You know what they say, Denial ain’t just a river in Africa!
One of the most pervading and delusional aspects of addiction is our ability or inability to differentiate the truth from the false during our using. It is actually quite common for addicts and alcoholics to see somewhat of an entirely different reality than what it is actually in front of them.
Denial is a very natural thought process for everyone on the planet, however, it is usually only associated with death, loss, or a sad event. However, for addicts, denial presents itself as an entire lack of perspective in many different regards. For example, an addict is never fully aware just how bad their disease really is, and for the most part, or at least in my own experience, active addicts often think they have the whole thing pretty well hidden from their friends and loved ones.
The concept of denial generally stems from a skewed perception in the mind of addicts and alcoholics. Most people, even non-alcoholics, don’t want to admit that they are flawed, or that they may need help sometimes. That being said, it comes as no surprise that addicts and alcoholics, who suffer from a disease of the mind, care to admit that they don’t have everything under control. It can be a hard pill to swallow, especially when none of us ever meant to become an addict.
Did you ever tell yourself, when you first started using that it would never happen to you? That you would never let it get that bad? And then once it started to get that bad you would say, well once I start getting sick I will stop, until it turned into, well I can’t stop or else I’ll get sick.
This is the end result of almost every alcoholic or addict, we never find ourselves as children, when our teachers ask us what we want to be when we grow up, saying that we want to be hopeless drug addicts and alcoholics. It just sort of happens, and the disease doesn’t discriminate. People from all backgrounds, colors, financial statures, and education levels can find themselves falling down the rabbit hole that they never thought they would end up in.
The only problem is, how do they get out? The first step of every twelve step program is admitting that we have a problem. For the alcoholic and addict whose whole world was centered around the denial of their addiction and the denial that they needed help, this can be a huge wall.
Understandably, it may take a lot of people a long time to finally get into the rooms and accept step one, to accept that they have a problem, and to accept that whatever they have been doing in the past hasn’t worked for them.
So in fact, our denial is one of the most detrimental aspects to any sort of substantial sobriety.
Take it from me, the Queen of “De’Nile” (that is a pun)
The first step in recovery is abandoning our belief that we are in control over our addiction, we have lost all power. Leading up to this, most of us will probably have experienced a pretty life changing event in which we felt utterly and completely hopeless, AKA, rock bottom. For myself, this bottom was the moment that I finally realized that could no longer deny the severity of my addiction. I was a broken soul, beyond any form of human aid. I was out of options. I thought I had everyone else fooled, but I was the only one that didn’t see just how bad I had really gotten. I needed help. So finally, I reached out for help.
Sobriety would come a few months at a time, until the day when my mind would convince me that I was all better, I had been cured by a few short months in the rooms of AA, I didn’t need the program. I truly started to believe the denial my mind fed itself, I separated myself from the rest of people, I detached from any logical thinking, everything that I had learned. I relapsed 5 times in a year.
Luckily, and by the grace of whatever God is watching over all of us, that fifth relapse was when I truly and finally admitted defeat. I could no longer deny that I was an alcoholic addict. I was “licked” as they say.
When I realized that denial was no longer a luxury that I could afford, I dove headfirst into my program. I started doing things in the program that I had been too afraid to do, I would introduce myself to others after the meeting. I started working with a sponsor. I started seeking out a Higher Power of my own, and I practiced being brutally honest with where my head was at.
And as much as I wished and hoped that this program wouldn’t work for me and that I could say, “well I tried it as best I could, but it didn’t work,” something changed in me. I don’t really know when it happened, but over time, my life just kept getting better, and as far as I know, I experienced this “psychic change” I heard people talk about.
I no longer wanted to use or drink. The obsession had been lifted. This opened the door to a life beyond my wildest dreams. I no longer have to wonder if what I am thinking is real or not. I have a sponsor and a group of sober supports who, when I tell them what is on my mind, can tell me if I am being irrational or if my mind is on the right track. In others words, I am slowly learning when and where I allow my addict mind to run wild, and how to stop it.
Denial is no longer a controlling aspect of my behavior. Today, I can see, for the most part, when I am being crazy or delusional, and I can always center myself to get back on track. For an addict, to let go of denial and to accept who we are- opens the door to our future.
Seeking Treatment for Alcoholism and Addiction
If you or a loved one has a problem with alcoholism or addiction and want to experience recovery in a thriving community with lots of people just like you, then call the professionals at Stout Street today at 866-722-7040. Our trained staff is standing by to take your call and help you in any way we can. We know how difficult of a decision this can be and we know what it takes to ensure you find your own person path in recovery. You no longer have to do it alone, so give us a call today and find the happy and sober life you’ve always dreamed of.