Man in denial on bench

From Cameron Gamso: “Do you want to be free from this addiction? Are you sure?” Obviously I was ready. I’d been meeting with my counselor for three months, but she saw what I couldn’t. I was still in denial. I said, “Yes I want freedom,” but what I meant was, “I know that’s what I should want.”

Why We Stay In Denial

One of the major keys to success in recovery is breaking down denial and taking an honest look in the mirror. Now, this is so much easier said than done. The problem with denial is we addicts are really good at it. We’ve worked tirelessly to keep our sins in the dark.

Denying that our addiction is as big a beast allows us to continue lying to ourselves, others, and our Higher Power about what’s really going on. Until we take a good hard look in the mirror and face our mess, we will struggle with our addictive behavior.

Breaking Down Denial In Three Key Relationships

  1. Self: We pick and choose what things we want to see in ourselves. We may admit our weakness for sweets, but we ignore our stress eating. We may admit to procrastinating at work, but we ignore the hours of binging on porn.
  2. Others: Other’s opinions of us can greatly sway our amount of transparency with them. If we think they’ll be turned off by a secret we harbor, we simply don’t tell them. Or maybe, we’ll own up to only part of the secret. We enter a denial state with others when keep the whole truth from them.
  3. Higher Power: If our Higher Power knows the whole truth, then our Higher Power might make a whole, painful judgement. We keep the whole truth from our Higher Power because we can’t handle anymore guilt. We hide in shame behind denial.

The day I got honest with myself was the day I began to really recover. It was painful and awkward and embarrassing, but it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.

If we are to deal with denial, then we have to be courageous enough to face reality at all costs, no matter:

  • How it makes us feel
  • What others may begin to think about us
  • What we fear the consequences may be

The only way to real recovery is breaking through the threshold of honesty. These two final thoughts push me to be honest with myself:

  • Partial truth may get you partial recovery
  • Addiction lives in the dark: bring it into the light and it can’t survive