When in active addiction, we must be master manipulators to continuously chase that next high. We think our lying is fooling everyone around us, but at the end of the day, we’re only fooling ourselves – the denial of our addiction keeps us trapped in that painful and miserable cycle.
In the U.S., approximately 23 million people suffer from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Sadly, only one in 10 of them receive proper treatment. Don’t be one of the nine others who haven’t sought help and continue to live in denial. Acceptance that you have a problem and seeking the help you need is the first step in the right direction. You can break the cycle.
You may be in denial about your addiction if you:
Avoid Conversation about the Problem
Do you find yourself dancing around the topic or changing the subject when someone brings up that you might have a problem? Or do you just ignore that it was even mentioned and carry on the conversation as if nothing happened? A major sign of addiction denial is avoidance of the issue, regardless of the method you choose.
Get Angry When Talking about It
At some point, you won’t be able to avoid the issue in conversation. When that happens, do you find yourself growing angry? Does your language become defensive? Does your tone become dark and your voice louder? Anger in response to accusations of substance abuse is natural and signifies feelings of shame and guilt surrounding your drug use.
Find Ways to Rationalize, Minimize, or Excuse Your Behaviors
Rationalization is one of the most obvious signs of addiction denial. Are you constantly making excuses for your drug use and erratic behaviors? Justifying your addiction with claims like, “I only drink, it’s not like I’m using hard drugs,” or “Drug addicts use needles, I just snort my drugs” allows you to think your problem isn’t as bad as others’ and keeps you caught in the cycle.
Place Blame on Everyone Else for Your Addiction
“I wouldn’t have to drink if you didn’t hassle me all the time.” “My mother abused me, I need to use to deal with that.” “If you weren’t always on my case, I wouldn’t use.” The examples are endless and you’ve probably used some creative ones of your own. Blaming others deflects the guilt you feel about your problem and allows you to deny your addiction even further.
Use the Successful Aspects of Your Life as Reason to Not Stop
Addiction affects people from all demographics and looks different from person to person. You may have a high paying job, are enrolled in a prestigious university, or raising a beautiful family and still be in the grips of addiction. Ignoring how your addiction is affecting you and only focusing on the things going well in your life is only prolonging your suffering.
Briefly Remain Abstinent to Get Everyone off Your Case
When approached, do you find yourself constantly telling your loved ones that you’ll cut back or that you’ll go get help just so they’ll leave you alone? After making these promises so many times and not following through, you might feel enough guilt to push you to finally go to a therapist or meeting and even stay clean for a little bit of time. Once you have gained some trust back and the peace you’ve been craving, do you go and use? This pattern is common in addicts who are living in denial of their problem and believe that they can control their use.
Refuse to Accept Help
The clearest sign of addiction denial is that you won’t accept help being offered to you. Your loved ones have come to you multiples times, maybe even had an intervention, and you denied the offer of getting help. An addict in recovery reached out to you and you simply ignored every option they presented to you. You’ve probably told anyone who has tried to help, “I can stop whenever I want. I can do this on my own.” The truth is that addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such. You don’t have to do this alone.