These decisions happen in a second, and most of the time, have minimal consequences.
Many of us have said, “I’ll just do my work another time, it won’t be a big deal,” or
“I’ll just be a few minutes late, it will be OK,” or “I’ll start that health program tomorrow. What’s one more day?”
But without too many negative repercussions, this rapid rationalizing could quickly morph into…
“I’m only buzzed. I’ll just have one more drink. I only live five minutes away. I’ll be fine,” or
“I’m high already, but someone offered me something new to smoke. I don’t know what it is, but at least smoking is safer than using needles. And at least I’m not as bad as other people I have seen,” or “I’ll quit tomorrow.”
While this may seem dramatic, or unrealistic in its escalation, remember our mind can easily move that quickly, especially when it comes to indulgences, temptations, or when we are pressured by others. Within no time at all, we can find ourselves compromised, seriously hurt, or in trouble.
How did we get here? It all happened so fast. One choice at a time can lead us down this road. But we can rein our rationality in…
Spot the Situation
Are there known situations or circumstances where you notice or find yourself rationalizing or engaging in substances or behaviors that aren’t healthy for you? What are the locations, restaurants, work events, or activities where you justify harmful behavior? Who are the people who encourage this?
Check-In Honestly With Yourself—What Does Your Justification Sound Like?
Stating “I’m not as bad as that guy!” is harmful because there is always going to be somebody who seems to have it more together in life, and there are always going to be people who don’t seem to have it together. Rationalizing use by pointing to someone who is struggling more severely will always allow you to justify your behavior.
Statements such as, “I still have a job, and a place to live. What I’m doing isn’t causing any problems,” or “Just one more drink, one more hit, it’s just a quick car ride, or I just met this person, but they seem nice,” can cause problems instantly.
Assess Your Options
Is it best for you to disengage, stop, and head home? Can you leave safely? Is there someone you trust that you can reconnect with? While you can stay, justify, or indulge, is that truly a healthy and good option for you? If you are enjoying who you are with, but the environment is harmful, is there an opportunity to connect another time, maybe at a coffee shop, public place, or a daytime setting? Ask yourself, what option truly represents what I want for myself? How will I feel tomorrow about the decision I am going to make tonight?
If you are unsure what to do, set limits for yourself to stay safer in situations where your justifying can turn harmful, pause on drinking/using, and stay close to people you trust.
If you can’t leave on your own, call a Lyft/Uber or call a friend/family member to come and get you. Set limits for yourself in terms of socializing. Scale back or eliminate participation in events or activities where there are tendencies to rationalize destructive behavior.
Listen to You
What is for your highest good?
If you asked yourself if you feel good about your choices, what does your heart say?
Tune out or block peer pressure, voices, or encouragement to stay and party, from others.
Tune into yourself, listen to your gut, and trust what you hear.
What decision would you make if you showed yourself complete love and consideration?
If you were your own best friend, what advice or guidance would you give you about harmful rationalization, destructive behaviors, or self-sabotaging actions?
Even if many parts of your life are stable and still intact, taking action to address, heal, and stop a behavior can prevent further damage. With frequent justification or rationalizing of dangerous behaviors, one can truly only be a few decisions away from being seriously hurt, compromised, or in serious trouble. Your life doesn’t have to look or be a certain way before you ask for help. Waiting until the situation gets worse, or until the consequences are more drastic could cause even more damage.
The time to transform your rationality and choose better for yourself is now. You deserve all of the support, assistance, and help that you are seeking.
Feeling worried about your ability to rationalize substance use, but unsure how to stop it, or what changes to make? Or are you worried that although your use isn’t causing major problems right now, it could down the line? Contact us at Ashley Addiction Treatment, a residential treatment center located on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, in Northern Maryland. Our holistic services include mental health, spiritual supports, individual and group therapy, and life skills training. We are committed to your health, happiness, and well-being, and will walk the path of recovery by your side, providing comprehensive and therapeutic support every step of the way. We want you to have a life full of activities and commitments that empower you, uplift you, and keep you going on the path you want.
For more information, or to take the next steps, contact us at 800-799-4673.