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Addiction & Denial

Posted by on in Drug Addiction
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The disease of addiction is a cunning and powerful force. It can hide in the shadows of other issues and problems, avoiding being singled out. It places the blame on situations or other people and refuses to be held accountable for its destruction. Often times someone struggling with addiction won’t realize what everyone around them sees; that addiction is ruining their life. Breaking free from the bondage of addiction requires a person to see through the disillusion of denial. If someone remains in denial, it is likely they will not grasp the reality of the situation until it is too late. Read about why denial is so common in the addicted person, and more importantly about how recovery starts when denial is overcome.

Roots of Denial

Since addiction is a relatively slow-progressing disease, problems and consequences of drinking or drugging may not appear until decades after it began. Most addicted people experienced some positive experiences using and drinking. Addiction can creep in slowly, like an assassin in the night, taking hold of a person’s life little by little. Often the person is not even aware of the dramatic changes taking place in their minds and bodies. Their families, friends, and co-workers sometimes notice the changes in their behavior and appearance.  So if other people noticed the presence of a problem, why can’t the addicted person?

In the mind of an alcoholic or addict, they correlate positive emotions, feelings, and memories with their drinking/using. To them, alcohol/drugs are a ‘cure-all’ for the stresses or daily stresses of life. It’s a means to relax, to celebrate, to numb out, to escape, to be social, to manage pain, etc. All the negative aspects of their addiction, they minimize or attribute to ‘bad luck’ or someone else. Subconsciously, their addicted mind defends their actions by denying the reality of the situation. Slowly the morals, goals, and aspirations of the person are lowered until the addicted life feels like the only normal one. When someone tells them that they have a problem, they can get angry, aggressive, prone to avoidance, withdrawn, etc.


Overcoming Denial

How does someone get through that mask of denial? Overcoming the denial of addiction can happen quickly or it can take years. For some of us, it requires a drastic experience or consequence to truly begin to examine ourselves. Others will start to question their behavior when the alcohol/drugs stop providing the relief and benefits they seek. As long as the person is intoxicated, it is hard to get over the denial. Once a person has detoxed, they can look back and see how powerful the hold addiction had over them was. Families of someone with addiction often feel powerless in helping them see the reality of their situation. In the full-force of someone’s addiction there is often little the family can do to bring about recovery. Facts, emotional appeals, and logic often are not enough to persuade the addict that they have a problem which needs to be addressed.


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