Lies Our Addiction Tells Us
The lies our addiction feeds us can be dangerous, triggering, and something we need to be vigilant of in sobriety. When we get sober it is important to separate the voice of our addiction from our true, authentic voice.
We will someday be able to control our drinking/using
I wondered in my second year of sobriety if there was going to be a period where I could drink again. That was an interesting year, because I think the addiction was speaking loud. I wondered if I had a few years of sobriety that I could go back to drinking. I now see in my third year, that that thinking wasn't my true, honest and wise mind speaking. I am able to look back on my behavior and see periods of time with sobriety followed by using and going back to the exact same behavior within a short period of time.
Our addiction only affects ourselves
We do not live in a bubble. Our behavior will affect everyone around us. We may think we are hiding our behavior so well, that we can continue to use. I know I thought I was so good at hiding, and when others, especially my family told me how much it hurt them, all I could think was “but this isn't affecting you, I am the one doing this.” In retrospect I can see how selfish my behavior was. I was living in denial of the true ramifications of my behavior, and this makes sense, because when we are so ingrained in our struggle, we often have tunnel vision and cannot see the larger picture of our behavior.
Tomorrow will be different
I think this goes along with the instant gratification versus future consequences of using. We will rationalize our using and consistently say, tomorrow I will do better, I won’t drink or use drugs, or tomorrow I will be able to control what I do. Our addiction loves to lie and tell us we can continue doing what we are doing in this moment because of the future possibility that things will be different even if we do not change anything. It is only when we stop that we see, no day was different, and often they continued to get worse.
Our addiction wasn't that bad
I think of this as selective memory. A few years into sobriety I look back and can see the fun times, and with some time and distance also selectively focus on only those times. When I think like this, I have to remind myself of the bad times, and how that is no longer something I want in my life. The ability to reflect on only the positive is something to be mindful of in sobriety, because it can try to trick us to consider using again.
We have to have to hit a really low rock bottom to stop
This one resonates with me a lot. If we start to compare to others rock bottoms, we may think our behavior isn't that bad. We all have different lows or bottoms. I had some really low lows, and yet I didn't stop my behavior. When I made the decision to get sober, it wasn't about being in a low. I was sick and tired of feeling powerless and feeling like a victim. I was ready to make changes and knew I had everything to lose and everything to gain. Our personal decision to get sober doesn't have to be a rock bottom. It can be the decision that we are done falling any deeper into where our behavior is leading us, no matter where that is.
Sobriety is boring. How can you have fun sober?
Sobriety isn't boring! Boring is drinking, using, not remembering things, not participating in life. Boring is being unable to remember what we did the night before. Boring is staying home to drink versus go out with people. Boring is staying home, going in chat rooms, talking to strangers. Sobriety is not boring, because we are able to be present and active in our lives. Worried about not being fun in sobriety? I wasn't fun when I got angry drunk, I wasn't fun when I blacked out, I wasn't fun when I passed out. How was any of this fun? Fun is being able to be an active participant in our lives, be accountable for our actions, and realize we can choose what we do each day. Fun is what we make of it. I have never laughed as hard as I have in recovery and sobriety being totally coherent in all my being and remembering it to tell others later.
What lies has your addiction told you?
Sebelius, K. (2011, June 30). Lies Our Addiction Tells Us, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, November 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/debunkingaddiction/2011/06/lies-our-addiction-tells-us
Author: Kendra Sebelius
This is such a deeply meaningful article for me. I had 60 days yesterday (this is my first time in sobriety). I'm going to bookmark this piece.
Hi Kendra, great piece.
All mental illness tells lies. It's how we get into so much trouble. The lies sound _so_ true. More true than the truth.
What you've written here is so common with addicts (not one, but very familiar). Thank-you for saying it out loud for all the people that I know are battling with it.
(FYI, you can have a lot of fun not drinking. So much fun, I can't write it in a forum like this. Oh yes, alcohol seems like nothing comparatively.)
Thank you Natasha and I agree that the lies are dangerous because they sound so true! Such a great point I didn't mention.
I never did this in therapy or residential, and think it is a really good task for someone to do who is struggling. It can be really helpful to separate the lies from the realities, and so I hope this helps people see how dangerous these lies or rationalizations may be in our struggle as well as in sobriety/recovery/life.
I also SO agree with your FYI in the last sentence :)