It is difficulty to think and talk about anything that causes pain or points out problems we don’t want to have. This natural tendency to avoid thinking and talking about painful problems is at the core of denial.
As we begin to experience the pain and problems caused by our addiction we get in the habit of not thinking about them. This is called AVOIDANCE.
When the problems get so bad we go into ABSOLUTE DENIAL. “No not me!” we tell ourselves and anyone else who will listen. We somehow believe that we if can deny our problems loudly and strongly enough they will go away. But they don’t, and a small part within us knows that we’re lying.
When the absolute denial won’t hold back the flood of pain and life problems, we start to MINIMIZE. “OK, I have a small problem, but it’s not that bad
” We believe that we can save face by making the problems we are facing seem smaller and less significant than they really are. If it works, we brush off those “minor problems” as just a nuisance and get on with out lives.
When we start to see how bad our problems really are we try RATIONALIZE them away. We go hunting for good reasons to justify our problems. We mistakenly believe that if we can find good enough reasons the problems will just go away. The problem is — they usually don’t. Things just keep getting worse no matter how good the reasons are that we can find.
When all else fails we start BLAMING. We believe that if we can make it some one else’s fault we won’t be responsible for cleaning up our lives. The reality is that it doesn’t make any different whose fault our problems are. They are still our problems. If we’re thirsty no one else can take a drink of water for us. If we’re addicted, no one else can do the work we need to do in recovery.
Finally, the pain and problems of addiction wash us off our feet. We’re drowning and there is no way to deny it. We need help. The question now is this: are we willing to ask for help and accept it when it is offered? The problem is that the addictive mind has many tricks that make it look like we are get the help we need when we’re really not.
There is an excellent book and workbooks entitled: Denial Management Counseling: http://www.relapse.org/custom/list.asp?c=19827&pageid=6734