Addiction is a powerful, all-consuming disease that has chameleon-like qualities. It can easily take shelter behind other problems in an effort to avoid being recognised.

Addiction has no intention of accepting accountability for the destruction it causes instead, it deflects blame on other people or situations. This is why so many addicts find it impossible to see what everyone around them already knows – addiction has not only taken over their life, it is working diligently to destroy it.

addiction is a disease of denial Western Counselling

For a person struggling with addiction to finally break free, they must first confront their denial. Until they are able to move past denial, there is very little chance they will see the seriousness of the situation for what it really is. Denial is such a common component of addiction, and must be overcome before recovery can begin.

In most cases, addiction slowly progresses, which means that it may be decades before an addict begins to experience the consequences of alcohol  and/ or substance abuse. In fact, it is not unusual for addicts to have positive experiences when actively consuming substances, especially in the beginning; it’s why the use continues and escalates. The truth is that addiction tends to creep up slowly, much like a lion stalking its prey.

Despite the changes, an addict may be experiencing in their mind, body, and overall appearance, he or she is often unaware of what is going on. Instead, their family, friends, and even co-workers will begin to see changes in their appearance and behaviour. This leads to a crucial question- if those around them realise there is a problem, why doesn’t the addict?

For an addict or alcoholic, it tends to be easy to connect happy emotions, memories, and feelings with their drug and/ or alcohol use. In most cases, they view drugs and alcohol as a panacea for the problems and stresses they experience in their everyday life, while the negative components of their addiction are attributed to “bad luck” or something else that is out of their control. They see “using” as a way to celebrate, escape unpleasant feelings or memories, relax after a long day, or numb themselves against emotional or physical pain.

On a subconscious level, they are able to defend their usage simply by denying the reality of their situation. As time progresses, their aspirations, goals, and morals become so low that they begin to see this as normal. When they are confronted by someone who suggests they have a problem, they may become aggressive, angry, withdrawn, or even deflect from the situation. Sadly some may die still holding onto the belief that everything is ok.

Only when an individual truly acknowledges their situation and has honesty and self-awareness about their alcohol and/or drug use, can they possibly start the process of recovery