Top 10 False Beliefs of the Young & Sober

Young people talk themselves out of seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction. Writer, Julia Taft, has been in the same shoes and shares their thoughts.

There are many false beliefs among young people getting sober, we can either walk through them, or fall from them. Hopefully, we will experience the truth and to come to believe that sobriety is achievable and share about it with others. Here are some common negative stories young people tell themselves


1. “I am too young to get sober!”


“Young people may be encouraged by this man’s experience to think they can stop, as he did, on their own will power. We doubt if many of them can do it, because none will really want to stop, and hardly one of them, because of the peculiar mental twist already acquired, will find he can win out. Several of our crowd, men of thirty or less, had been drinking only a few years, but they found themselves as helpless as those who had been drinking twenty years.” Pg. 33 Paragraph 2 – Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous


2. “I have not used drugs intravenously.”


“Some of us can answer without hesitation, ‘I am!’ Others aren’t so sure. Cocaine Anonymous believes that no one can decide for another whether he or she is addicted. One thing is for sure, though: every single one of us had denied being an addict. For months, for years, we who now freely admit that we are cocaine addicts thought that we could control cocaine when in fact it was controlling us.”

“I only use on weekends,” or, “It hardly ever interferes with work,” or, “I can quit, it’s only psychologically addicting, right?” or, “I only snort, I don’t base or shoot,” or, “It’s this relationships that’s messing me up.”

These are all the excuses we use to deny the truth – if we cannot stop using despite the negative consequences we experience – no matter what drug or drink it is – if we black out, pass out and do things we would never do sober…then it really doesn’t matter what the substance is…it’s addiction! – Who is an Addict? – Cocaine Anonymous


3. “All my friends are drinking and using drugs.”


Honest communication with friends is very helpful. Many of them were on the same page with me quitting my drinking. Others I had to recognize as friends who were perhaps sick like me also, and rationalizing their behaviors with support may have kept them in denial as well. I had to change my perception from rationalizing, “it’s the cool thing to do,” to, “it’s the right thing to do,” and then look at how I may be of service to those friends.


4. “I have not gotten a DUI, lost a home or had a divorce.”


Coming in AA young many of us were not in a position to lose the wife, lose the house or the six-figure salary. We had reached spiritual bankruptcy long before those were attainable. Since there are so many coming into the rooms before 21, it’s probable most may not have gotten the DUI, but tend to ignore the fact that they have countless possessions and drug related offenses.


5. “I’m not 21 yet.”


Finding ourselves in recovery and never having a legal drink, sometimes suggests the lengths we may have gone to in order to get a sense of ease and comfort without being at the legal age. However, many young people are alcoholics or addicts without being 21.


6. “What if I try sobriety and it doesn’t work?”


“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” Herbert spencer.

Try it first before you make a decision. Go to at least six meetings in different part of town and listen for the similarities. If you like the beach, go to meetings by the beach. If you’re into city life, go to meetings in the city. Do you feel more comfortable with just a few people instead of a crowd or vice-versa? Try smaller meetings or big speaker meetings. Womens meetings? Men only? Look in the AA Meeting Directory to find the right meeting for you.


7. “I will get sober for a few months and then “I’ll be able to drink again.”


Alcoholism is a progressive disease.

“We are like men who have lost their legs; they never grow new ones. Neither does there appear to be any kind of treatment, which will make alcoholics of our kind like other men. We have tried every imaginable remedy. In some instances there has been brief recovery followed always by still a worse relapse. Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing as making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic.”
Pg. 30-31 – Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous


8. “If I get sober my life will be over/boring.”


“We have been dealing with alcohol in its worst aspect. But we aren’t a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn’t want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life.” Pg. 132 – Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Los Angeles is the center of the recovery universe and as such, it’s the example that other cities, states and countries aspire to do in demonstrating how young people can still have fun. YPAA (Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous) and ICYPAA (International Young People in A.A.) are the two largest organizations dedicated to young people in sobriety. Planning conventions around the world – ICYPAA Prague 2014 and AZYPAA (Asia Convention in Tokyo 2014) with meetings, dances and outings keeps the young people’s sober community growing. Groups of sober friends form everywhere and go to baseball games together, surf, date, attend movie nights, host parties and have a ton of fun. There is never a dull moment in sobriety.


9. “I am not an alcoholic, I only use drugs.”


Many young people misinterpret the word alcoholic, thinking it pertains only to alcohol abuse. Yet the disease of alcoholism runs deep within thinking and perception. Alcohol and drugs are but a symptom.


10. “I’m only sober for my family, him, her, work, school.”


“Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.”

“My whole attitude toward life and other people is changing. For me, the first “A” in our name stands for Attitude. My attitude is changed by the second, “A” in our name, which stands for Action; by working the Steps, attending meetings, and carrying the message, I can be restored to sanity. Action is the magic word! With a positive, helpful attitude and regular A.A action, I can stay sober and help others to achieve sobriety. My attitude now is that I am willing to go to any length to stay sober!”


  • Leandra
    Posted at 13:55h, 22 July Reply

    Sadly I have also heard the excuse “I’m not an alcoholic because alcoholics drink as soon as they get up and I don’t drink unless it’s after 5…apart from weekends!”. It’s one of two things in my opinion, first being denial of the situation and/or secondly, lack of education to what makes an alcoholic.

  • Yanis
    Posted at 14:30h, 24 July Reply

    I have heard a few of these excuses and my advice is silenced because I am seen as an old bore trying to tell them how to live their life instead of trying to show them that it is the same behavior whether we are 17 or 56.
    I guess that is my problem as people need to live life themselves and can’t live through our experiences.

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