Addiction is messy and causes chaos in a person’s life as well as for family and friends. One of the ways it disrupts a person’s life is by creating rationalisations for problem behavior. Alcohol and drugs may destroy a person’s life yet the individual will continue to engage in the destructive activity. Attempts to rationalise the irrational are part of the deception of substance use which seems like it provides an escape or a way to cope but really just creates more pain in its wake.
Mental Challenge of Addiction
People who struggle with addiction may try to justify their behaviour in the mind which is where things can fall apart. Excuses are made and rather than seeing addictive behaviour as the cause of the problem, the person is more likely to see it as a way to cope. Denial and cognitive dissonance may give the person with addiction the ability to explain away behaviour. This keeps people trapped in addiction for many years while some never move beyond the justifications.
Justifications for using drugs or alcohol may sound logical to the person but typically the following ideas are what keeps a person trapped inside addiction:
Alcohol or drugs give the ability to cope with stress in life
Problems in life are not caused by substance abuse, just bad luck or other people
People who complain don’t know how to have fun
People who do not drink or do drugs are boring
Substance abuse is a sign that someone is creative and special
People who complain are the real source of the problems
People in recovery are not helpful and do not understand substance abuse
The risks of using drugs or alcohol are greatly exaggerated
Even if addictive behaviour destroys lives, the person believes he or she is the exception
Addiction and Denial
Denial is a defense mechanism for coping with or explaining away behaviour. It means the patient refuses to face the reality of the situation. Human beings can use denial to protect the ego from having to confront its own mistakes and downfalls, which may seem like a good thing for a time. However, this does not fool anyone and is just a way for the unconscious mind to deal with uncomfortable realities. Short term denial may be useful but long term denial can have grave consequences, particularly for individuals with addiction.
Move Beyond the Logic
In order to escape the downward spiral of substance abuse and addiction, each individual needs to move past the illogical logic of his or her addiction. This happens when you are no longer able to avoid the reality of the situation and are able to:
Reach a point of being overwhelmed and willing to change
Maybe not lose everything but hit a bottom that feels hard enough to stop using drugs
Seek therapy to admit what is going on to create change
Be willing to trust people who have escaped addiction
Get introduced to recovery resources to get support for recovery
A person will not seek help until he or she is ready to get help. When that person is finally ready, he or she will be able to see the illogical reasoning of addiction for what it is and seek to move forward away from addiction towards recovery.
Castle Craig is a residential rehab centre focused on alcohol and drug treatment. We are Europe’s leading inpatient addiction rehab facility focused on helping you with our personalised programmes. Call us at 0808 231 9583 to find out more information.