Developed By Terence T. Gorski
Table of Contents (TOC)
talk about anything but my real problems!"
"No Not Me, I Donít Have Problems!"
Problems Arenít That Bad!"
"If I Can Find Good Enough Reasons For My Problems, I Wonít Have To Deal
Blaming: "If I Can
Prove That My Problems Are not My Fault, I Wonít Have To Deal With Them!"
That Others Are Worse Than Me Proves That I Donít Have Serious Problems!Ē
"Iíll Pretend To Do What You Want If Youíll Leave Me Alone!"
"Iíll Only Admit That I Have Problems If You Agree To Solve Them For
Flight Into Health:
- "Feeling Better Means That Iím Cured!"
Recovery By Fear: "Being Scared
Of My Problems Will Make Them Go Away!"
Hopelessness: "Since Nothing Works, I Don't Have To Try!"
Read the list of common denial pattern below and check any that apply to you.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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>
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.
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.