Denial & the power of acceptance

I’ve been thinking about denial and how it keeps us hooked. How does it work? How can a seemingly intelligent articulate human being be duped into this weird shame/denial spiral for years and years and years. Why does it take some people several rock bottom moments and why are some people still completely hopelessly in denial even in the face of liver disease and social services taking their children away?

Factors that contributed to keeping me in denial about my problem:

  1. My peers and husband were mostly heavy drinkers.
  2. Misinformation about how addictive alcohol is and what an ‘alcoholic’ looks like.
  3. The fact that I was highly functioning, working, raising children, running a household and doing it very well (untill the end where it all came apart)
  4. The social Stigma attached to addiction and being labelled an ‘alcoholic’
  5. The mistaken belief that this is a habit  and that you only need willpower to control it. (This one is rife especially among people who love to drink!)
  6. I hadn’t suffered major consequences around my drinking, I hadn’t lost my licence/job/car/house or family.
  7. The idea that once I’ve done therapy and faced my teenage traumas and angst I would somehow be cured and be able to drink like a normal person.

Type A denial is when a person sees, understands, and knows that they have a definite problem. When confronted about the problem they flat-out deny it, knowing that it is true. This type of denial is outright dishonesty or lying.

Type B denial is when a person is either partially or totally blind to a problem that they have. Through a hundred forms of self-deception, rationalization, justification and excuse making, a person can actually believe that they do not have a problem, when everyone around them sees this it is obvious. This type of denial comes from being honestly dishonest or by blindness.

I think most of us know deep down that something is wrong with the way we drink but it looks like alcohol first has to do some real damage before we will even consider that we might have a problem. Isn’t it tragic that we protect the ‘precious substance’ and not ourselves?

Once we accept that this is drug addiction and that there is no going back to ‘normal drinking’ the healing can start and the struggle can cease. I am so glad to be at this point because I have done my share of struggling. It’s a relief to accept reality the way it is. Accept the drug for what it is and accept that your relationship with the drug is what it is. There is so much freedom in that! So much peace.

 

 

 

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31 thoughts on “Denial & the power of acceptance

  1. This is a fabulous examination at some of the reasons we stay stuck in our disease. I would simply add that alcoholism is a disease. It’s an allergy. Alcoholics who pick up a drink cannot stop. They cannot drink like normal people. It is an affliction and the only way to permanently remove this affliction is complete abstinence. That is my humble opinion only.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s such a terrible stigma around alcoholics. When I was first searching for sobriety blogs I came across some that weren’t from RA’s but were talking about alcoholics in the worst possible terms and descriptions. I honestly felt so sad and ashamed. Even now if people ask me why I stopped drinking and I dare to mention the word alcoholic they recoil in horror and change the subject. No wonder people don’t want to admit that they have a problem – who wants to reach out for help when doing so gets you labeled as a bad person or liar or worse? If you don’t reach out for help (AA, treatment centres, etc) then you have to battle it alone and we all know how fun that is! Thank goodness for other bloggers who are going through the same kind of journey! Alcohol was my best friend during some terrible times, or so I thought, and I felt a protectiveness over that relationship which lead to denial to others and myself. The fact that I was a highly functioning one also helped with my denial. Now I kind of cringe a little bit wondering how often I reeked of wine during meetings, grocery shopping, picking up (another) bottle of wine, etc.
    (great post, hurrah!)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, I was convinced that all Alcoholics looked similar to The Bird lady in the movie Home Alone, Lost in New York. I compared a photo of myself next to her and there was no resemblance so considered myself safe. Complete stupidity really, telling myself a bottle of wine every night for 7 nights a week was normal. Plus I had never been pulled over for drunk driving and as far as I can remember didn’t embarrass myself by doing anything stupid at family get togethers. There you go, I ticked all the boxes I am officially not an alcoholic……🤔🤔🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All I know is that I don’t have a stop button. There were times I didn’t over do it but the times I did became exceedingly more often. My friends are in denial about my drinking but I think it’s because they don’t want to look at their own. All my reasons for staying in the cycle are so, so similar to yours.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There were times when I didn’t overdo it either and I thought I just had to ‘replicate’ that and I’d be ok. But of course the tolerance creeps up and then those times become more and more far between. Some of my friends thought I was being a drama queen about it all. The friends thing is really tough because I love being social. But now I love my ‘life’ more than trying to make other people feel comfortable. x

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Great and thought provoking post!!
    I used to think that when someone said, “You’re in denial,” that it was kind of a trite AA phrase that didn’t mean much and that was used too often. Now I know that it’s a huge deal. Denial, for me, was like a wall that is completely solid but see-through, and you have no idea it’s there until it’s 100 feet high. But the numbness of alcohol makes you sort of notice it, but also dismiss it as no big deal.

    I am rereading “Blackout: What I Drank to Forget” and the author says that even the thought of her own death didn’t alarm her because she felt like she was already dead. Today, sober, if I thought I was losing my health, I would be really alarmed! And take action. I felt none of that concern while drinking. Dying? So what. If anything, I would think about it in a melodramatic and abstract way, like watching the end of a sad movie that has gone on too long.

    Thanks again for the post — great topic.

    xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my god, that is so true re the melodramatic slant on it. I did that too. Thought everyone would finally feel suitably guilty if I died for not realising how sad and in trouble I was. See blame everyone else .

      Liked by 2 people

      • Me too! I would even go so far as imagining the service. So tragic! And you’re right — it was a kind of revenge for all those people who were currently mistreating me. And the drinking would make me all teary-eyed and over emotional. It occurs to me that that is like a child’s reaction, not an adults.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hurrah, you have a real talent for picking these things apart and writing them out in such a teachable way. We all seem to relate to what you say and I think wow she know me so well.
    Reading this I was stuck thinking about the one person who blogs that should be reading this over and over. I realise though it’s too harsh to think “why can’t others get it” when it took me years to get it myself.
    Excellent post (once again) I’m a little jealous of how well you compose these.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh my Ginger you are making me blush! I am no writer! I am just researching this addiction thing and I am trying to understand what is at work here, why I kept relapsing. I read my own posts over and over. I have to cement this information in such a way that it becomes part of my DNA, I’m THAT desperate to stay sober for keeps this time.

      Like

  7. Denial is a powerful force. I sat in denial and let it pull the strings in my life. Ego and pride are the henchmen of denial. Often it sounded like “sure maybe OTHER people have a problem, but not you. You’re special. You can handle this.” Like you mentioned, we rationalize and justify like champs. I certainly did. It was a new kind of normal for me. I truly didn’t understand how people made it through the day without any intoxicant. I didn’t trust those who didn’t drink or drug. How could they do it? What voodoo did they perform??

    Anyway, great post and glad I found you!

    Cheers
    Paul

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Along with a brilliant, spot-on post, there are such a wealth of ‘pearls’ in so many of the comments here that just ring so true for me. Aren’t we lucky – to have finally (hopefully!) found the ability to ‘get a handle’…AND that technology has made it possible to find such a wonderful community of understanding and support.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Great post! I was telling my mom today that I was not drinking for. 100 days and she automatically asked why can’t I have just one. I told her I can’t and neither can she. And she was not happy that I am not drinking. Sooo in denial!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. So thankful for this group. Is it denial to say I want it and I don’t want it? That I know one of anything doesn’t satisfy me? It is probable that I will have a glass of wine when I get home. Maybe not but maybe. Please don’t give me the boot. Does it truly help to blog??

    Liked by 2 people

    • “I want it but dont want it” is the cognitive dissonance that tightens the grip of addiction. That’s what makes it so gut wrenching. Yes the blogging helps! Even if you are trying to moderate, in fact especially probbaly because then you ahve a record of what alchol does. Nice to ‘meet’ you Mary. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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