How Do You Know If You’re In Denial?
Has someone told you that you have a drinking problem? If so, did you believe them? One of the most common responses to alcoholism is denial, but figuring out if you’re in denial is tricky territory.
Denial is a coping mechanism alcoholics use when the problem itself feels too big to confront. Admitting to yourself that you are an alcoholic would have major consequences, and it is only natural to react by convincing yourself that you do not have a problem.
The good news is that if you are asking yourself whether you’re in denial, you are on the right track. If it turns out that you are indeed struggling with a drinking problem, you have already started the process of getting help.
But how do you know if you’re in denial? After all, the entire point of denial as a coping mechanism is to convince you that you’re fine.
The following are signs that you might be in denial. If they resonate with you, speak to a loved one who you know will give you their honest opinion.
You avoid thinking about the problem:
One strong sign that you’re in denial is that you get distracted the moment you start thinking about the problem. If you’re trying to read this article and are having trouble staying focused, this may be because your mind is trying to turn off.
Think about how much thought you have given the problem, especially if others have brought it to your attention. If they are convinced you have a problem and you have barely even considered it, you are likely in denial. Consider whether there are other major issues going on in your life that you’ve barely thought about.
You get defensive:
Defensiveness is often a sign of denial, although that is not always the case. Think about how you respond to people when they talk about your drinking. The question of how much you’ve had to drink will elicit very different reactions from different people. Those who are not concerned about their drinking are likely to answer honestly with no pushback. Those who are in denial, on the other hand, may react with anger.
Of course, the circumstances do play a role. If the person asking you about your drinking is often judgmental and triggers defensiveness in you, this may just be part of a pattern. However, even if this is the case, you should consider whether there’s something more to your reaction.
You continue drinking in spite of the consequences:
Some people who are addicted to alcohol can function for a long time without directly facing any consequences. But for others, consequences are swift and harsh. You may have gotten a DUI, ended a relationship, lost a job, or had health issues due to excessive drinking.
If this is the case and you continued drinking anyway, you are likely in denial. Consequences tend to put an end to harmful behaviors, unless the person is attached to the behavior. Ask yourself why you are still drinking if it has caused damage in your life.
Realizing you are in denial is a tough process, but asking the question is the first step towards getting help. Consider whether any of the above signs of denial resonate with you.