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In denial of reality: Another three damaging excuses made by addicts and substance abusers.

By Tim Woodley

It might just be you. You’re using drugs and alcohol, but you’re in control, right? When the thought of quitting rises up in your head, you’re ready to shut it down. You might even use one of these three excuses to do it, or any of the others from our previous articles on the same subject.

 

Excuse 8: Just like friends say, at least I don’t drink or do drugs like real addicts.

I have a job. I have a home. I’m paying my bills. I don’t inject, I don’t use heroin, I don’t use crack. I don’t drink every day.

The reality is that you don’t have to be injecting heroin and living on the streets to have a real problem with drink or drugs. The fact is most people that are using substances problematically are employed and do have a home.  Furthermore, there is always someone drunker and higher than you. By comparing yourself to others who are further down the spiral of self-destruction, you justify your own self-abuse.

Of course, all this really means is that the person hasn’t fallen quite that far. In time, this excuse makes it likely they will. Sometimes other people, while meaning well, simply cannot see what really goes on day after day.  They might not know that you use every day, that your use is escalating or that you binge.  Friends may say, ‘What’s wrong with a beer or a line after work?’, or they may tell you ‘You seem fine to me, you don’t look like an addict’.  They may even have problems themselves and not realise it, or if they do, they don’t want to be alone in it so happy to keep you in their space.


Excuse 9: Everyone else drinks and does drugs.

It’s true that we live in a world that loves drugs and alcohol. Normalising your drug and alcohol use against this, however, is dangerous - particularly for those individuals that find they do not have a stop button.

 It’s a bit like type-2 diabetes; for many of those sitting on the cusp of this, it is a known fact that diet and weight is a key factor in preventing the move into being medicated. The world is full of lovely sweet and sugary things and people love this.

The downside is that, for some people, eating poorly and not looking after their diet will inevitably lead to diabetic medication and could progress to injecting insulin.

For these individuals, you just have to accept that these things aren’t for them - or if you do there are going to be consequences.

The real thing that matters? How much harm your drug and alcohol use causes you and others and how hard it is for you to stop.


Excuse 10: Life is full of problems and I’m going to die anyway. I might as well go out on my terms.

Many people that use drugs and alcohol feel like their life is pointless, too hard and full of disappointments. They use this despair to justify their self-destructive behaviour.

The reality? Using drugs and alcohol as a coping strategy lets you avoid the challenge of doing something meaningful or productive with your life. But once you quit, you can start to focus your energies on finding that meaning and solutions.  For many, using drugs and alcohol inevitably leads to creating more problems; arguments, relationship breakups, loss of work, financial issues, physical and mental health issues and so much more. If anything, it compounds the situation.

Using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism never solves problems. It may help you forget, but once out of a drug-infused state the problems are still there – and they’re a little worse each time.


You really do have a problem, and you really do need to do something about it.

You may fear the future and be terrified of facing the realities of your life, but recovery is possible. First, however, you must be honest with yourself.

Sometimes you will come up with reasons as to why you shouldn’t quit right now.  You may say, ‘The holidays are too stressful to be sober and drug-free’, or ‘Things are not going well at home or work’, or you may just tell yourself that you’ll do it soon but not now. 

Whatever reason you come up with to delay getting help should be carefully examined.  Is it possible things at home and work might improve if you weren’t taking drugs and getting drunk?  Is using causing tension with friends or family?  While there are many reasons that things may not be going well - and they may have little to do with drugs and alcohol - it’s certain that drugs and alcohol are not helping.  It’s best to get to the root of the problem and work on solving it, rather than resorting to getting drunk or high to mask your issues.

We can help. Visit this page of our site to see more on our affordable and flexible non-residential ‘Dayhab’ programme which opens up again on June 15th, or this page for our breakthrough online Digital Dayhab programme which you can access now. If you want to call us for advice and help at no obligation, it’s 0208 191 8920. You can also use our contact form. Take care.


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