What is Addiction?

    Rationalization and Addiction

    Rationalization and addiction.2:07

    There are countless ways to justify the use of unhealthy substances and behaviors: I am not hurting anyone else; I am not as bad as other people; one more time won’t make a difference. This constant negative reinforcement allows addiction to continue. Talk to someone you trust who can help you stay accountable for the choices you make every day.

    If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, find help at addictionrecovery.lds.org.


      Addiction almost always involves secrecy, lying, and deception: "I can quit anytime; I just don't want to," "I'm not hurting anyone else," or "I can't quit anyway, so what's the use?" Those struggling with addiction do this to avoid consequences.

      The problem is, we begin to believe our own lies, deceiving and manipulating ourselves until we cannot or will not see the truth. We may even try to find good reasons and excuses to continue using: "I am doing it to help me stay focused at work, and work is really hard." "If you were living my life, you would be using, too." "This makes me feel better and calms me down."

      It is also easy to minimize the negative consequences of a dependence on addictive substances and behaviors: "Everyone has weaknesses and faults, and this one is mine," or "I'm not as bad as other people," and even "A little here and there--yeah, that's OK."

      These rationalizations are huge obstacles that prevent full and lasting recovery. We may feel relieved that we've gotten away with it. Or we can drive ourselves into further denial by reinforcing our own self-destructive behavior. This constant negative reinforcement only makes things worse and enables the addiction to continue. It takes a lot of hard work to recognize and replace rationalizations with truth.

      One of the best ways is to talk to someone you trust who can help you see if you are being honest with yourself or if you are stuck in rationalizations. The truth opens up a whole new world where we can feel safe and become free of the addiction. If you or someone you love has a problem, get help. Want to learn more about addiction? Find help at addictionrecovery.lds.org.