Substance abuse and addiction will control a person’s life to the point of being unable to function without it. Friends and family can stage an intervention and request the user go into treatment. To which the user may supply a list of excuses and attempt to explain that he or she can recover without a treatment facility.
Even at the suggestion of having an addiction, many will respond with excuses that they are in control. In reality, they are afraid and need help. Comprised below is a list of common excuses for substance abuse and addiction, paired with the rebuttals to shut the excuse down. Use these for the times when you have to go toe-to-toe with a professional addict.
1. The substance helps me to be successful at work:
Alcohol and drugs cause problems and less success at work. When someone has an addiction, the cravings control their life and make them believe the substance helps them perform better.
Rebuttal: Explain to them, needing a substance for success hinders and gets in the way. A study done by the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University finds cannabis to lower creativity and limit productivity in individuals. Someone may argue that in small amounts it can help benefit their creative outlets and they are wrong. In low doses, there is no effect and in high doses creativity is lowered, hindering productivity. The study is available for view on The National Center for Biotechnology Information — NCBI– through Pubmed.
2. Drinking or using drugs helps me be creative:
Artists and musicians alike have expressed the notion that substance abuse will lead to creativity. This belief is wrong.
Rebuttal: Explain while the use of illicit substances may appear to help with creativity, it actually causes the artist to build dependence on the substance and burn out. NCBI displays an example through the career of Jim Morrison. Morrison was a heavy drinker and substance abuser, damaging his creative motivation and burning out. Following through with creativity can lead to global success, a creative legacy and royalties which continue to make money for an artist; as seen in U2 and Bono’s career.
3. I need alcohol or use drugs to be social:
While alcohol consumption at parties can produce a few laughs, substance abusers will say that it helps them to loosen up and be more gregarious.
Rebuttal: Substance abuse affects neurotransmitters in the brain and can alter the sense of judgment and memory. Tell a loved one his or her abuse can lead to embarrassing and unpredictable behavior as well as harm towards others. We all have had that relative or friend completely ruin an evening or outing with ostentatious and mortifying behavior.
4. I just want a bit of relief/ need it to unwind:
This is a classic Red Herring excuse to divert attention. Someone may say that at the end of long day in a hectic life, they “need ____ to relax.” “To take that away, would take away the one good thing in my life.”
Rebuttal: Mention The National Institute on Drug Abuse — NIDA — explains how drugs affect the transmitters in the brain and flood it with chemicals. “Overstimulating the system with drugs, however, produces euphoric effects, which strongly reinforce the behavior of drug use—teaching the user to repeat it.” They will not be able to relax or function without the rewarding results of the drug, making them more likely to become agitated without the drug.
5. I am too embarrassed to reveal I have a problem:
According to David Sack, M.D., friends and family will most likely express relief instead of judgment when they hear a loved one is going into rehab. In reality, most will be aware or see a sign of the addiction before someone admits to it. In being afraid of embarrassment and trying to hide their addiction and delay treatment, substance abusers only further embarrass themselves.
6. If you had my life/problems then you would drink/use this substance too:
People who abuse an illicit substance to cope with a bad day become used to the effects and need more to feel a reward. This is another attempt to victimize the user and make it seem as if no one else could understand them.
Rebuttal: Mention that life is full of problems and traumatic situations, but substance abuse will only be a cause an increase as opposed to helping.
7. I can’t afford help or treatment:
Sack also finds this as an excuse seldom based on fact or research. All it takes is one story or mention of the supposed “expensive price of treatment” and people assume they could never afford it.
Rebuttal: A response to this comment is many treatment centers offer payment plans and sliding pay scales to help pay some of the cost. Also offer to help them search for treatment centers and their rates. Ask them how much their addiction costs them. How much do they spend on the substance and how many opportunities have they missed out on because of the addiction?
8. I have seen other people enter rehab and relapse, so why should I?:
This excuse is one of the worst, since the user is giving up without even trying.
Rebuttal: The best response is rehabilitation usually includes relapse and is sometimes described as “two steps forward and one step back.” Addiction is defined by NIDA as a, “chronic relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” Also, people will try to only go through detox and assume that is the end of the story, they are cured. Detox is only the first step, preceding rehabilitation. Rehab is a long road, but a road no one has to travel alone.
Sovereign Health Group Provider has a facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida which includes drug and alcohol addiction, mental health, rehabilitation and dual diagnosis treatment. If you or a loved one exhibit signs of substance abuse or addiction, please do not hesitate to call 866-269-2493 and begin the path to treatment.
Written by Nick Adams, Sovereign Health Group Writer
Sovereign Health Group is a leading addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment provider. Call our admissions team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the help you deserve.