Why Are Addicts So Good at Justifying Actions?

The late great Theodore Geisel wrote in one of his many many works, “You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.” This man is also known by many as Dr. Seuss. He was a brilliant man who conveyed simple life lessons in his books. With this excerpt, the simple idea he was conveying was to keep our eyes open and take everything in as it comes. This is more or less a metaphor for being open-minded and learning about yourself and/or the ways of the world, one might say. This is a fantastic mindset to grow and build in life. However, with addicts and alcoholics, we can tend to take things too literally and overdo them. We are great at turning those open eyes into blind eyes and doing whatever it is we please. The chemically dependent do not like to be inconvenienced and the alcoholic thinking upstairs is calling all the shots as justifying our actions for the things we desire becomes easier and easier.

Sitting back and reflecting on some of our more questionable decisions made, we see the impulsivity and regret beaming brightly between our judgments. WE are all human beings that make ghastly mistakes on a regular basis. We deal with the aftermath of a situation accordingly as it comes, but most of our questionable choices are downsized in our heads because justifying our actions is what we do. Our future selves probably hate us.

Looking but Not Seeing

Have you ever spent too much of your hard earned money in one quick sitting, knowing that you shouldn’t? Or told yourself that you would or wouldn’t do something specifically, and then you just went and ripped up that mental contract into pieces? Almost like kind of disregarding your gut feeling with things. I know any addicts and alcoholics reading this know exactly what I’m talking about. The amount of times we drew a mental line in the sand to not cross and then did back flips over after a little bit of mental anguish is too many to count. Whether we’re justifying actions or not isn’t even a thought that crosses the mind really when we’re in active addiction. When we’re using and deep in it, all morals and values usually kind of go out the door. We’ll say we’re not going to drink during the weekdays and end up getting plastered every night because it was a hard week at work. Another common one was that we wouldn’t spend the money in our bank accounts over the weekend, just to find the account in the negative on Monday morning. Or lastly a favorite of mine was always when we say we’ll never do something again and then days, hours, maybe minutes later- we find ourselves sitting in that shame again from justifying actions.  

What we often fail to realize is that the ramifications for justifying our actions don’t really strike until later on- hence the future self-comment mentioned earlier. One of the biggest things in this life that is a gift and a curse is the power of choice. Everything we do is a product of some form of resolution, minus involuntary actions like breathing. So if some form of internal conflict arises inside, we pick a side. Yet so many outside social factors affect the direction we head in and the Alice in Wonderland path we choose. This leads to justifying such actions that may affect us or others down the road.

what's your excuse

I always say life is but a collection of mistakes and learning and budding from them hopefully, (or not).  In the meantime, we continually do things we are not always proud of and have to second guess from time to time. The key is not beating ourselves up over said mistakes because they’re all necessary in some form or another for mental growth. However, trying to find a balance is the key to such stages of wisdom. When your different sided beliefs clash, it can be uncomfortable. Therefore, our minds tell us to side one way or another to relieve this. As addicts and alcoholics, we side with what gives us instant relief. We begin justifying actions and saying the ever famous, “I’ll worry about it later.” We play mind games and convince ourselves of a particular reality that is often exaggerated, distorted, or ignored. We want to believe what we want to believe but must keep in mind that everything isn’t as it always appears.

The thing is that even when we get sober and enter recovery, the justifying actions thing doesn’t stop there. Addicts and alcoholics are fantastic at stating they’ve been to enough AA or NA meetings already that week. We justify our relapses and alcoholic thinking saying it could always be worse. I hear of so many rationalizations in the rooms of recovery and each one has you scratching your head. “I can take steroids as long as I’m not getting high from them” “I can skip meeting my sponsee so meet with this chic.” Or even, “I haven’t had an urge to get high in a while; I don’t think I’m an addict/alcoholic anymore.” That’s as classic as they come right there.

Taking the time to do just a little bit of introspection and discovering the way we tick is crucial. In this life, you know yourself better than anybody else is ever going to. Figuring out certain attributes of ourselves and why we think justifying actions is okay is vital to the process of life. Decide whether deep down you want to keep doing something and paying for it later or to keep that impulsivity in check as we think about our choices before sticking them in concrete. The key to taking this step back is asking “why.’

Call Yourself Out

We all live different lives and encounter all sorts of experiences that end up getting looked over in one manner or another. In many situations with justifying actions, our minds are screaming one thing while our actions are only showing that of another. Don’t try and convince yourself that your addiction “might” work out in your favor. It’s a justification that’s not worth it. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 877-978-3125 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.

Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

    Travis B Avatar
    Travis B.
    12/07/2020
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

    Brandon B. Avatar
    Brandon B.
    1/16/2020
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

    Brenda A. Avatar
    Brenda A.
    1/01/2020
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/13/2019
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/06/2019

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