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The Sober Chick’s Favorite “Fool’s Rules”
In this episode, the Sober Chicks discuss some of the “fools rules” that addicts use to justify their behavior. We humorously breakdown the thinking behind those justifications, lay out why it can be so destructive and share examples of these “rules”, many from our own personal experiences. We talk about how as clinicians we work to deconstruct that mode of thinking with our clients and how we even changed our own addictive thinking.
The Most Commonly Used “Rules”
- Liz’s classic, “Winston Churchill drank every day during WWII… And he defeated the Nazis!”
- I don’t drink in the morning… Therefore I’m not an alcoholic.
- I’m drinking by choice, not because I have to!
- I only binge on the weekends, I don’t drink during the week. (Maintenance vs Binge Drinkers)
- I don’t get drunk every time!
- All my friends drink, so it’s normal!
- I only drink certain types of alcohol. I’m a connoisseur of fine wines/craft beers!
- I’m only affecting myself, not loved ones.
- I still ________ (Fill in the blank, ex: get good grades, succeed in the workplace, show up on time), therefore I don’t have a problem.
Many of the rules we hear from individuals struggling with addiction are based off social constructions of what an addict “looks like.” The idea that
you’re only an alcoholic if you don’t show up to work, or drink in the morning, is a dangerous misconception. Many patients with addictive disorders justify their behavior because it doesn’t look like the stereotypical image of how addiction is “supposed” to look. Many people that are binge drinkers, drinking only on the weekends, don’t realize that they have an addictive disorder because they aren’t maintenance drinkers. That makes it even more difficult to recognize that there is an problem and seek treatment for it.
The Social Justification
Between the ages of 18 – 24 tends to be the heaviest drinking period for most young adults, however many adults phase out of that and stop these unhealthy drinking habits. Many individuals struggling with addiction use the fact that many of their friends are drinking/smoking as heavily as they are, as a means to justify their behavior. It is only recognized as a problem when the friends that used to justify the addictive behavior stop partying and the individual that has been struggling with addiction is left as the outlier.
With wine tastings and craft beers all the rage these days, we are seeing more clients who use their love of fine wines and craft beers as a justification for their substance dependence. Some people do have the
ability to enjoy alcohol for the taste and not abuse it, often those that are prone to abusing the substance use, label themselves as connoisseurs or collectors to mask their dependence issue. The person that can’t handle when people “spit” at wine tastings (because that would be a waste of a good sip of wine!) might have a problem.
For more on this issue, Sober Chick, Sarah Allen Benton published an article on Psychology Today, check out her blog post here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-high-functioning-alcoholic/201510/fools-rules-justifying-drinking
Remember to take your sobriety seriously, but not yourselves too seriously!
– The Sober Chicks, Liz & Sarah
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with addiction or any other mental health issue please feel free to contact us. Insight Counseling is located in Ridgefield, CT, we have a great team of mental health professionals that can help. Contact us through email at [email protected], or call: 203-431-9726.