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de·ni·al [dih- nahy- uhl]
NOUN 1. an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc., is false: Despite his denials, we knew he had taken the purse. The politician issued a denial of his opponent's charges. 2. refusal to believe a doctrine, theory, or the like. 3. disbelief in the existence or reality of a thing. 4. the refusal to satisfy a claim, request, desire, etc., or the refusal of a person making it. 5. refusal to recognize or acknowledge; a disowning or disavowal: the traitor's denial of his country; Peter's denial of Christ.
Hi it's Dermot again. If you read my last blog from 14th April, you will know that this is a follow up to that blog and part of a "Recovery from Addiction Series", If not read on:
Denial & Delusion
Looking back now to my days of active alcoholism, the whole concept of denial and my own denial always amuses me, not that my days of addiction where funny as they weren't, but I believed all the bullshit I was telling myself. My head was buried so deep in the sand that I wasn't aware of what reality was from fantasy, I lived in an alcoholic bubble. I was a functioning alcoholic and still managed to hold down a job, barely, but I was only just existing. What kept me in that deluded bubble?
Yes that was it, fear. I was petrified of reality, I was petrified to accept the truth, I was petrified to feel my feelings. Thats what kept me in a state of denial & delusion. When I got sober, by default, and that fear was faced head on, the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. I was full of shame, guilt, remorse, anxiety, but I was FREE. The saying, "The truth will set you free" is so very real.
Once that fear is exposed, only honesty can take its place. To be brutally honest with yourself and others, takes incredible courage, but as I worked through it by doing the 12 Steps, the relief and humility that I gained and am still gaining is well worth the hard work it has taken on a daily basis. "My worst day sober, far outweighs my best day drinking" I buried both my parents in recovery and all I can do is thank God that I was in recovery when they passed away.
Humility & vulnerability
It is in our weakeness that we find strength, especially when we are in a place that we can accept that weakeness without the feelings of pride and shame. Humility is the exact opposite of humiliation, which is shame based. When I am feeling humble, I feel a part of.........., when I am not feeling humble, I feel apart from......... Alcoholics Anonymous & other fellowship groups and communities like SFM are humbling as they bring together people who share the same problems, issues & who help each other through their experience, strength &hope. Vulnerability, like humility, when held in can be a very lonely space, when shared has immense strength. I always feel when I am feeling vulnerable and don't share how I feel, I spend days in anxiety and with racing thoughts. When I do eventually share my problem, its like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. Doing things that once would have mortified me, now don't give me a second thought as I don't allow myself to feel that way. I have a blog on this www-digitalbloggers-com-the-value-of-vulnerability
Delusion in addiction, like denial is a defence mechanism to enable the addicted person to not look at their addictive behaviour. Delusion occurs in other mental health dissorders, but we are talking about addiction here. Over a long period of time an addicted person does start to believe in the lies they have been telling themselves daily. This becomes engrained and sometimes they find it hard decifering reality from addictive fantasy. We are not talking about Walter Mitty types of fantasy, but believing or wanting to believe in things that weren't accurate, even when other people tried to tell us different. I was an entrepeneur with my own tour buisness, who progressed to a security guard in a shopping centre car park, earning minimum wage. I deluded myself to think at the time that was okay. Now when I look at that it gives me the shivers, not being snobby, but how did I go from one extreme to the other. It was all due to being an active alcoholic, luckily I didn't progress to the grave.
To sum up
If you are not an alcoholic or addict, it is very hard to understand the whole concept of denial & deception. "Why would anyone drink or drug themselves to near death or death, did they have no conception of just how their families where feeling" Sadly no, they don't and if they do get a period of clarity, the shame, guilt, remorse, fear and anxiety, put them back to square one. That is why addiction has such a strangle hold on its victims. Once you are free from such an imprisoned hell, the World is leterally your oyster. If you can survive that you can do anything.
My next article is on Depression, stay tuned.
The article of "Recovery from Addiction" Denial & Delusion is the opinion of the author and if you would like to contribute to it, please leave a comment in the comment box below. If you want to subscribe, for free, to any further blogs of mine please click on the blue box below.
Growth in Recovery and in life, takes commitment & courage, but if you are not willing to take a risk, and push your boundaries, even a little then you will be stuck where you are, until you do.
If, like me & you are in recovery, then I know your pain & you have been to hell and back. But think of this, you are not a victim, but a survivor and as a survivor you deserve to give yourself every opportunity you possibly can. "Keep breaking the mould and keep it real"
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