As you see your loved ones drinking or drug use spiral into an addiction you will start to sense a lot of denial. We all use denial at some time in our life whether consciously or subconsciously to justify our actions to ourselves and others. Classic examples of this is a child hiding their report card so they don’t get punished, or a dieter telling themselves that one chocolate bar won’t make a difference. These examples are only harmless; however for an alcoholic or addict, their denial can lead to their death. Denial allows an alcoholic or addict to start rationalising their behaviour, blaming other for their behaviour, acting out in anger, and lying to those closest to them. Denial may cause them to hide drink around the house, or blame their parents for their problem, anything to avoid accepting their addiction.
Denial not only affects the alcoholic/addict, but affects those closest to them. A wife, whose husband tells her that her nagging causes him to drink, will adapt the unhealthy behaviour of trying to keep quiet and out of his way, to give them one less excuse to drink. You may also start justifying it to yourself by telling yourself that everyone drinks a little too much every now and again, or convincing yourself that the problem isn’t as out of hand as it actually is. A family member in denial can unknowingly enable their loved ones drinking or using.
The alcoholic/ addict and the loved one end up supporting the addiction by continuing to avoid seeing the drinking or using as a problem and by not telling others what is going on.
These thought processes become your way of life and denial becomes part of you. It protects us from the truth because often have the wrong perceptions about substance abuse because we don’t understand it.
A loved ones drinking/ drug use will only continue to get worse unless the family member breaks through their denial. It can’t get better until denial is stopped.
If you’re worried about a loved one, call us to find out how you can help today.
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