For people who are obsessed or addicted to anything, whether drugs, alcohol, smoking, eating junk foods and many others, quitting is easy. You can say that you have done this a hundred times. As Mark Twain puts it:
“It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times.”
When you start your recovery process, you know that you have just taken the first step to sobriety and to life. The arduous journey is just beginning and the real challenge lies in staying stopped.
The following thoughts may have struggled their way in your head at some point:
- This is just my way to unwind. I’ts not hurting anybody.
- I can start staying sober tomorrow.
- I just really need my fix/drink today. I’ll start again tomorrow.
- I just can’t take these problems, I need to use.
- My family will never know.
- I provide for my family and wife so this is fine.
- I can’t quit.
These are EXCUSES. These are the things that you make yourselves believe so that you can justify your addictive behavior. You rationalize what you are doing so that it makes sense and you can continue doing it without dwelling on the guilt.
To be more blunt, these excuses are the things you use to justify and even defend something you know deep in your heart is harmful and destructive. These excuses sabotage your life because it interferes with your recovery. More problematic is when you have become so accustomed to these excuses that you don’t know you are making them.
So how do you counter these excuses?
You use REFUTATIONS.
You refute your excuses and make a regular exercise out of this so that you are aware of harmful thinking habits that support your addiction and bring you down. Refuting your excuses help you pay closer attention to your excuses and evaluate your thoughts and make sense out of them.
Here’s how you can refute your excuse:
1. For a recurring or current excuse you use, create a list of 5 to 10 meaningful refutations – – statements that disprove the excuse you are using.
2. Write these refutations 3 times a day for at least 30 days until they are ingrained in your thinking.
3. Whenever you have the urge for alcohol, drugs or other addictive behavior, identify the thoughts that make “using” seem reasonable. Then refute these excuses.
THE REFUTATION EXERCISE
Now think about the excuses you often use.
And then counter them with the following refutations:
1. I’ve used this excuse hundreds of times. It hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. It always has led to the next time.
2. I’ll feel better tomorrow if I don’t drink or get high today.
3. This “time” could mean losing my job, ruining my career or destroying my relationship.
4. How many days is this one going to last?
5. I don’t HAVE TO indulge this “last time.”
6. I’m lying to myself, pure and simple.
7. I can change this statement to: “No more times!”
8. I’ll be better off now and better off tomorrow with: “No more drugs or alcohol!”
9. Since I choose to use, I can choose not to use.
10. If I choose not to use, the discomfort I’ll feel will be temporary, not forever.
Are you having a hard time staying stopped? Or do you want to stop? Whatever stage you are in your recovery, it’s never too late to seek help and support. Call or text us: