If you love an addict, chances are high you\u2019ve doubted yourself. When they deny the addiction, you wonder if you should believe them. Addiction denial is powerful. Both the addicted person and their significant others often fight the label of \u201caddict.\u201d There\u2019s an old and highly inaccurate belief that addiction is simply a matter of a weak will or moral failing. Who wants to saddle a loved one with that diagnosis? So you question and deny the addiction, right alongside them. 10 Addiction Denial Excuses & the Truths to Counter Them For someone to get help, they have to recognize there is a problem. Sometimes it\u2019s pressure from friends and family that finally moves them. Here are 10 common lies people tell themselves that represent denial in addiction. They\u2019re probably saying them as a coping mechanism, but an addict in denial only delays addiction treatment. 1. \u201cI can quit anytime I want.\u201d The ability to quit\u2014on their own, whenever they want\u2014is one of the most common claims of alcoholics and addicts. It\u2019s hard to disprove. If you say, \u201cThen quit,\u201d they might say they don\u2019t feel like it right now or it\u2019s not the right time, but they could if they wanted to. TRUTH: \u201cMy loved one hasn\u2019t quit. Whether or not they can is no longer the point. The level of substance abuse in their life is making life difficult and\/or dangerous. I will not enable it.\u201d 2. \u201cI\u2019m under a lot of stress. That\u2019s the reason I\u2019m drinking so much.\u201d Many addicts cite the need to destress for why they drink or use drugs. They might also claim they wouldn\u2019t need to use, if... \t\u201cI had a better job.\u201d \t\u201cMy wife didn\u2019t nag me.\u201d \t\u201cI wasn\u2019t so financially stressed.\u201d TRUTH: \u201cMy loved one\u2019s substance abuse is nobody else\u2019s fault or responsibility. Substance abuse to deal with stress is still substance abuse. An addiction that develops during stress is still an addiction.\u201d 3. \u201cMy drug use or drinking is my business. I\u2019m not hurting anyone else.\u201d Nothing could be further from the truth. Addicts are commonly moody, unpredictable and unreliable. Sometimes they cause ongoing stress and worry for the ones who love them. They may drive while intoxicated, hurt themselves or others or get into legal trouble. They put a burden on the healthcare system because of the impact addiction has on their body and brain. They aren\u2019t as productive at work or as available as a parent as they could be without drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse takes an enormous financial toll on society and a big emotional toll on families and the addict themselves. TRUTH: \u201cEverybody around them feels their addiction, even if they don\u2019t know what it is. They walk on tiptoes to keep from setting them off. The ups and downs of their cravings and fixes prevent anyone from enjoying their company. Their ability to work and provide for themselves and others diminishes every day they go further down this path.\u201d 4. \u201cI only drink on the weekends.\u201d Binge drinking is a common form of alcohol use disorder (AUD). Unfortunately, it tends to be accompanied by even more denial than regular drinkers have. A person does not have to drink every day to have a problem with alcohol that requires treatment. According to the DSM-5, AUD can be diagnosed with just 2 of the following 11 criteria. Whether someone only drinks on the weekends or every day, they should ask themselves the following questions. In the past year, have they: \tHad times when they drank more\u2014or for longer\u2014than they intended? \tMore than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn't? \tSpent a lot of time drinking? Been sick or getting over other aftereffects? \tWanted a drink so badly they couldn\u2019t think of anything else? \tFound that drinking\u2014or being sick from drinking\u2014often interfered with taking care of their home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems? \tContinued to drink even though it caused trouble with their family or friends? \tGiven up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to them\u2014or gave them pleasure\u2014in order to drink? \tMore than once gotten into situations during or after drinking that increased their chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, being in a dangerous area or having unsafe sex)? \tContinued to drink even though it affected their mental health or added to another health problem? Or continued to drink after having a memory blackout? \tHad to drink much more than they once did to get the effect they wanted? Or found that their usual number of drinks had much less effect than before? \tFound that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, they had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart or a seizure? Or sensed things that were not there? The weekend-only drinker may answer \u201cyes\u201d to many of these questions. TRUTH: \u201cThere are scary consequences to drinking too much\u2014ever. My loved one drinks too much on a regular basis, even if it\u2019s not daily. They need help to stop.\u201d 5. \u201cThat DUI was unfair. I wasn\u2019t that drunk!\u201d DUIs are serious business. When a person drives a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they are not 100% alert, regardless of how low their blood alcohol content (BAC) is. They are driving a lethal ton of metal, so they need to be totally in control. Consider this: \tAt 0.02% blood alcohol level, inhibitions are already slightly loosened, which may impact driving. \tBy 0.06 blood alcohol level (still within legal limits), all people experience judgment, perception and information process impairment. In a car, where the driver must respond quickly to unexpected situations, this level of impairment could produce a deadly combination. \tBy the time someone reaches the legal intoxication level (0.08%), according to Dr. William R. Miller, \u201cYou believe you are functioning better than you actually are. At this level, you may start to slur your speech. Your sense of balance is probably off, and your motor skills are starting to become impaired. Your ability to see and hear clearly is diminished. Your judgment is being affected, so it's difficult for you to decide whether or not to continue drinking.\u201d If your loved one received a DUI in a moment they thought they weren\u2019t very drunk, they were. Most people cannot recognize their own drunkenness and impairment. That doesn\u2019t make them safe. Occasionally, a normal drinker makes a mistake and drives after they\u2019ve had one drink. Perhaps they did it on an empty stomach, have a low body weight or just didn\u2019t wait long enough. If the BAC is well over the legal limit or if they get a second DUI, it\u2019s no longer just a single case of poor judgment. Normal drinkers get the message after one DUI. The embarrassment and financial cost are enough to deter future incidents. An alcoholic doesn\u2019t have the ability to make good decisions once they drink and will tend to get more DUIs. TRUTH: \u201cGetting a DUI was one of the most irrational things they\u2019ve ever done. They should know not to drive after drinking and may need to question what\u2019s driving their choices. Addictions aren\u2019t rational.\u201d 6. \u201cThe doctor prescribed the medications, so it\u2019s fine.\u201d Not all doctors prescribe with care, and not all patients are honest with their doctors. Opiates are the most commonly abused prescription drug, along with anti-anxiety and sleeping pills. If someone takes multiple pills that suppress the central nervous system, they are treading dangerous waters. It\u2019s important to look at how many prescriptions your loved one takes that are classified as Schedule II, III or IV controlled substances. Taking multiple different mood-altering drugs is risky behavior. If they have multiple doctors writing prescriptions or go to different pharmacies to fill them, these behaviors should set off warning bells. TRUTH: \u201cMy loved one may or may not be honest with their doctor. If things don\u2019t feel right about their medication use, they\u2019re probably not.\u201d 7. \u201cI don\u2019t drink in the morning, so I can\u2019t be an alcoholic.\u201d This is one of those old myths, similar to the I-only-drink-on-weekends myth. When someone drinks or what time they start is secondary to: \tHow much they drink \tHow it affects their behavior and life \tHow hard it is for them to stay abstinent from alcohol See also the criteria for alcohol use disorder in Excuse #4. It takes only two affirmatives to indicate a disorder. TRUTH: \u201cThe thought of skipping his\/her drink at __________ terrifies him\/her. Even when they\u2019re not drinking, they think about it and look forward to it.\u201d 8. \u201cI\u2019m not that bad. I know people who drink a lot more than me.\u201d Comparing how one person drinks to another is a trap. Everyone has a different metabolism and various factors that influence how they are affected by alcohol. Your loved one\u2019s concern should be how alcohol impacts their life. This addiction denial is akin to saying you\u2019ve only had two heart attacks and you know someone who\u2019s had four, so you really don\u2019t have heart disease. TRUTH: \u201cThere are a lot of people with addictions and substance abuse problems. I don\u2019t want my loved one to fall in that trap, no matter who else does.\u201d 9. \u201cI have a great job and never call in sick. I can\u2019t have a problem.\u201d High-functioning addicts often get away with abusing substances a lot longer than other people. There are people who have a drug or alcohol problem but maintain an outward appearance of being just fine. Having a good job, lots of money or great kids doesn\u2019t mean someone you care about doesn\u2019t have a problem. Encourage them to examine the areas of their life that could be better if they weren\u2019t under the influence. That\u2019s a more accurate way to assess the situation. TRUTH: \u201cMy loved one is suffering, and that\u2019s why they drink or use drugs. If they could face those feelings and stop, their life would be better. They also wouldn\u2019t be at risk of spiraling down and losing the things they love.\u201d 10. \u201cI only drink beer and wine, not the hard stuff.\u201d Old myths die hard, and this is one of those stories alcohol addicts tell themselves so they can keep drinking. If someone drinks six beers every night, they may as well knock back six shots of whisky. They are equivalent. What your loved one drinks is not important; it\u2019s how they drink and the impact it has on them, their family and their life. TRUTH: \u201cThey feel the need to drink. They drink regularly. They think about their next drink when they\u2019re not drinking. Drinking is part of their routine. These are all signs of a problem.\u201d Let Go of the Addiction Denial Nobody wants a drinking problem, and nobody wants a loved one to have a drinking problem. Nobody wants cancer either, but when you see signs of cancer, you seek treatment. The same should be true of addiction. Don\u2019t let addiction denial, excuses and shame prevent you from recognizing the illness and getting help. Addiction is a sickness. Fortunately, it\u2019s also treatable; millions of Americans are in recovery. They are proof that addiction can be fought. Contact Promises treatment center at [phone] today to take the first step or get advice about how you can help someone you care about.