Regardless of the drug of choice, people who suffer from substance abuse disorders often deny or try to manipulate their way out of going to rehab. Going to rehab implies admitting that professional help is needed and it’s often a very stressful and trying time for family members and addicts.
Denial can take the form of full-blown refusal to accept the severity of the issue or partial acceptance or compliance that provides an explanation of their negative and self-destructive behaviour. It can also aggravate a number of other problems like anxiety or depression. This is because denial is actually a survival mechanism. The problem with denial is that is not a good long term solution to dealing with addiction and trauma.
Denial and avoidance also means refusing to accept the consequences and take responsibility. Denial is not the same as lying. Lying is a conscious act. Someone in denial believes on some level believes that they are in the right.
Here are just a few examples avoidance mechanisms used to avoid facing going to rehab or stopping drinking or taking drugs.
- I can quit any time I want
- I’m under so much stress
- My drug abuse or alcoholism doesn’t hurt anyone else
- I only drink or take drugs over the weekend
- Lot’s of other people also drives drunk
- These are legal prescription drugs so they are fine
- I don’t drink in the morning, so I can’t be an alcoholic
- There are lots of other people who drink more than me
- I have a great job, never call in sick so I can’t have a problem
- I only drink wine or beer, not the hard stuff
It’s not just addicts that can suffer from denial. It’s a very normal way for a person to deal with a traumatic experience. Accept that that everyone at some point in their lives has problems that they are in denial about, but just because a person is in denial about something does not mean it does not exist. Try to be open-minded and consider the motives driving denial and the associated escapist behaviour.
- Could it be possible that this person sees things about you that you do not?
- Are there elements of truth in what people are saying about drinking too much?
- Are you threatened by change or the prospect of going to rehab?
Going to rehab is one of the hardest but most worthwhile things you could do for yourself. It’s not easy, but living a life free from substance abuse is.