“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
So said Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, inventor, and coiner of pithy phrases. Ol’ Ben is on to something here when it comes to substance use disorders. If you’re making excuses for why you aren’t getting help for your problem, odds are your problem will prevent you from being good for anything else. After all, a substance use disorder can upend your life—including your job, your education, your relationships, and more—in so many ways.
If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, it is time to identify and reject the excuses that are keeping you from getting help.
Excuse: I Feel Better When I Am Under the Influence
Maybe you are experiencing emotional or physical pain (or both) and are turning to drugs or alcohol to find relief. Maybe your emotional pain is due to childhood trauma or your physical pain is chronic. In any of these cases, drugs or alcohol might seem like an easy way to dull the pain. But the long-term effects of substance use will, in the end, make you feel worse rather than better.
If you enter treatment for your substance use disorder, your doctors and therapists will be able to help you address emotional and physical distress in healthier ways, ranging from therapy to nutritional changes to mindfulness and more.
You just have to give up the idea that only drugs or alcohol can ease your pain.
Excuse: I’m Doing Just Fine Right Now
To an outsider, it might look like you have your life together: success at work or school, a family, a nice house, lots of friends. And you may figure if you have all of that going for you, your drinking or drug use must not be much of a problem. But high-functioning addicts are still addicts—and they need help. Waiting until everything falls apart—and it will—is a terrible approach. It would be so much better to come to terms with your problem now by getting the help you need.
You just have to give up the idea that a problem that others can’t spot isn’t really a problem.
Excuse: It Would Be Embarrassing to Enter Treatment
We all create a public face to show the world. We want that public face to exude confidence and competence so that people around us will like and admire us. Often, that means we avoid any situation or decision that might make us look weak or foolish. Or we avoid telling others what we need because we are afraid they will disapprove.
It is perfectly natural to feel this way, but it is essential to remember that addiction is a disease. Just like any other disease, it requires treatment under the supervision of an expert. It isn’t shameful to seek help for a significant health issue. It’s necessary.
You just have to give up the idea that the approval of others is more important than your long-term health.
Excuse: I Need the Drugs or Alcohol to Have Fun
Maybe you’re an introvert, and you find it easier to let your guard down when you drink or use drugs. Or maybe you just think things are more fun when they are “enhanced” by drugs. But if you think substance use is the best way to have fun, you probably need to rethink the potential consequences.
When you are under the influence, you are likely to make decisions you wouldn’t otherwise make. Maybe you’ll decide to drive when you really shouldn’t. Maybe you’ll have a risky sexual encounter. Maybe you’ll start a fight. You might even think this behavior is fun while it’s happening. But the consequences, both short-term and long-term, can be quite serious indeed.
You just have to give up the idea that you can’t have fun when you are sober.
No Excuses: We’re Here to Help
At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we know that the decision to seek treatment can be a difficult one to make. We also know it’s the right one to make. So when you are ready to put your excuses—and your substance use disorder—behind you, we’re ready to honor that decision with compassion and expertise. Whether you are seeking help for the very first time or need to return to treatment due to relapse, we won’t judge you. Instead, we will help you find the way forward. Are you ready? Because we are.