Denial by both alcoholics, their friends, and family is one of the most powerful processes that keep the cycle of addiction going. It hides the damage and the importance the issue in ways that eliminate any chance of recovery. Facing facts with simple questions is a good way to confront denial and a key step on the road to recovery.
Anyone who has a drinking problem has engaged in denial at least once or twice but most likely all the time. The distortion in thinking allows the individual to continue drinking and keeps them from facing the real facts and truth about what their alcohol abuse is doing to them.
It should be very clear to an alcoholic that everything they have suffered and lost is because of their drinking yet most alcoholics refuse to acknowledge this fact and they continue to deny that they even have a problem in the first place.
Denial is integral to alcohol addiction, and it can be a big obstacle for someone who is trying to recover from this type of substance abuse. In spite of the obvious adverse consequences, the individual refuses to see what the alcohol abuse is doing.
Denial As Protection
Denial is part of alcoholism because it can affect more than just the person with a drinking problem. Many families cover up for the alcoholic or believe that the problem is chronic pain, an old injury, or something other than the disease of alcohol abuse and addiction.
Very often the alcoholic is so much more ‘pleasant’ when happily drinking that friends and families learn to tolerate and even support the drinking just so life doesn’t get as obnoxious as it could get in the absence of alcohol. That much is well known. However, what is rarely if ever talked about is how badly this kind of dysfunction ends.
Usually the stronger the addiction to alcohol the stronger the denial will be as well. Often family members and friends of the drinker will cover for them or try to protect them from facing the consequences of their alcohol abuse and actions. It is important for the alcoholic to face the consequences so that they begin to realize how alcohol is destroying their life, and finally, ask for the help they desperately need.
Confronting Alcoholism And Denial
For family members who suspect a loved one has an addiction problem asking themselves simple questions based on what they know can be helpful. For individuals who would like to assess themselves one good resource is the NIH website questionnaire.
If denial can’t be overcome by individuals themselves or their friends and family, and this is often the case, then an outside interventionist can and likely should be called.