DENIAL – The biggest enemy of someone struggling with the demon drink phenomenon is denial. It can wreck chances of recovery, perpetuating the drinking cycle. Your mind poisoned into justifying the unjustifiable, creating arguments and becoming skilled at lying to others and yourself AND believing those lies are true! Arguments as to why you should drink, need to drink, deserve a drink, whilst always denying you have a problem with the demon.
In rehab I was taught that the letters of the word DENIAL stand for: Don’t Even Know I Am Lying (to myself).
I learnt that I had lived in denial for a very long time. Denying that my use of alcohol had become unmanageable and that I was powerless to its control. Using denial to convince myself and others that what I was doing was perfectly justified, normal and not excessive. Often blaming others for my drinking and behaviour it inevitable led to, for example “it’s the way you talk to me”, “if you didn’t keep nagging”, “it’s your fault I’m miserable”, the list was endless and often hurtful to others – genius I thought, what an absolute fool I now think. I painted a picture of myself to the outside world, and in my head a picture I came to believe, as being the victim and innocent in all aspects so therefore ‘wouldn’t you drink if you were me?’.
When I entered recovery I learnt how I had used Denial in many forms, such as – Excuse, Maximising and Minimising, Convincing, Comparing, Self-Pity, Rewarding.
Excuse – I would come up with any excuse to justify a drink from the hamster dying, to the weather.
Maximising – I would argue how unreasonable it was to expect me to stop drinking; reeling off the amount of things I had to do every single day.
Minimising – I would minimise my drinking problem, arguing that family were exaggerating the issue.
Convincing – I would convince myself that I was in total control of my drinking, and never admit that in fact it was the drink that was controlling me.
Comparing – This was so easy – I would compare my drinking with other people’s. Telling (lying) to myself that all my friends drank every evening, and as much as me.
Self-Pity – Poor me! If people had to do as much as I did they too would drink as I did.
Reward – Well everyone rewards themselves by having a drink! I would even reward myself for not drinking for a day.
Deep down I knew I had a problem, it just took me a long time to accept it and several failed attempts at controlled drinking. Eventually, I reached out and asked my mum to help; would she phone and make me an appointment. I was so scared, scared of the person I had become and how I had no control over myself. I was tired, mentally and physically exhausted. But, I found the strength to ask for help, acknowledging that I could no longer continue on the path of destruction – self and loved ones – I had found myself on. Thank you Mum.