The definition of denial is: the act of contradicting a fact that is not true, the rejecting and not believing or accepting the truth. I find that denial of one’s condition is not a feeling, but a state of mind. So one may be able to refer to it as an “attitude”. It is often presented to me as a form of trying to deceive others, but of course, it is always deeply rooted in the deception of self. The practice of picking up a “white chip” should be noted here. Over the years, I have counseled many intelligent successful and able people in various stages of the disease of alcoholism. From the nightmare of actively drinking to having over 30 years of sobriety. The most successful path of sobriety I see includes the attendance of 12 step meetings. When someone picks up a white chip, they are taking an act toward smashing denial. They are making a truth.
Denial is based upon years or deception. Whether it be family, friends or in the workplace, the active alcoholic (addict) has to create a variety of excuses for the various aspects of his behavior. This contributes greatly to the alcoholic becoming overly comfortable with rationalizing and lying.
It creates an almost intimate relationship with dishonesty.
That is why the act of picking up a white chip is so important. It contributes to breaking down denial and begins the path of honesty. The way we operate is that we perceive an event; we think about it, those thoughts then create feelings and thus emotions. By this theory changing our thoughts will change our feelings and behaviors, enabling us to be healthier.
This is true, but I have also found that not only can we think ourselves into healthy behavior but we can also behave ourselves into healthy thinking. So any behavior of honesty and dignity will contribute toward breaking denial. It could be as small as returning the correct change mistakenly given to us in a store or it could be as large as admitting to our fellows we need help. For the real alcoholic or addict, the idea of controlled drinking or moderate drinking nearly always fails. Changing one’s belief system or working on moral issues is not constructive while ignoring the disease.
It is critical that denial is smashed and a person begins an intimate relationship with honesty in all areas of his life.
Then he may begin to take positive steps forward in his journey.
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