Denial in Recovery

Apr 12 11:31 2016 Dr Sadaqat Ali Print This Article

Addiction takes an influential hold not only on the addicted person, but on their loved ones and family members. Both the addicted person and their loved ones often fight the stigma of addiction because of the old and highly misguided faith that addiction is simply an affair of weak will or weak morality. In order for someone to get help, they have to first know about there is a problem. Sometimes it is the immense pressure from friends and family that finally moves someone to get the help they need.

Of the many challenges a family deals with,Guest Posting one of the toughest is dealing with a loved one with an addiction to drugs and alcohol. This challenge multiplies when the person suffering from the addiction is in denial about their circumstances. The first thing to do is to understand denial. This coping mechanism of addiction causes the addict to consider he or she does not have a problem. When confronting the addict, there is a good likelihood that he or she will simply reject any type of drug usage. If an individual does not believe that substance abuse is a problem for them they will be not likely to change their behavior. Even if the damage caused by the addiction is obvious to everybody else, it may not be so apparent to the addict. This is because one of the symptoms of addiction is denial. First, we didn't know there was a problem, then we didn't consider there was a problem, then we trim down the problem, then we believe we could handle the problem, and at times we even thought the problem had gone missing, all these are ways we stayed in various stages of denial. Denial can be passing on to as a refusal to admit the facts or reality. In psychology it refers to a type of defense mechanism where people subconsciously decline features of reality that they are not happy with. Those who are addicted to alcohol or drugs can have no understanding of their own condition which can cause by denial. Most people will experience at least some level of denial about things that make them painful but the addict develops a more firm type of denial that can be difficult to break in.

Denial is the natural tendency to keep away from the pain that is caused by thinking and talking about grave problems. By our very nature we don’t like to practice pain. So when we are asked to think or talk about things that cause us harm, we try to stay away from the pain by doing one of the following things:

  • Denying that we have problems;
  • Denying that our problems are grave; or
  • Denying that we are accountable for dealing with our problems.

A defense mechanism is an unconscious psychological line of attack that people use to help them handle with reality and guard their ego. The capability of the people to protect themselves in this way can be helpful but sometimes a defense mechanism will put off people from enjoying life. One of the most widespread used defense mechanisms is denial. Addicts who undergo denial will refuse to admit that they have a problem. When they do this they are not lying. Their denial can be so tough that they just can’t understand that it is substance abuse that is their genuine problem.


Most of us have an inclination to lie to ourselves. There are two causes for this: We prefer to see things in a way that causes the smallest amount of pain and gives us the easiest answer or the far-out: wanting to take the easy way out is the usual and likely predisposition in each human being. As an outcome, we all have a normal inclination to see things in a way that reasons us the smallest amount pain and give us the easiest answers.

We can start believing our own lies: some people call this being sincerely mislead, we believe in the truth of our opinion in spite of overwhelming and indisputable proof that we are wrong. We are not in reality lying to ourselves. We just don’t worry about the evidence because our minds are fabricated. We puzzle the way we want things to be with the way that things really are.

The term “denial” is frequently used in the addiction territory to clarify people who deny substance abuse problems. Denial is the affinity of alcoholics or addicts to either disown or distort variables related with their drinking or drug use despite of evidence to the opposite.

Some common declarations made by alcoholics who refute their disease include:

 “I could give up anytime I wanted to.” “I’d quit using if people would quit teaseling on me.” “If you were in my position, you’d do it too.” The addict is fairly first-rate at using denial to guard their substance abuse. They will be able to provide plenty of other explanations for why their life is chaos such as:

  • The genuine problem is other people judging them.
  • Their family stresses them out so they need to relax with alcohol and drugs.
  • They have a job they don’t like and a boss who makes their life unhappy.
  • Life is no fun without alcohol or drugs.
  • Their lack of employment prospect is the authentic problem.
  • Public who do not do drugs are strange and tense.
  • The country is being damaged by the government and this is why their life is so depressed.
  • The weather is too responsible.
  •  The genuine problem is that they do not have a good relationship.

Characteristically, the more rigorous the addiction is the stronger the denial. This is often mysterious and annoying to family members and others who care about the addicted person.

There are two kinds of denial: Type A denial is when a person sees, understands, and identify that they have a specific problem. When meet head-on about the problem they completely deny it, knowing that it is true. This type of denial is absolute deceit or untruthfulness.

Type B denial is when a being is also incompletely or totally blind to a problem that they have. Through a hundred types of self-deception, rationalization, explanation and justification, a person can essentially consider that they do not have a difficulty, when everybody around them sees this it is observable. This type of denial comes from being honestly untruthful or by loss of sight.

The control of the alcoholic’s denial may be so tough that it taken over to the alcoholic’s family and significant people in his or her life, compelling them that the alcoholic’s problem is something other than it is—feeble health, bad luck, accident proneness, depression, and a inclination to be inattentive and worried, a connote temper and incalculable other possible problems.



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About Article Author

Dr Sadaqat Ali
Dr Sadaqat Ali

Salma Basharat has completed her MSC in Behavioral Sciences from Fatima Jinnah Women University After completing BSC in Botany, Zoology and Psychology. She did her 6 weeks internship in psychiatric ward of Benazir Bhutto hospital. Her areas of interest are mainly relationship counseling and addiction counseling.

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