The Delusions of Justification

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The Delusions of Justification

At some point or another, we all take a step back and analyze where our life is heading(some more frequently than others). We sit back and reflect on some of our most questionable decisions made, like driving to the store on an icy road with a car that only had three tires on it. Or another instance we might be reminded of includes lathering chocolate pudding all over ourselves and driving to the store with a car that only has three tires on it. Then there was the time that we wrecked that car that only had three tires on it. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.   


We are all human beings that make mistakes, ghastly mistakes in some cases. We all deal with the aftermath of these situations the way we see accordingly. For addicts however, most of our questionable choices aren’t seen at all. We choose to ignore A LOT that is happening right in front of us. I mean we’re all guilty of minimizing our dealings, but camouflaging them is a whole nother story. The delusions of justification will mute all rationalized thought. They are largely responsible for the A.A. quote of, “Jails, Institutions, Death.”


What is a Justification Exactly?

Have you ever spent too much of your hard earned money in one quick sitting, when deep down there was a voice telling you you shouldn’t? Or have you ever told yourself that you would or wouldn’t do something specifically, and then you just went and ripped up that mental contract into pieces? That heavy feeling of disregarding your gut. That’s the delusion of justification for you.


In all actuality we tend to justify our actions mostly when they end up teasing our own personal belief system with some fashion of negativity. A feeling that collides with our original intended goal as the brain goes into battle with itself. I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve told myself I wouldn’t devour half the jar of peanut butter that I just bought from the store, only moments later coming out of a haze with an empty jar and a spoonful of shame. Somewhere in between while taking a breath is when the justification happens. Something inside says, “just worry about it later”. Regret then usually takes over. Unfortunately, the delusions of justification are not always as simple as ground up nuts. Often substances fill the spoon in for many.


The Power of Choice

One of the greatest gifts and curses in this life is the power of choice. We all take it for granted, but everything we do is a product of some form of mental resolution- minus involuntary actions like your heart beating and breathing. We decide to pick up the drink, and we also decide not to pick up the drink. So when this internal conflict arises, we pick a side. Yet what side of our brain do we pick, impulsivity or rationale? Addiction or recovery? Many external social factors will affect the direction we’re probably heading, but a few catalysts of justification to look out for include:

  • Disappointment/Discouragement  
  • Excitement/Celebration
  • Lack of Awareness
  • Lack of Caring
  • Negative Influences(People and Places)


Any of these can be the beginning to one huge mistake. Mistakes are required too. You see, life is but a collection of mistakes learning from some and repeating others. The idea is to make the mistake, learn, and never repeat.


Learning How to Break the Patterns of Justification

As with any predicament that occurs in life, it’s about laying out the facts and finding a solution. Most scenarios that we find a problem with are self-created. Sometimes just taking the time to listen to ourselves might be the difference between drink or none. A little self awareness goes a long way. Taking the time to do that little bit of introspection and discovering the way we tick is crucial.


In this life, you know yourself better than anybody else is ever going to. So figuring out certain attributes of ourselves is imperative. Decide whether deep down you want to keep smoking pack after pack and why you haven’t finally quit altogether. Or maybe take a look at why you don’t like the size of your body, but are unwilling to change your diet or even attempt to exercise. These are prime examples of justification at its finest. The key to taking this step back is asking “why’? “Why is it I like this particular item?” “Why do I continually allow myself to keep doing this?” “Why am I allowing this?”


Another thing to note of ourselves is that we are adaptive creatures that rule with emotion. Emotion is tricky too. Not only does emotion rule over our gray matter, but emotion is a thought process that can be felt physically. Some emotions can be quite overwhelming- in multiple ways to say the least. It is important when boiling down to big decisions that we keep our personal belief system and emotions separate; to the best of our ability. All it takes is one good mood swing and all our certainties and principles go right down the drain. All it takes is overcoming that justifiable mood swing, and it’s the bottle that could be poured down the drain instead.


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