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Denial Management

Denial is one of the defense mechanism people utilize in which people refuse to accept the reality that is mostly painful and because of this our way of perceiving also alters.  Denial is a natural and in built mechanism but it has advantages and disadvantages as well. It is a set of thoughts that are unconscious and automated. Denial is one of the reason people relapse. A person in denial is stuck in the prospect that the problem does not exist or is solved but this will only relieve pain temporarily and when the reality will strike the person will be at worse instead. Denial is just blocking the way of acceptance and problem solving which the person has to encounter sooner or later

When do we end up in denial?

It usually starts when we experience a painful event like loss of loved one, end of a relationship, or other drastic similar events. But in addiction or alcoholism the cause is self denial almost always. When a person does something wrong or makes poor decisions in life in order to eliminate the pain& the shame what they do is they deny the severity of the situation to escape from it. Therefore when addicts indulge in drug use they adopt denial as a lifestyle. The common statements made by alcoholics who are in denial include: “I could quit anytime I wanted to.” “I’d quit using if people would quit poking me.” “If you were in my position, you’d drink, too.”  These statements usually vary on the basis of the severity of the addiction.

Lifeline offers Denial Management as a part of the initial treatment for alcoholism or addiction and is also utilized time to time in between the treatment as a relapse prevention plan. Educating them about denial and how it is handled is an important part of the process. And when teaching about the handling and management of Denial giving awareness is typically the first step Lifeline takes towards it.

Denial works at four different altitudes,

1. Lack of information  

2.  Conscious defensiveness

3. Unconscious defensiveness

4. Delusion

And the 12 common denial patterns used by patients include:

Avoidance: (I will talk about anything but the problem!)
Absolute denial: (NO not me!)
Minimization: (it’s not that bad!)
Rationalization: (I have a good reason!)
Blaming: (it’s not that my fault!)
Comparing: (Others are worse than me!)
Manipulation: (I will only recover if you do what I want!)
Recovery by fear: (Being scared of the consequences of drinking and drugging will keep me sober!)
Compliance: (I will say anything you want to hear if you leave me alone!)
Flight into health: (feeling better means that I am better!)
Strategic hopelessness: (since nothing will work I don’t have to try!)
Democratic disease state: (I have the right to drink and drug myself to death!)

In order to successfully handle these denial patterns it is necessary to first identify them and then immediately put a stop to it. We will only be able to do this if only we recognize and tackle the feelings, Urges, actions, thoughts and social reactions that are related to each denial pattern. By pausing, relaxing, reflecting and then deciding we can turn off denial; whenever we become aware that we are using denial. First we pause and notice that we are utilizing denial,  then we take a deep breath, slowly exhale, consciously imagining the stress going down the drain from our body and this is how we relax ourselves; after relaxing we reflect by asking ourselves “Do I really want to keep using denial, or do I want to look at what is really going on so I can take control and decide for myself that what I want to do  about it.” In the end we decide if we want to keep using denial or not. When doing so we must recall and remind ourselves that only we are responsible for the outcome or consequences.

Lifeline also recommends that in Denial management family members also help their addicted loved one by letting them face the consequences of his or her drug use that come with their addiction.  Family intervention is also another technique for managing denial.


12 steps

Lifeline also Offers 12 steps Program; 12 steps are the core intellectual and spiritual content of AA fellowship (Alcoholics Anonymous) due to its content that outlines the course of this program. These twelve steps are actually the main principles of the program which are spiritual in nature. When one accepts these principles new behaviors and habits begin because of them; they are a way to calm down the obsessions associated to drinking and drugging in such a way that it results in functional and happy life.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and its 12 steps program have been here for more than 80 years now and have changed the life of massive amount of people.  Even though this program is not a ‘treatment’ per se and neither does it declares so but a numerous amount of studies and uncountable successful recovering patients have revealed that working on 12 steps program causes a reduced drinking and drugging which leads to abstinence. The principles of AA come to life in the 12 steps program and in AA literature.

The chief ingredient of the 12 step program is that it is necessary for the alcoholics to discover a higher power, someone besides themselves to help them out. This is because of the way of thinking in active addiction that one thinks they can do anything and must do everything on their own even if their loved ones try to help them. The purpose is to protect their drugs and secure it so that no one comes into their way. The state of mind required for achieving sobriety in recovery can only emerge from a firm belief that they need to approach a power greater which is besides them. Other recovery programs focus on moderation more which is controlled drinking but 12 steps program clearly knows and teaches that drugs or alcoholism cannot be used in moderation but need only stopping completely for the good and for recovery to take its form. According to this program it is also believed that alcoholism is never cured, once used drugs cannot be retaken again safely after quitting. Many people who are taking this program continue recovery for years in order to remain sober and not lose track. 

When an individual decides that they shall not drink not imprison themselves to abstinence and even recreate their personalities by repenting, reforming, and constructing from the remains of the past.
This program teaches that the disease is to be blamed not the alcoholic as he is himself the victim of the damage and not the damage itself. This program facilitates by inducing guilt and then become the mending source. It is very helpful in curing and dealing of the shame, which is the heart of the addictive disease and is a binding force and won’t let recovery flourish.
Helps in keeping away from criticism and other disparaging types of communication in start of recovery.
Good behavior should be rewarded as goals and milestones are achieved during recovery. This will be great way to help in modifying the behavior and also solidifying the desired behaviors into habits.
The involvement in 12 step meetings, groups and classes assist the expression of difficult internal states like low self-esteem but in nondestructive ways instead of by drinking.

In this program Lifeline aims to offer recovery and sobriety which are the main goals and they lead to other desirable routines such as making the addict or alcoholic get a job, or be a good family member, or become more responsible. When an individual achieves Sobriety these behaviors will emerge on their own and not the other way around. When a person is able to handle themselves they will approach the healthy and necessary behaviors themselves and will not need to be instructed to do so. And this is the main focus of the 12 steps program.