If you want to know 20 things addicts may say when confronted and how to respond effectively, this is the article for you. Unfortunately, dishonesty is a common aspect of addiction. The truth is that addiction relies on the addict deceiving themselves. When they become comfortable with lying to themselves, it becomes a regular habit to deceive others.
Why Do Addicts Lie When Confronted?
Addicts lie when confronted to shield themselves from the painful truth that their substance abuse is spiraling out of control. It’s difficult for anyone to admit that they’ve lost control or that their willpower alone isn’t enough to overcome addiction, but that’s exactly what happens with addiction. Their alcohol or drug addiction takes over their decision-making and becomes their top priority.
Their entire focus can revolve around obtaining and using more of the substance, going to great lengths to avoid withdrawal symptoms, justify their actions, and ignore the harm caused by their drug use. To maintain their destructive behavior, they convince themselves of the lies they repeatedly tell. And when confronted, they can lie to you too.
20 Things Addicts Say When Confronted
Knowing how to respond when confronting an addict can make a big difference in helping them recognize their situation and seek professional help. If you don’t respond with care, they may feel criticized or judged, making them angry or defensive. The most important thing is to be mindful of your responses so that you can create a more positive and productive conversation.
Here are 20 things addicts say when confronted and how to respond.
1. “I don’t have an addiction”
The first thing an addict might do is deny their addiction. They may justify that they like it, it’s who they are, or they only use it occasionally. These statements are excuses people make when they can’t quit using drugs or alcohol even though they want to. They feel like they have to keep using, even though it’s causing them harm and affecting their health, happiness, and relationships.
How to respond: If they are defensive about labeling their substance abuse as an “addiction,” you can try helping them accept some of the negative aspects. You can say, “It’s okay if you don’t label it as an addiction, but it’s important to recognize when something has a negative hold on our lives. Have you noticed any patterns or behaviors you want to change?”
Read next: 10 Signs Of Alcoholism – Symptoms of AUD
2. “I need it to live”
Some people know that they struggle with substance abuse, but they find it difficult to imagine their life without it. Drugs and alcohol can alter the brain’s chemistry, leading to intense desires for the addictive substance. These cravings trick addicts into thinking that they cannot function without them.
How to respond: They may feel like they don’t have the strength to overcome an addiction or work through withdrawal symptoms, so it can help to support and encourage their ability to tackle anything. You can say, “It can feel like you can’t imagine living without it, but it’s important to remember that you have the strength to overcome this dependency. Many people have successfully overcome addictions and lead fulfilling lives.”
3. “I can quit whenever I want”
It’s natural to want to believe they can quit whenever they choose, but addiction is a complex issue. If they haven’t been able to quit using drugs or alcohol without experiencing strong cravings or withdrawal symptoms, it indicates that addiction has taken hold.
How to respond: It’s important to approach addiction with honesty and self-awareness. You can say, “If you truly believe you can stop whenever you want, it might be helpful to test that belief. Try refraining from substance use for some time. If you find it challenging or impossible, it could indicate that addiction is at play.”
4. “I don’t drink or take that many drugs”
The concept of “how much” is different for each person regarding addiction. What may be too much for one person might not be enough for another. As someone becomes addicted, their body adapts to the substances they’re using and develops tolerance. This means they need increasingly larger amounts of drugs or alcohol to feel the same effects they used to get from smaller amounts.
How to respond: A little bit can be too much for a drug addict, and they may not even know their drinking or drug use is increasing. You can say, “That’s good to hear. It’s important to make responsible choices and take care of our health. If you ever need support or information about substance abuse, I’m here to help. Remember, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance and be mindful of our consumption, even if it’s not excessive.
5. “I only use or drink once in a while”
Sometimes people may not experience addiction on a daily basis. For example, some binge drinkers can stay sober during the week while managing their responsibilities like work, parenting, or school. However, when the weekend comes, they find it difficult to control their alcohol or drug use.
How to respond: “Using substances occasionally can still be risky and potentially lead to addiction. The brain can become accustomed to the effects of drugs or alcohol, and the desire to use can become stronger.”
6. “At least I’m not…”
When someone justifies their own drug and alcohol use by comparing it to someone else’s habits, they are attempting to divert attention away from themselves. It is important to recognize that each person’s situation is unique, and comparing illnesses does not alter the fact that they may still have a problem.
How to respond: “Comparing yourself to someone else isn’t proving you’re healthy. You might be at different levels of addiction, but you still need treatment.”
7. “I just like the feeling”
This statement reflects the belief that substance use is solely driven by the desire for pleasurable feelings.
How to respond: “I understand that you enjoy the positive sensations that substances provide. However, it’s important to recognize that substance use goes beyond liking the effects. It can lead to physical dependence and cravings, where the body relies on the substance to avoid negative emotions.”
8. “I haven’t changed”
Addicts often use this statement to deny the impact of substance abuse on their personality and behavior.
How to respond: “I hear you saying that you believe substances haven’t changed you. However, drugs and alcohol can alter moods and perceptions and ultimately affect our behavior. It’s worth reflecting on the changes you may have experienced over time.”
9. “I’m not hurting anyone”
This statement reflects the misconception that substance abuse only affects the individual, not those around them.
How to respond: “I understand that you may not see the harm caused by your behavior. However, substance abuse does impact your loved ones, including family, friends, and me. It’s important to consider the ripple effects of your actions.”
10. “I can still do everyday things”
Addicts may believe their substance abuse hasn’t hindered or affected their ability to engage in regular activities.
How to respond: “I acknowledge your belief that you can still maintain your usual activities. However, prolonged substance abuse can affect your physical and mental health, affecting your ability to fully participate in what you once enjoyed.”
11. “That DUI wasn’t my fault”
Addicts may shift blame onto others for the consequences of their substance abuse, avoiding personal accountability.
How to respond: “I understand that you may feel like your addiction could be worse or isn’t as bad as someone else. However, taking responsibility for our actions is important, and blaming others prevents personal growth and recovery.”
12. “I don’t drink or use drugs in the morning”
Some individuals may believe that morning drinking, smoking, or using is the defining factor of a substance use disorder.
How to respond: “I want to clarify that drug abuse isn’t solely determined by drinking or smoking in the morning. It’s about the inability to stop drinking or smoking, even when it negatively affects your health, well-being, and relationships. The time of day doesn’t define the presence of drug or alcohol addiction.”
13. “I only drink or smoke [wine/beer/weed], so I can’t be an addict.”
This statement reflects the belief that the specific type of alcoholic beverage or drug consumed determines the presence of addiction.
How to respond: “It’s important to remember that addiction can occur regardless of the type of alcoholic beverage consumed. The key factors are the inability to control drinking and experiencing cravings, regardless of the drink or drug of choice.”
14. “I still have a job or go to school, so my drug use isn’t too bad”
Some individuals may downplay the severity of their substance abuse based on their ability to keep a job or attend school.
How to respond: “While having a job or going to school is commendable, substance abuse can still be a concern even if it doesn’t impact your job performance. Look at how it affects communication with coworkers or your actions when you get home.”
15. “My children don’t know about it”
This statement reflects the belief that children are unaware of the effects of a parent’s substance abuse and are not impacted by it.
How to respond: “I understand that you may think your (our) children are unaware, but kids are perceptive and sensitive to changes in their parent’s behavior. Substance abuse can significantly impact your relationship with them, even if they may not fully understand the situation. Their well-being is just as important as yours and mine.”
16. “I was prescribed these drugs”
It’s common for people to believe that prescription medications are always safe because they’re given by doctors and filled at pharmacies. However, it’s important to know that all prescription medicines have some risks.
How to respond: “I get it. You were prescribed those drugs by a doctor. It’s important to remember that even prescribed medications can have risks, and I’ve noticed you’ve been taking more than prescribed. “
17. “I only use drugs on the weekends”
Minimizing an addiction to a weekend vice can be just as bad or worse than continuous use. Addiction isn’t delegated to certain days of the week.
How to respond: “I understand that you may think using drugs only on the weekends is not a big deal. However, addiction doesn’t depend on the frequency or specific days of substance use. If you find yourself craving drugs, using them as an escape from life, and struggling to quit alone, those weekend indulgences may have developed into an addiction.”
18. “I need it to relax”
People with problems with alcohol or drugs can excuse their behavior by blaming stress, a specific event, a special day, or anything that gives them a reason to use their substance.
How to respond: “There are many ways to unwind and relieve stress without using drugs or alcohol. If you can’t seem to relax or calm down without using drugs or drinking alcohol, you might have more problems than simple stress. Have you thought about seeing a therapist?”
19. “My substance abuse only affects me”
Substance abuse alters a person’s personality and behavior and negatively affects those around them. Consider the numerous individuals encountered on a daily basis, such as coworkers, friends, and family. Unintentionally, even interactions with strangers like servers, cashiers, or bus stop companions can be affected by someone’s drug use.
How to respond: “I understand that you may believe your substance abuse only affects you, but the truth is that it impacts everyone around you, even if you don’t realize it. It’s important to recognize that your behavior isn’t just your own business, and what you do privately can influence your relationships with others. It’s all interconnected, and acknowledging this can help create a positive change in your life.”
20. “I don’t care”
The notion of “I don’t care” is a common form of self-deception among addicts. By convincing themselves that long-term consequences are unimportant and only the present moment matters, they can easily deceive themselves into believing that consuming another drink or pill or indulging in their preferred substance is acceptable. This mindset serves to rationalize their behavior and validate their addiction.
How to respond: “Long-term consequences are always attached to our actions, even if we don’t immediately feel their impact. It can be difficult to recognize these consequences when the daily act of drinking or using drugs doesn’t immediately result in negative feelings. Addiction has lasting effects, and merely getting through each day without considering the future isn’t healthy.”
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Contact East Coast Recovery Center
If you’ve gone through these statements and responses with a loved one, and they’re receptive to seeking help, contact East Coast Recovery in Boston, MA. Even if your family member or friend doesn’t want help, sending them our website or a description of our programs can help them understand you care and want to see them at their best. Call today, and one of our admissions agents can guide you through the initial addiction treatment process.