5 Common Excuses That Addicts Like to Make
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5 Common Excuses That Addicts Like to Make


happy hourIf there’s one thing addicts and alcoholics are good at, it’s making excuses. It’s like we’ve all got our Master’s degrees in excuse-making, without ever even having to study or work for them! We just did what we did and were who we were, and we totally aced that sorry subject! But I digress.

Keep reading for five common excuses that addicts tend to make to continue doing exactly what they’ve been doing. You’ve probably heard these before, and if you don’t quiiiiite identify as an addict yet, but you think you kinda sorta maybe might have a problem, take special note!

1) Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t I?

Addicts enjoy adopting this ’90s-era Cranberries refrain (remember the Cranberries? remember that album? so good!) to justify their ongoing compulsion to get messed up. It goes a little something like this: “Bob and Marty and Cynthia and Rhoda all drink—some of them way more than me—and they’re totally fine! It’s not affecting their lives at all. In fact, everybody I have ever ever seen drinking outside at a sidewalk cafe, ever, like I am desperately begging you to do with me right now is, like, so totally A-OK. See? Look how happy they are! Look how mellow they’re feelin’! Honey, it’s just a little pitcher of sangria. It’s almost summer! It comes with chips and salsa! And why the f*ck do they get to do it if I can’t?”

2) Drinking/doing drugs is an intrinsic part of my professional success and you can’t take that away from me.

Ah, good times–using one’s office culture or chosen career as the Thing that automatically legitimizes their excessive consumption. Like this: “Alllllllll my coworkers go out for Happy Hour after work on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and that’s actually where we do our absolute best, most inspired brainstorming and strategizing. It’s like Mad Men, but without the Don’s-an-alcoholic part! If I skip out I’ll look totally weird and dorky to my coworkers, and like I don’t give a crap about my job, and my boss will wonder where I am, and he seriously might actually fire me if I don’t make an appearance for just one measly hour” [which turns into five hours plus cocaine in the bathroom]. Uh yeah…No.

3) I can stop whenever I want!

Oh God, this is one we’ve all probably heard–or whipped out ourselves in various awkward and uncomfortable instances—many a-time. This classic excuse is sooooo common, and it plays into the line of thinking that addicts are choosing their own adventure, calling the shots, making the conscious choice to get f*cked up, and just generally running the show in a way that’s clearly derailing their entire lives: “It’s no big deal, really—I’m choosing to drink like this. Seriously, don’t worry about me; it’s utterly benign and petty and all under my control. NO, SRSLY, I CAN TOTALLY STOP! I just don’t choose to stop yet! I will choose to stop eventually, one day, maybe! Get off my ass, bitch!”

4) Drinking/doing drugs is part of my brilliant legacy and special-snowflake creative identity.

I can relate to this one because I’ve been wont to fall into its pathetic trap at random times throughout my life—not just with drinking or drugging, but with depression, anxiety, etc. This oh-so-brilliant excuse goes like this: “Don’t you know who I am? Hello, all critically important mega-artists and writers and creators and Super Amazingly Talented Famous People Who Achieved Great Things (most of whom eventually killed themselves, too, but let’s conveniently ignore that truth for now) used alcohol or drugs to enhance their art. Actually, they wouldn’t have even been the deep, pensive, thoughtful mythical creatures they were without their misery and f*cked-up-ness. I simply cannot be expected to write or make art without my drug of choice, so you can back off and pry it from my limp, suicidal hands, dude.”

5) I’ve never done x, y, or x, so hello, I clearly have the opposite of a problem.

This kind of rationalization is a “yet” phrase, busted out by nearly every addict or burgeoning addict at some point in their illustrious using career. Sound familiar? “I don’t actually have a problem, because I’ve never gotten a DUI (yet). I don’t actually need your help, because I haven’t lost my job (yet). My habit is, like, totes innocuous because I haven’t made my marriage implode or cheated on my wife (yet). Do not even think of staging some embarrassing intervention, because all addicts obviously go to jail for public intoxication or petty theft or driving drunk or getting in a fatal car accident, none of which have happened to me (yet), because I’m soooo in control!”

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and CNN.com. Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.