I do not think that one addict can honestly say that they have not dealt with denial in some way, shape or form. For that matter I think that every human being has probably found themselves in some form of denial at some point in time. However, addicts take denial to an extreme where it endangers their and their families and friends mental health and stability. For the addict it may even result in death.
Denial can be defined as a refusal to acknowledge or accept reality or what is true. Addicts use denial as a defense mechanism and in many cases denial runs so deep that the addict is unaware that they are using it. I have heard that denial is the acronym for “don’t even notice I am lying”. In addictions people will use denial because they do not want to feel helpless or out of control. They will also use denial for fear of losing the drink or drug which is usually their best solution to life’s problems. Step 1 of the twelve steps states that “We admit we are powerless over our addiction and our lives had become unmanageable”. As you can see step one directly deals with breaking through denial. Step 1 calls for addicts to admit that they have a problem with substances and because of that problem their lives have become chaotic and unpleasant. Denial includes such behaviors as projection, rationalization, intellectualization, minimization, suppression, withdrawing, and using geographic escapes. Denial shows up as the primary psychological symptom of addiction, they go hand in hand with one another. This makes sense considering that someone would use no defense if there were in fact nothing to defend. There are two types of denial that we see in addicts, the first appears as a way to not address the problem while using, the second comes when we deny or ignore things that we know are true while in recovery. This commonly includes examples such as “I can hang out with my using friends, I just won’t use.”, or “I can drink alcohol, drugs were my problem.” Or even “It takes more self control to have one glass of wine rather than abstain from everything all the time.”. We can bust the voice of denial by telling others our thoughts and listening to their reaction, if more than a couple people do not think that it is a good idea, it probably isn’t. They say that sharing our thoughts out loud takes the power out of them. We can also call our sponsor, go to a meeting or pray for clarity and guidance.