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What Does Denial Have to Do With Addiction?

If a person does not believe substance abuse is a problem, it is hard to change the behavior. Even if personal destruction is caused by addiction, they may remain oblivious to it. Denial is hard to overlook and, so long as the person cannot see past it, they will lack motivation to stay sober. Denial has a lot to do with addiction, but it can be overcome with some support.

What is Denial

Denial refers to a refusal to admit the truth. It is a defense mechanism where people reject aspects of reality they don’t want to face. Most people experience some level of denial about things that make them uncomfortable but denial and addiction are difficult to face.

Denial as Coping Mechanism

Denial is one way to cope with what challenges people face with addiction. The benefits of denial can help a person cope, just for a time and:

  • Give time to adjust to a challenging life event
  • Prevent people from making rash decisions
  • Help protect a person’s ego from suffering

Living in denial tends to be a bad thing that leads to suffering. When people use denial, it can be a means of continuing to abuse alcohol or drugs, rather than face tough realities.

Half-Truths

People with addiction can be quite skilled at bracketing off parts of life to boost denial. An alcoholic may be too ill to drink on a certain day, but later this can have control over their drinking. Going without a drink may support the idea that they are not alcoholic. The person with addiction will ignore other aspects of their life that do not support their drinking or using drugs. People with addiction will use half-truths along with denial as justification for continued substance use.

Escaping Denial

Escaping addiction denial is hard because a person will not know how to start. A number of ways can help push past the denial:

  • A trained addiction therapist helps people with substance use issues come to terms with problems
  • Journal of addiction can help highlight the issues as a person may not realize how much they’re drinking
  • Fellowship meetings can be helpful to hear from others even if they don’t believe a problem exists
  • Reading educational material about addiction and recovery

Denial is possible to push past, with some perseverance, and a focus on the end goal of recovery from addiction.

Denial is hard, but pushing past that to recovery is rewarding. Call us to find out how we can help you focus on your needs in treatment. Your recovery is our number one goal. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 844-339-6964