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Overcoming Denial: Recognizing and Accepting the Need for Help


They (and we all know the mysterious they knows all) say that the first step is realizing you have a problem. And while that phrase has been used to the point of self-parody until it’s become a rather shopworn cliche, it’s also essentially true, particularly when it comes to addiction and substance abuse. After all, you can’t seek the help you need as long as you refuse to accept you need to ask for help in the first place. Only through overcoming denial can an addict recognize and accept the need for help and start on the path to true recovery.

Denial is a powerful force in a person’s life when they confront something that they don’t wish to. It doesn’t even have to involve addiction. Many people resort to some level of denial when confronting uncomfortable truths or issues that may involve a level of work or effort they don’t wish to undertake.

But addiction can particularly involve denial, as there are essentially no halfway measures with substance abuse. A person who needs to lose weight can change their diet but can still enjoy a donut or ice cream cone on occasion if used in moderation. But there is no such compromise with substance abuse. A person who is addicted to a drug or to alcohol can’t stop using but then decide to occasionally indulge in a drink or a hit just for old time’s sake without falling right back into the cycle of destructive habits.

When combined with the nature of addiction, which rewards substance abuse with chemical reinforcement of their behavior, it can be particularly hard for the addict to admit they need to stop and try to find help for their addiction.

To overcome the denial of a fully addicted substance abuser, often outside help is needed. Friends and family may need to stage an intervention, in which they confront the addict with their behavior and force them to acknowledge the harm they are causing both to themselves and those around them through their substance abuse. And even that may need time to settle in and truly work on the addict, whose denial may be strong enough to resist the brunt of facts and of social opprobrium in the face of their desire to continue reaping the seeming benefits of their substance abuse.

Still, persistent pressure and sustained arguments may slowly wear down resistance and smash through the strongest denial to confront the addict with the harm they are causing in the throes of substance abuse.

At Good Landing Recovery, working through denial to help patients discover they need help to end their addiction and find lasting recovery is all part of the mission for each and every addict who comes through their doors. Even in the midst of treatment, some patients can continue to cling to denial on various aspects of their addiction, but Good Landing has long experience in confronting such denial and finding the truth behind it to help each patient find a better path forward.

Overcoming denial is not easy, even with a concerted effort to fight through it by numerous people. But such effort is invaluable to saving those who otherwise would never ask for help. Only through recognizing and accepting the need for help can the addict truly start the path to recovery, lest rehab prove nothing more than a temporary bump in the road for a continued addiction.

Call Good Landing today and let them start the battle to batter down the resistance of denial and find true recovery from addiction and substance abuse moving forward.