Getting a loved one to go to drug and alcohol rehab isn’t always easy. Some people may not be ready to admit that they have a problem, let alone spend 30 to 90 days in a rehab center.
Denial is one of the main roadblocks that can keep a person from enrolling in addiction treatment and moving forward with their life.1 So what does this look like daily? How can we help our loved ones overcome their denial and accept the help they need to get better?
Addicted and In Denial
As a person on the outside, it may be difficult for you to understand how your loved one can deny their addiction and the problems it causes, especially when it is so obvious to everyone else around them.
First of all, the thoughts of an addicted individual will not align with those of their loved ones because it is clouded by the substance abuse. Trauma or mood disorders could also be inhibiting their ability to think clearly and practice sound judgment.
An addict may also hold certain attitudes and beliefs about his or her substance abuse that seem to be true, but are in fact, just lies. Some attitudes and beliefs your loved one may express are as follows:
They just don’t care. Some addicts get to the point where they just don’t care about their lives or the damage they are inflicting upon themselves.
They believe they are in complete control.Your loved one may believe that he or she can stop using drugs or alcohol whenever they want and it’s not an issue of control (or a lack thereof).
They don’t think their addiction is harming anyone else.Addicts may struggle to see how their behavior is affecting the people around them. Sometimes it takes an organized intervention to open their eyes to the damage they are causing.
They view themselves as a victim. Addicts may think they face more stress than everyone else or that life is out to get them, therefore, they wouldn’t be able to cope without drugs or alcohol.
When a loved one is addicted to drugs and alcohol, they are completely unaware or unwilling to accept that they need help or should enroll in a drug rehab program right away. Denial can play out in a variety of ways during active addiction, such as:
Manipulating loved ones by playing the victim card or being a martyr.
Accusing loved ones of judging or condemning them for speaking up about their substance use.
Denying that they are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Blaming you or others for their problems that have been caused by the substance abuse.
Disregarding any harmful or damaging actions loved ones have accused them of.
If your loved one is displaying any of the above behaviors, he or she is most likely in denial about their addiction. Unfortunately, letting this continue can lead to serious consequences.
The Damage of Ongoing Denial
Ongoing denial of addiction is something that may even continue well into the first few days or weeks of a drug and alcohol rehab program. It’s not always an easy thing for addicted individuals to overcome, but it can be very damaging if it is allowed to fester.