Denial is the inability to accept our circumstances
Fair or not. Acceptance is not only vital toward the finding and understanding of a situation, but it is also invaluable when towards the pursuit of understanding reality and planning for the future (while also enacting change).
Denial is a state of mind where you distort or fully deny what is happening in reality. In terms of addiction to substances such as alcohol or drugs, denial is often used as a coping tool/mechanism to delay the truth. Lying to family and friends is just the beginning. Often the family need help as much as the addict
Denial is actually incredibly common especially when it comes to those battling with addiction.
A person in denial may do one of several things while in denial:
- Minimise the addiction, saying things like “it’s not that bad.”
- They may also rationalise their addiction, saying things like “It helps with work stress.”
- Thirdly they may also have self-deception, a powerful method of convincing themselves that things aren’t as bad as they really are.
Denial is used by addicts to continue on their addictive paths; This can cause incredibly devastating health issues, destructive consequences and harmed relationships.
How to overcome denial
Denial is not an easy thing to overcome. Sometimes, actually quite often, it requires a person to hit rock bottom before waking up and coping with the situation, their reality. Once a person has hit rock bottom, or somehow has realised the need for help, there are a number of methods that can be used to help overcome denial.
Note: some of these are not positive, and are results of denial; Nevertheless they can still overcome denial.
Therapy, journaling, consequences and education: These are powerful methods to remove the shadecloth of denial, and include professional assistance (of which First Step can be of assistance!), writing and recording, the actual repercussions denial can cause and the learning of addiction.
In conclusion, denial is essentially a coping mechanism that addicts use to rationalise their addiction. Denial can vary in length of time, from years to just a few short weeks. One thing is certain, as long as denial persists, treatment cannot take place in earnest, and often results in relapse.
At First Step, we can assist you with denial, awakening and the journey to recovery.