Pushing Past Denial
Denial is the most significant roadblock to substance abuse recovery. This defense mechanism is how alcoholics or drug addicts to protect themselves from the truth of their addiction.
A person lying about their addiction or refusing to discuss it may be the first indicators of denial. At this point, the alcoholic or drug addict may realize that their substance use or behaviour is becoming a problem, but may not recognize the depths of its effects.
As time passes and problems related to the addiction accumulate, denial becomes the addicts’ means of psychological survival. Even though it’s an unconscious process, it’s also the most common method they use to manage their fears.
It’s common for addicts to be fearful. They may be fearful of others finding out about their addiction, or of the legal and financial consequences of their behaviour catching up to them. They may also fear the loss of their relationships over their addiction. Most of all, they may fear their withdrawal and life without their addiction.
Denial also encourages addicts not to acknowledge the addiction, and treat it as if it doesn’t exist. It convinces them that the painful thoughts, emotional conflicts, and stressful anxieties surrounding the addiction are someone else’s problem. Denial makes them think that if others would stop bothering them, the problem would go away and everything will be fine.
As one of the people who love and care for the alcoholic or drug addict, you know that what they’re thinking isn’t true. Despite this, you have to realize that your loved ones are highly invested in maintaining their state of denial. You also have to realize that the patients may have a great deal at stake in admitting the truth. They may be using their addiction to deal with more painful and difficult problems.
If you want help in convincing your loved ones to admit to their addiction, call us. Once in our care, we’ll help them find other means to deal with their problems apart from substance abuse.