Denial is a common issue for struggling addicts who are unwilling to change or unaccepting of the fact that they have a problem. The struggle with denial is most commonly seen among functional addicts who have been very careful to maintain an addiction without the knowledge of others. Functional addicts are so often in denial because they continue to seemingly function by going to work or school and maintaining a social life. Because these addicts continue to function in some form or another they believe that they are not real addicts. Addicts who do not have the luxury of hiding their addiction from others may be in denial because they are afraid of not being able to use drugs anymore. If an addict admits he has a problem then sooner or later he will have to quit using drugs or alcohol. This is particularly difficult for an addict because his entire life has been focused on obtaining and consuming drugs. However, recovery from addiction is impossible without overcoming denial.
Admitting that a problem exists must occur for recovery to begin. An addict who is not convinced he has a problem and needs help will not stick with treatment programs and will most likely return to drug use. Overcoming denial is a difficult process but there are numerous helpful ways to begin, including the following:
- Find trusted friends and family members to confide in and ask them for help to recover from addiction
- Ask friends and family members how the drug use has negatively affected them and if they believe that treatment is necessary
- Seek out professional advice on the subject of addiction and the need for treatment
- Reach out to mental health counselors or treatment program providers for an unbiased opinion on the situation
- Write down the different areas of life that have been negatively affected by the addiction and compile a list of reasons why receiving treatment would be beneficial
- Understand that overcoming denial is a process and allow time to overcome it through constant personal reassurance and the reassurance of friends, family members and professionals
- Become educated on addiction, how it develops, why it is considered a medical disease, and how professional treatment can lead to a healthy recovery
Simply admitting the problem exists is enough to begin the process of overcoming denial. With proper education, the support of friends and family and professional treatment a healthy recovery can be reached.
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