Denial and Addiction: Do You Need an Interventionist?

Hope Testimonials: Recovery Is Possible
August 25, 2016
Stigma and Addiction: The Dangers of Shame and Stigma
August 29, 2016
Show all

Denial and Addiction

Denial and Addiction

Denial can be defined as a refusal to admit the truth or reality of a situation. In psychology, denial refers to a type of defense mechanism in which people subconsciously reject certain aspects of reality that are too uncomfortable to deal with. Because of denial, individuals who struggle with an addiction to drugs and alcohol may have little insight into the dangerous reality of their substance abuse. At some point, everyone struggles with denial about something in their lives; however, an addict often develops a very rigid type of denial that can be difficult to penetrate. Denial is very dangerous for addicts and alcoholics. If someone refuses to admit that their substance abuse is a problem, they will be highly unlike to change their behavior. Even if the negative consequences of their use are quite apparent to those around them, the addict may not recognize the problem themselves. As long as the individual is unable to see past their denial, they will most likely not have the motivation to stay sober.

Forms of Denial

Denial comes in many shapes and sizes. The following are a few of the common denial patterns (Terrence Gorski):


  • Avoidance: “I’ll talk about anything but my real problems.”
  • Absolute Denial: “No, not me. I don’t have problems.”
  • Minimizing: “My problems aren’t that bad.”
  • Rationalizing: “If I can find good enough reasons for my problems, I won’t have to deal with them.”
  • Blaming: “If I can prove that my problems are not my fault, I won’t have to deal with them.”
  • Comparing: “Showing that others are worse than I am proves I don’t have serious problems.”
  • Manipulating: “I’ll only admit that I have problems if you promise to solve them for me”
  • Compliance: “I’ll pretend to do what you want if you’ll just leave me alone”
  • Flight into Health: “Feeling better means that I’m cured”
  • Strategic hopelessness: “Since nothing works, I don’t have to try”
  • Democratic Disease State: “I have the right to destroy myself and nobody can stop me”

Denial is a very dangerous defense mechanisms for addicts and alcoholics, as it convinces them that their drug and alcohol abuse is not a problem. Unfortunately, the addict is a master when it comes to using denial to protect their substance abuse.

Do You Need an Interventionist?

The most common way that addicts get beyond their denial is by hitting rock bottom, which means that things in their life become so bad that they are unable to deny their situation any longer. Experienced interventionists are also skilled at breaking through denial and helping the addict recognize the destructive nature of their substance abuse. If you have tried on your own to help your loved one recognize the danger of their drug and alcohol use, but have been unsuccessful, it may be time to consult a professional interventionist. Interventionists use different techniques to help struggling individuals gain insight into their situation and break free from the denial that is killing them.

Addiction Intervention Now specializes in drug interventions, crisis interventions, and family interventions. Reach out to us today at (800) 208-8680. We can help your loved one recognize the gravity of their situation and come to terms with the fact that they need to stop using drugs and alcohol. We can help you and your loved one heal from the disease of addiction.