days, a week, or even a month without using. However, once they start, they can’t stop. Substance use disorders come in many forms and some of those forms allow for limited periods of abstinence.
My substance use doesn’t hurt anyone else.
This is essentially the belief that your substance use is no one else’s concern because it doesn’t hurt anyone else. No harm, no foul. However, someone with a substance use issue is often not aware of how her problem affects others. The nature of addiction is to fixate on the substance and subordinate everything else. You may spend less time with friends and family or become negligent at work. When your awareness narrows, you’re less likely to notice the collateral damage of your substance use. And the people who care about you automatically suffer seeing your self-destructive behavior, whether it directly affects them or not.
I’m not as bad as other people.
This one may be technically true. There probably is someone out there whose substance use is much more destructive than yours. You might even know such a person. However, just because someone else has a worse problem doesn’t mean your problem isn’t bad. The lie is setting the bar so low that anyone could clear it, then using it to justify your own behavior. In reality, no one else’s behavior matters. If your substance use is having negative effects on your life, then you have a problem.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.