The Destructive Nature of Rationalizations

The Destructive Nature of Rationalizations

One of the primary foundations of the new “you” that begins to be harvested in sobriety is the understanding that in order to really begin, and continue healing, we must have the capacity to be honest with ourselves. Obviously, being truthful within our personal relationships is also of utmost importance in recovery but if we cannot gain the capacity to be honest with ourselves, we can forget being honest with others. When we allow for the possibility of lying to ourselves, we unleash the potential of many different strategies that will eclipse the truth of what is good and necessary, in order to allow for rationalizations which, allow us to act how we want rather than act in the interest of what facilitates growth and healing.

Rationalizations are defined as justifications or excuses made with attempt to use logic in order to explain away our behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Rationalizations are often the precursor to relapse as well because this is the type of thinking we engage in when we try and justify why we could use just this one time, use responsibly, or use without consequences. While anyone who has suffered addiction knows very well this is not the case, if our desire to use outweighs our ability to be honest with ourselves, we can delude ourselves into believing our own rationalizations. A more common type of rationalization that has been acted out in individuals struggling to make a decision to be sober is manifested in a behavior known as “chipping.” Chipping is essentially a way for addicts who have accepted their addicted, but not yet accepted the responsibility that they need to adopt in order to combat their addiction. It is done by using drugs and or alcohol for a finite number of consecutive days and then taking a break so as not to get physically addicted to the drug in order to stop become addicted. This is a great example of the destructive nature of rationalization because we can see how the “logic” behind it isn’t logical at all and is actually compounding the addiction problem. The primary reason we need to be aware of our proclivity to make rationalizations is because not only are we playing with fire and will most likely be burned by relapse, but we are also losing valuable time as when rationalizations are present, progress is not.


Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.

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