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Denial Checklist

Developed By Terence T. Gorski
© Terence T. Gorski, 1999

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Table of Contents (TOC)

Brief Denial Pattern Questionnaire

Denial Pattern Checklist

#1.  Avoidance

#2.  Absolute Denial

#3:  Minimizing

#4.  Rationalizing

#5.  Blaming

#6.  Comparing

#7:  Compliance

#8:  Manipulating

#9. Flight into Health

#10: Recovery By Fear

#11: Strategic Hopelessness

#12.  The Democratic Disease State

 

Brief Denial Questionnaire:  
What denial patterns do you use? (check as many as needed)

1.  Avoidance: "I'll talk about anything but my real problems!"

2.  Absolute Denial: "No Not Me, I Donít Have Problems!"

3.  Minimizing: "My Problems Arenít That Bad!"

4.  Rationalizing: "If I Can Find Good Enough Reasons For My Problems, I Wonít Have To Deal With Them!"!"

5.  Blaming: "If I Can Prove That My Problems Are not My Fault, I Wonít Have To Deal With Them!"

6.  Comparing:  "Showing That Others Are Worse Than Me Proves That I Donít Have Serious Problems!Ē

7.   Compliance: "Iíll Pretend To Do What You Want If Youíll Leave Me Alone!"

8.  Manipulating: "Iíll Only Admit That I Have Problems If You Agree To Solve Them For Me"

9.    Flight Into Health: - "Feeling Better Means That Iím Cured!"

10.  Recovery By Fear: "Being Scared Of My Problems Will Make Them Go Away!"

11.  Strategic Hopelessness: "Since Nothing Works, I Don't Have To Try!"

12.  Democratic Disease State: "I Have The Right To Destroy Myself & No One Has The Right To Stop Me!"
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Denial Pattern Checklist
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Read the list of common denial pattern below and check any that apply to you.

Denial Pattern #1.  Avoidance:  I Say To Myself: "I'll talk about anything but my real problems!"  Somewhere deep inside of me I am afraid that I might have a problem with alcohol or drugs that is hurting me and those that I care about. But when I donít think or talk about it I feel OK.  So I think about other things and try to keep people from prying into my life where they donít belong. My drinking and drugging is private and no one has a right to know anything about it.  If someone asks about it, I change the subject and start talking about other things that have nothing to do with my drinking and drugging.  If nothing else works, Iíll start an uproar by creating a bad crisis and making sure that they get sucked into it.  If all else fails Iíll play dumb and pretend that I donít know what theyíre talking about.
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Denial Pattern #2.  Absolute Denial:  I Say To Myself: "No, not me!  I donít have a problem!Ē   When others try to corner me, I tell ďthe big lie.Ē I say that I don't have a problem with alcohol or drugs. No!  Not me!  Absolutely not!  I don't drink too much!  I donít use drugs!; Iím not addicted!  I never get sick or have problems because of drinking or drugging.  I am so good at convincing other people that there is nothing wrong that sometimes I actually start believing it myself.  When they believe my story a part of me feels really good because I beat them.  Another small part of me feels disappointed.  There is a small part that wants others to know what is really happening.  There is small scared part inside of me that wants help.
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Denial Pattern #3:  Minimizing:  I Say To Myself: "My problems arenít that bad!"  Sometimes my alcohol and drug problems get so bad that I canít convince myself or others that I donít have a problem.  When this happens I minimize.  I make the problems seem smaller than they really are.  Yes, I had a small problem with my drinking and drugging.  But it only happened that once.  It will never happen again.  Besides, the problem just wasnít as bad as people think it is.
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Denial Pattern #4.  Rationalizing:  I Say To Myself:  "If I can find good enough reasons for my problems, I wonít have to deal with them!"  I try to explain away my alcohol and drug problems by making up good explanations for why I drink and whatís ďreallyĒ causing my problems.  Sometimes Iíll pretend to know a lot about alcoholism and addiction so other people will think that I know too much have a problem.  The truth is that I rarely if ever apply what I know to myself or to my own problems.
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Denial Pattern #5.  Blaming:  I Say To Myself:     "If I can prove that my problems are not my fault, I wonít have to deal with them!"  When the problems gets so bad that I canít deny it, I find a scapegoat.  I tell everyone that its not my fault that I have these problems with alcohol and drugs.  Itís somebody elseís fault.  I only abuse alcohol and drugs because of my partner.  If you were with a person like this, youíd abuse alcohol and drug too!  If you had a job or a boss like mine, youĎd drink and drug as much as I do. It seems that as long as I can blame someone else, I can keep drinking and drugging until that person changes.  I donít have to be responsible for stopping.
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Denial Pattern #6.  Comparing:  I Say To Myself:  "Showing that others are worse than me, proves that I donít have serious problems!"  I start to focus on other people instead of myself.  I find others who have more serious alcohol and drug problems than I do and compare myself to them.  I tell myself that I canít be addicted because Iím not as bad as they are.  I know what an addict is!  An addict is someone who drinks and drugs a lot more than I do!  An addict is someone who has a lot more alcohol and drug-related problems than I do.  An addict is someone who is not like me!  I tell myself that I can't be addicted because there are other people who have worse problems with alcohol and drugs than I do.
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Denial Pattern #7:  Compliance:  I Say To Myself: "Iíll pretend to do what you want, if youíll leave me alone!"  I start going through the motions of getting help. I do what Iím told, no more and no less.  I become compliant and promise to do things just to get people off of my back.  I find excuses for not following through.  When I get caught, I tell people that I did the best that I could.  I blame them for not giving me enough help.  I tell people how sorry I am.  I ask for another chance, make another half hearted commitment, and the cycle of compliance tarts all over again.
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Denial Pattern #8:  Manipulating:  I Say To Myself:  "Iíll only admit that I have problems, if you agree to solve them for me!Ē  When I my alcohol and drug problems box me into a corner, I start to manipulate.  I try to use the people who want to help me.  I try to get them to handle all of my problems and then get them to leave me alone so I can keep drinking and drugging. I'll let them help me, but only if they do it for me.  I want a quick effortless fix.   If I they canít fix me, I blame them for my failure and use them as an excuse to keep drinking and drugging.  I wonít let anyone make me do anything that I donít want to do.  If they try, I'll get drunk at them, blame them, and make them feel guilty.  
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Denial Pattern #9. Flight into Health:  I Say To Myself:  "Feeling better means that Iím cured!"  I manage to stay clean and sober for a while, and things start to get a little bit better.  Instead of getting motivated to do more, I convince myself that Iím cured and donít need to do anything.  I tell myself that I may have had a drinking and drug problem, but I got into recovery and put it behind me.  
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Denial Pattern #10: Recovery By Fear:  I Say To Myself: "Being scared of my problems will make them go away!"  I began to realize that alcohol and other drugs can destroy my life, hurt those that I love, and eventually kill me.  The threat is so real that I convince myself that I can't ever use alcohol or drugs again. I start to believe that this fear of destroying my life and killing myself will scare me into permanent sobriety.  Since I now know how awful my life will be if I continue to drink and drug, I just won't wonít drink or drug anymore.  If I just stop everything will be fine.  Since everything will be fine, I won't need treatment or a recovery program.  Iíll just quite.  
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Denial Pattern #11: Strategic Hopelessness:  I Say To Myself: "Since nothing works, I don't have to try"  I start to feel that Iím hopeless.  It seems like Iíve done it all and nothing works.  I donít believe that I can change and big part of me just doesnít want to try anymore.  It seems easier just to give up.  When people try to help me, I brush them off by telling them that Iím hopeless and will never recover.  When people do try to help me, I give them a hard time and make it impossible for them to help me.  I donít understand why people want to help me.  It would be easier if they just let me keep drinking and drugging.  <Return To TOC>

Denial Pattern #12.  The Democratic Disease State:  I Say To Myself:  "I have the right to destroy myself and no one has the right to stop me!"  I convince myself that I have a right to continue to use alcohol and drugs even if it kills me.  Yes, Iím addicted.  Yes Iím destroying my life.  Yes, Iím hurting those that I love.  Yes Iím a burden to society.  But so what?  I have the right to drink and drug myself to death.  No one has the right to make me stop.  Since my addiction is killing me anyway, I might as well convince myself that Iím dying because I want to. 
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Personalizing The Denial Patterns

We can become better at recognizing and managing our own denial if we personalize the denial patterns we selected.  This is done by writing a new title and description for each denial pattern we selected in our own words.  

Here are some examples of personalized denial patterns.  

1.  (Avoidance) Skating Off The Walls:  I know I'm using denial when I refuse to directly answer a question and keep trying to change the subject.

2.  (Absolute Denial)  Saying It Isn't So:  I know I'm using denial when I tell people that I donít have a problem even though I know deep inside that I do.

3.  (Minimizing)  Saying It Isnít That Bad:  I know I'm using denial when I admit that I have a problem, but try to tell people that it isn't as bad as they think it is.

4.  (Rationalizing)  Giving Good Reasons:  I know I'm using denial when I try to convince people that there are good reasons for me to have the problem and that because there are good reasons I shouldn't be responsible for having to deal with it.

5.  (Blaming)  Saying It's Not My Fault: I know I'm using denial when I try to blame someone else for my problem and deny that I a responsible for dealing with it.

6.  (Comparison) Criticizing Others:  I know I'm using denial when I point out how bad other people's problems are and use that as am reason why my problems arenít so bad.

7.  (Manipulating)  Getting Over On Others:  I know I'm using denial when I try to get other people to handle the problems for me.

8.  (Recovery By Fear)  Scared Straight:  I know I'm using denial when I tell myself that I could never use alcohol or drugs again because I'm so afraid of what will happen if start drinking and drugging.

9.  (Compliance)  Being A Good Little Boy:  I know I'm using denial when I start telling people what they want to hear to get them off of my back.

10.  (Flight Into Health)  Suddenly Cured:  I know I'm using denial when I believe that my problems have suddenly gone away without my doing anything to solve them. 

11.  (Strategic Hopelessness)  Why Bother:  I know I'm using denial when I tell myself that I can never solve my problems and that other people should just leave me alone.

12.  (Democratic Disease State)  I Have My Rights:  I know I'm using denial when I tell other people that I have right to use alcohol and drugs regardless of what happens and that they have no right to try and stop me.

 

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