10 Excuses Why Someone Hides Their Addiction

Nobody ever intends to become addicted. However, substance abuse is a very slippery slope. Even though it starts out as a willful, conscious behavior, the escalation of one’s alcohol or drug intake coincides with the development of physical dependency. The result is the inability to forego alcohol or drug use without experiencing strong cravings and physical discomfort.

As a substance abuse problem develops, most addicts lie to themselves or others concerning the reality or severity of their chemical dependence. In fact, addicts will often try to hide, justify, or rationalize their substance abuse with one of a number of different excuses. Therefore, the following are ten of the most common excuses that addicts give to either hide or rationalize their addictions.

#1 – “It Was Prescribed by My Doctor”

When the individual is abusing a prescription drug, one of the most common excuses that he or she will use to justify the use of the substance by asserting that it was prescribed by his or her doctor. This is often a preferred excuse because of the belief that nobody will question their drug use if he or she believes the individual is merely using a substance that’s prescribed to him or her for some type of medical condition. The addict hopes that this excuse will cause others to accept the substance use due to not wanting to interfere with some type of medical treatment.

#2 – “I Need it for Pain”

It’s also common for addicts to explain their use of chemical substances by insisting that their drug use is due to some type of physical affliction involving pain. With this excuse, it’s likely they’re assuming that others will assume the pain is from a condition that’s been diagnosed and perhaps even medicinally treated by a physician.

#3 – “I’m Just Going Through a Tough Time Right Now”

If the substance use isn’t attributed to a medical prescription of painful affliction, many addicts will justify their substance abuse by explaining that they’re only using because they’re going through a difficult time. This excuse implies that the substance abuse is only temporary, which addicts believe will make others more likely to overlook the substance abuse due to their thinking that it’s a new behavior that will quickly abate.

#4 – “I Only Use Socially on the Weekends”

Since there are many individuals who drink alcohol “socially”—drinking only on occasion while in a social setting—many drug addicts will try to use the same excuse for their substance abuse. Rather than hiding their drug use, they try to downplay the severity by explaining that they only use drugs every now and then. The idea behind “social” drug use is that addicts are hoping others will accept drug use that’s only occasional rather than regularly.

#5 – “I Need it to Take the Edge Off”

Addicts will commonly explain their substance abuse as simply being a means for them to mellow out and relax. This excuse often implies that the individual deserves to get intoxicated due to having worked a full workday or because of some other moderately strenuous activity. Using this excuse, addicts assume that others will see their substance abuse as being warranted in order to relax after a long and somewhat intensive task. In other words, this excuse is explaining drug use as being a means to unwind.

#6 – “I Know it Looks Bad, But I Don’t Have a Problem”

This is an excuse that indicates overt denial of a substance abuse problem. At this point, they’re no longer able to hide their alcohol or drug use completely and have reached the point of trying to minimize the severity of their substance use. Addicts using this excuse hope that others will accept their insistence that they don’t have alcohol or drug problems at face value, even in spite of evidence to the contrary.

#7 – “It’s This New Medication I’m Taking”

In much the same way as the addicts who insist that the drugs they’re abusing are actually prescriptions from a doctor, some addicts will explain their substance abuse as being a medication they must take due to some recently-diagnosed affliction. Again, it’s the addicts’ hope that identifying the substance of their abuse as a legitimate medication will make others less concerned or more accepting of their substance abuse. This is also seen as a way to allow addicts to use around others without having to worry so much about what they’ll think about it or whether others will try to object.

#8 – “It’s Not Hurting Anything”

Another very common excuse is addicts’ tendency to state that their excessive alcohol or drug use isn’t hurting anyone. The idea behind this excuse is the misguided belief that if habitual overuse of mind-altering substances isn’t hurting anyone, it’s not really a problem. However, this excuse also exhibits denial as it’s virtually impossible for an individual’s substance abuse problem not to hurt him or herself at the very least; in fact, it’s unlikely that an addict’s substance abuse problem isn’t also hurting or affecting someone other than him or her.

#9 – “I Could Stop If I Wanted To”

Again showing overt denial, addicts will commonly insist that they’re able to stop using alcohol or drugs if they wanted to. In effect, they’re stating that they continue to use chemical substances simply because they’ve not yet wanted to stop. The implication of this excuse is that the individual believes himself or herself to be capable of easily ceasing his or her substance abuse, but is consciously choosing not to do so.

#10 – “It’s Not Very Much”

When an addict is trying to convince others that he or she is not addicted, the individual will often explain that he or she isn’t using very much of the substance. This implies that using less of the substance makes it safer, less addictive or less dangerous. In short, addicts using this excuse are saying that they should be allowed to continue abusing alcohol or drugs as long as they’re not using too much. Interestingly, this excuse implies an acknowledgment that substance abuse is harmful and dangerous, but the individual is trying to placate worries by explaining that he or she is using less than an amount that would be harmful and dangerous.

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