Being High-Functioning: Feeding the Alcoholic Denial

Reminding yourself that you can’t “fix” your loved one — but you can be there for them — can help you cool off, says Elhaj. Sometimes, a person’s personality can influence their tendency for denial. Certain traits, such as independence and perfectionism, can add to a person’s hesitancy or reticence to seek help, says Grawert. There are empathetic, actionable ways to support someone with an alcohol use disorder who may be stuck in denial.

The second stage of denial is easily broken by the transference of dependency from self to the sobriety support fellowship. When a person gets exposure to the 12-Step program Alcoholism and Denial for instance, they initially do it with a great deal of reluctance. What they usually find before too long is that something very powerful is happening to them.

Why Do People Deny That They’re Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol?

Avoidance – You always change the subject when your substance use comes up, or you stay away from people who’ve questioned your drinking or drug use. People in denial about their alcoholism are fearful and ashamed. Denial is the defense they use to protect themselves from ridicule, guilt, and change. Many alcoholics in denial believe their own arguments, though no one else does. Everyone around them can see it, but they still hold onto their denial. Denial is one of the strongest defenses we have against change. No matter how bad the current situation is, we often fear change more than anything.

  • It can be really tough when your loved one is an alcoholic, maybe consider attending an Al-Anon meeting in your area?
  • Others may be at a point where they know they need to make a change.
  • It keeps good people in everlasting blindness destroying any chance for healthy change.
  • Denial- it is powerful, dangerous, and one of the psychological symptoms of being alcoholic.
  • When drugs and alcohol are calling the shots, you’re spending most of your mental energy on planning the next time you’re going to drink or use, and how you’re going to make it happen.
  • Among AUD probands, 67% were classified as deniers of problematic drinking .

Individual therapy, combined with marriage or family counseling, can strengthen your self-esteem and help you build a healthy, sober relationship. They may also withdraw from social situations and find excuses to miss events or optional commitments where drinking is not available or possible. There may also be new legal issues arising for them, like driving under the influence or making other poor decisions. While their appearance may not be any different and they can still fulfill their responsibilities, you’ll start to see a pattern develop of turning to alcohol to cope with family, work or personal issues. Hi, I’m Josh, and I’m a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

Other People Drink More Than I Do

Chip Away At Their Denial – When the alcoholic inevitably denies that they have a problem, don’t expect to overcome their denial with the blunt hammer of rationality. Instead, aim to open up a dialogue by expressing your concerns and addressing their excuses from a place of compassion, rather than judgment. There are many resources available to the alcoholic to help him or her achieve a successful sobriety. AA has well proven strategies to offer you assistance with the guidance of others who have walked a similar path. At some point, you and your loved one will need to discuss your concerns about their drinking habits. Initiate the conversation in a private, comfortable place when your loved one is calm and sober. It keeps good people in everlasting blindness destroying any chance for healthy change.

  • Alcoholics – especially high functioning alcoholics – use standard alcoholic excuses and denials to justify their addiction and avoid reality.
  • Here, results were generally consistent with those in Table 3.
  • People who suffer from substance use disorders often struggle to admit to themselves that they have an issue, out of fear that this problem would make them weak or immoral.
  • For example, many people drink to cope with mental health concerns like stress, grief, or depression.
  • Many may wonder how alcoholics who have lost their job, their housing and/or family could not realize that they are alcoholic.