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Can I Become a Functioning Addict?

As we know, the inner turmoil and conflict we feel around our addictions are some of the greatest sources of stress in our lives that feed our addictive patterns. Sometimes what we feel most conflicted about is whether or not we actually have to quit after all. We ask ourselves all kinds of questions that add to our feelings of conflict around recovery. Perhaps we can learn to function? Perhaps we’re not addicts after all? Perhaps we can incorporate our addictions into our lives and function normally even when they’re still active? Where does this reasoning come from? Why do we try to convince ourselves that we can become functioning addicts when our life experiences prove otherwise?

Normalized Drug Use

For many of us, our addictions have become not only dependence but a way of life. They are our comfort zone and what’s most familiar to us. We don’t want to give them up, so we rationalize how we can keep them in our lives and still function. Sometimes it is the cultural conditioning we’ve been exposed to, and sometimes it is our loved ones also struggling with addiction who might be able to be functional, which convince us that we can be functioning addicts as well. We see drinking or drug use as normalized, glamorized and even celebrated, by our loved ones and by mainstream media.

Rationalizing Our Drug Use

We justify our drug use with other people’s, telling ourselves that if they can cope with their addictions, we can as well. For example, we might have a loved one who is able to use in moderation, whose drug use never gets too out of control. Perhaps they never choose to self-identify as addicts. Perhaps they are living with functional addiction, where they can maintain their normal lives while finding ways to cope with their addictions. We might be tempted to tell ourselves that if our loved ones can find a way to function while not having to give up their drug of choice, perhaps we can too. 

Tricked Into the Moderation Myth

We feel conflicted because we know from personal experience that our addictions always overtake our lives and that we inevitably always spiral out of control. Spending time with these loved ones or seeing people using on television and in movies, however, can trick us into believing that we can learn moderation, that we too can be functioning addicts, that we can find some way to keep our addictions from overpowering us the way they have in the past. We continue to feel a great deal of inner turmoil around this issue – can we learn to function as addicts? Can we drink or use in moderation? If our loved ones don’t self-identify as addicts, do I have to? If everyone else is using, do I have to stop?

At The Guest House Ocala, we have personal recovery experience and over 12 years in the recovery industry. We have helped countless people recover, and we’re here to help you too. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information. 3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488