Many people who struggle with addiction may be very difficult for others to understand. While their destructive and compulsive behavior may be obvious to their family and friends, the substance abusers can find a way to minimize, rationalize, and justify their behavior. For the loved ones of addicts, the addictive behavior can be frustrating. However, this cannot compare to the frustration loved ones feel when they see the truth behind the lies that addicts tell them and themselves. This is because addicts usually deny or justify their behavior and decisions by lying.
Addicts’ behavior may be illogical and they are usually so used to making excuses and lying about their addictions that they eventually start to believe the lies and live them.
- They are not addicted
- Life without alcohol and/or drugs is boring
- The pleasure that they feel the first time they tried drugs or alcohol will one day return as they continue to use. What they don’t realize, or fail to acknowledge, is that the pleasure will be hard to rekindle as their tolerance increases
- Those who complain about addicts or substance abuse, or judge drug users, are just jealous and close-minded
- Using drugs and substances, as well as experimenting with them, can increase energy, confidence, creativity, and productivity
- The addicted individual is different–he or she will not turn out like the other addicts like his friends or other people
- Other people who are addicted will suffer or get in trouble but this will not happen to him or her because they can control their substance use
- Life is meaningless anyway and it won’t be much of a difference if they do drugs
- It’s normal to drink alcohol or do drugs because other people do it
These lies become truth for addicts because they deal with cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is when a person holds two opposing ideas and it creates tension in the mind. This is dangerous for addicts because:
- It allows them to justify bad decisions
- It keeps them trapped in their ignorance or denial
- It creates an attitude of ‘me vs them or the world’
- It allows them to continue to hold onto their own lies, which they may even see as truths
In order to change this, they must:
- Adopt new ideas to equip them as they deal with their internal conflict
- Change their behavioral patterns so it aligns with their thoughts
- Change their thoughts so that their behavior will appear to be more rational
At times, addicts can only face the reality of their situation by hitting rock bottom. While some people come to this point, they don’t necessarily need to hit rock bottom before they come to terms to their situation. They don’t have to lose a lot, lose too much, or lost it all.
If you or your loved ones need help with addiction, don’t wait until it’s too late. Peel back the layers of lies or simple acknowledge the fact that you need help. While easier said than done, you can text or call us for guidance: