In order to make a change when it comes to using drugs or alcohol, it’s necessary for a person to admit they have a problem. When a person has destroyed their lives and the lives of those around them but continues to drink or use drugs, they are in denial. Denial means they are unable to see the real problem. An addict or alcoholic in denial will come up with numerous excuses or reasons for why they drink or use drugs, but will never admit they have a real problem.
More about the reasons behind denial.
In terms of the psychological reasons behind denial, many experts believe that refusing to face the truth about a situation is a defense mechanism. This means a person is subconsciously refusing to accept things in their reality that create unpleasant or uncomfortable emotions. An addict or alcoholic will create a very strong sense of denial that becomes quite difficult to work through. This is often one of the first and most difficult barriers to recovery.
A person’s defense mechanism can be described as a psychological strategy to protect their ego from anything that threatens it. Defense mechanisms are not always bad, some work in a way that is actually beneficial. Other defense mechanisms can cause emotional pain, suffering, and trouble with relationships without a person even being aware of it. When an addict or alcoholic denies that they have a problem, it’s important to remember that they’re not lying about it, they simply cannot see what their real issue is.
Some of the common reasons given by someone who is in denial about their addiction or alcoholism:
-Other people are judging them.
-Life is stressful, so they need drugs or alcohol to relax.
-They hate their job or people at work stress them out so much they need to drink or get high.
-Drinking or using drugs makes their boring life better.
-People who don’t drink or use drugs are not cool or are uptight.
-Their family, friends, lack of opportunities, the government, or others are the real reasons their life is miserable.
These are just a few of the reasons given by someone who is in denial when confronted about their drinking or drug use. The list could go on and on. What all of these reasons have in common is that they are not the true cause of the addict’s unhappiness. Denial prevents a person from seeing the truth about their situation.
How can a person escape their denial?
The most common way an addict escapes denial is by hitting their bottom, This means that their situation becomes so bad that ignoring reality is no longer possible. This can happen quite suddenly and can be quite a shock. Hitting the bottom is actually a positive thing in that it gives an addict the opportunity to see the truth and seek help. If they fail to use the opportunity to make a change, they will likely fall back into old destructive patterns.
It’s also a good idea to stay aware of denial even during recovery, as many people do find other ways to deny reality even though they are sober. Some ways that this can happen include believing that achieving sobriety has made them perfect, thinking that their recovery methods will work for everyone, denying that they have cravings, denying that they have problems, or falling into other addictive behaviors.