Rationalizing Relapse: Mouthwash, Duster, Vanilla Extract, Etc.

Addiction tries to convince us we don’t have it, and that we’re like everyone else. It lies to us, which causes us to lie. It tries to kill us, and sometimes we let it. When it starts talking to us, it gets louder and louder. If we don’t do anything to silence it, we can literally be talked into anything it wants. It will even coerce us to try a substance we weren’t addicted to, because that substance will always lead us back to our drug of choice. What this disease can do to the human mind is truly extraordinary.

As an addict or an alcoholic, if you are on the slippery slope headed toward relapse, you can literally rationalize anything. For instance, you may think taking a big gulp of mouthwash could be considered accidental, or not even count as drinking, because it’s mouthwash. The same goes with vanilla extract. You may talk yourself into taking a swig because it’s a food product and flavoring, and not what everyone else considers alcoholic. Then there’s duster. There have been many an addict who have relapsed on duster, because it wasn’t their choice of meth or heroin, therefore, in their minds it didn’t count.

No matter what the substance is, if it’s mood-altering in any sense, it is a drug and your brain wants it. Once you’ve done whatever it is you’ve talked yourself into, doing it again is a little easier. At this point, you may have some guilt hanging over your head, because deep down you know what’s going on, but you can’t stop. Eventually, you’re doing other things and it isn’t long before you’re right back to square one: just you, your disease, and your drug of choice.

If you don’t want to end up at square one again, you need to take care of yourself and your recovery. We can never be too vigilant; if your mind chatter is getting louder, go to more meetings. If you’re feeling irritable and discontent, talk to someone about it.


If you’ve already relapsed, call us right now. The sooner you catch this, the better off you will be. Don’t let yourself spiral out of control again. The Lakehouse Recovery Center will get you back on track. When you’re ready to return home, you will have the tools you need to prevent relapse, and you will never have to go through this again. Give us a call. We are available 24/7, toll-free at (877) SOBER | (877) 762-3707. It’s not too late, you can recover, and your life can change.


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