Am I in Denial?

Many of us have a very hard time facing the reality of our addictions. It can be much easier to turn a blind eye to them. Sometimes we are conscious of our addictions and don’t want to admit them to ourselves or to other people. Sometimes we’re not yet conscious of them. We ignore the signs of trouble. We distract ourselves from the truth.

Maybe a loved one has expressed concern. Perhaps your family has tried to stage an intervention. Maybe someone in your life has recommended therapy or a treatment program. How have you responded to these things? Were you open to thinking about their concerns and taking them seriously? Or did you shrug them off, tell them they were over-worrying or overreacting, tell them they had nothing to worry about? Maybe you got defensive and angry. Perhaps you accused them of trying to hurt you, or of creating an issue, or of transferring their problems onto you.

When we are in denial, it can be extremely difficult to be confronted with other people’s concerns. We don’t want people to be worried about us. We don’t want to be a burden. This might cause us to distance ourselves from people, so that we’re not troubling anyone, and also so that we can avoid the problem altogether. We would rather not face the issue, and we resent anyone forcing us to confront it.

Our denial about our addictions can create tremendous conflict in relationships. Our loved ones might feel as though they have to give up trying to help us, because if we can’t face the truth, they can’t force us to. You can’t make someone get help, or address an issue, or face something, when they’re not ready to. We might lose relationships because of this. Our loved ones might decide they can’t live with it anymore and might remove themselves from our lives altogether. This can be a very difficult experience that adds to the enormous weight of the pain we feel with our addictions. It can cause us to want to escape into our addictions even more, and also to be in even more denial. We might blame them for leaving, accuse them of abandoning us, and see ourselves as the victims, rather than owning up to our behaviors that pushed them away. We have a hard time taking responsibility and looking at ourselves and our actions with honesty and humility.

Take advantage of the various kinds of therapy at Riverside Recovery, including individual, family and group therapy, as well as recovery meetings and family workshops. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.