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Drug Addiction Wall of Denial

If you have dealt with someone who has a drug addiction or alcoholism, you know you can’t deny the power of denial. It can be a nearly impenetrable wall of resistance for any sort of drug rehab or alcohol treatment. It can be mind boggling and frustrating, but it’s part of the deal. Instead of banging against it, take a different approach to make progress.

Feeling Stuck Dealing With Denial

When you are frustrated, you can feel really stuck. You might even wonder if you’ve been going down the wrong path or you are wasting your time. This is a common experience for someone trying to help a drug addict who’s heavily into their denial. The wall is up, ready to protect them against any perceived attack. Even if that “attack” is an outstretched hand ready to help.

First, you need to understand that bashing and clashing against the denial won’t do any good. In fact, an aggressive approach can do a lot to distance the addict from you. That decreases your chance of actually getting through to them. It’s tempting to try to force the addict to see what you want them to see. But denial is designed to skirt around a direct power approach.

Compassionate Approach To Drug Addiction Denial

A better way is through compassion and patience. It’s so tempting to be impatient with a person who really seems to not “get” that they have a problem. It may seem so obvious to you – three DUI’s, a drug possession charge, child custody being taken away, divorce. The addict can come back with a million reasons why none of this is their fault. Your immediate reaction might be to let your blood boil and start getting edgy.

Stop. Understand that this person really can’t see it. They want to be understood and listened to. Eventually, you can keep them talking if you remain patient and calm. When you speak slowly and calmly, you may at some point earn a small amount of acceptance from them. Just keep in mind that you can’t make them change their mind or their viewpoint. You can help present the obvious conflict between what’s really happening and what they believe is happening.

Gently Highlight Conflict Within Drug Addicts Life

So they don’t think they have a problem. But how about their desire to own their own home and have a good job like they used to? How does that match up with continued drug use? Do they see how those two don’t really match? Have they taken a minute to think about that before? They need to know it’s OK to notice that these two things are in conflict. Just being aware of this can sometimes tip the balance towards change. Rather than forcing them to see it, you quietly invite them to see it.

Drug Rehab Helps With Denial

Denial is a very challenging aspect of drug addiction. Drug rehab can help break down denial, and a person may still have some work to do when they are finished with their drug treatment program. Caring therapists and family members can help the drug addict create more cracks in the facade, allowing the truth to be a bigger part of their daily reality.

Wendy Lee Nentwig

By Wendy Lee Nentwig
Guest Contributor

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