One of the most frustrating aspects of loving an addict is dealing with the denial of their addiction. It is a common thread throughout addicts to believe that they have the situation under control, regardless of how obvious it may be to everyone else. It is unclear why people who suffer from addiction do not see their behavior as irrational or dangerous, but we addicts and alcoholics who have been through the ringer and have come out the other side, are able to look back on our using history and identify where we were unable to see the true from the false, and just how delusional we really were. The hard part is getting us to see it.
Take it From Me, I've Been There
I used to think that I had this wonderful outward appearance and that my addict behavior was completely hidden from my loved ones. I didn't think my family could hear me sneak out at 1 am because I had mastered the art of silently closing doors and tip-toeing down the stairs. I thought that wearing baggy shirts with long sleeves masterly covered up my track marks and weight loss. I didn't think anyone was suspicious when I asked to borrow money because it was for a different reason every time. I didn't think about how they probably wondered why I even needed the money, despite working 40 hours a week.
It was a good year or two before my mom finally asked me if I had a problem. Of course, I denied it, I downplayed it and made her feel crazy for even asking, and I kept going. Then one day, the Bank of Parents stopped paying out. They had their own excuses this time, things like they didn't have the money or they just loaned me $40 on Monday. I was furious, but never for a second did I think they were on to me because I had the whole world fooled.
Finally, they kicked me out. Obviously, this came as a complete shock to me because they had "no good reason" as to why I had to leave. However, they stood firm and made it clear that they knew I had a problem. I still didn't think I did. I still thought I could control it, so I left, and said good riddance.
That was the best thing they ever did for me, better than any amount of money they loaned me or any late night trips to pick me up from the bar because I got kicked out and lost my keys. Getting kicked out forced me to try and stand on my own. That was when I realized that I was screwed. I didn't know how bad my addiction was because I always had help when I was down. When I had no one to fall on, I hit the ground, hard. I tried to keep it going for as long as I could, but the day came when I finally called my mom and told her I needed help. That day was the beginning of my new life.
The Denial of Their Addiction
It is the constant battle of control in the mind of every addict and alcoholic. We fight so hard to be able to use normally, that we live in a delusion that we are successfully doing so. We never notice how sunken our faces become, or how scraggly we look. We don't notice how our moods change completely depending on how many chemicals we have put into our systems. We don't see how cruel we can be when we are jonesing, or the mean things we say when other people aren't behaving like we want them to.
For someone who doesn't suffer from addiction, but loves an addict, coping with their denial of their addiction can feel like a never-ending battle. Please know that you are not alone. I know that sometimes it can feel like no one understands, but I promise you that there are people out there who are in the same boat you are in right now and have come out the other side. So what can you do about it? What can you do when your loved one is in denial of their addiction? Here are some options that will protect you emotionally and mentally to help you cope with your loved one.
Never Launch an Attack
This can be hard - as many parents and spouses have become so fed up with their loved one's behavior at this point that anger is probably the first instinct. However, addicts are master manipulators and will leave you feeling like YOU HURT THEM or that you are just plain crazy. So the trick is the be understanding and honest. You want them to open up to you, so use key phrases such as "I don't understand" or "help me to see this clearly."
Understand That Addiction is a FAMILY Problem
This may be a hard pill to swallow, but addiction doesn't just affect the one person - it is common for other people in the family to struggle with difficulties relating to addiction such as enabling and codependency (relentlessly putting the needs of others before our own). Try to see where each person may have played their own role in the situation, and be compassionate.
Codependency is such a common problem that there have been multiple fellowships created strictly to help people who love addicts and alcoholics and want to learn how to deal with them. Al-Anon is a fellowship that was based on Alcoholics Anonymous and is designed for family and loved ones who suffer from addiction. Not only does Al-Anon provide members with a network of people who are in the same boat, but it gives them tools to learn how to stop enabling, and help their addicted loved one in the healthiest way possible. Al-Anon was created by the wife of the creator of Alcoholics Anonymous and has been around for decades.
Finding the Right Treatment Center For You
If you believe you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and want to seek help, then call the professionals at Evolutions Treatment Center today at 1-800-795-8527. We can help you find the right treatment you need in order to finally overcome your addiction and get you on the path to recovery. Our trained staff knows exactly what you are going through and can give you the tools you need in order to finally overcome your addiction. So don’t delay, call us today.