How To End Denial


Have you ever been stopped by a police officer because you were going over the speed limit?

When the officer asked you “Do you know how fast you were going?” you answer “No” or give a number several mph lower than your real speed.

If you relate to what happened in this situation you have a small picture into what happens in the denial system with your alcoholic.

What can YOU do about it?

Everyone experiences denial

It would be a wonderful world if everyone was 100% transparent…
Or would it?

When your best friend asks you how you like her outfit, do you REALLY tell her how ugly it is?

In the situation where you have had emotional turmoil and someone asks you how your doing, do you take the time to really get to the truth.

Often the easiest answers are filled with denial.
Most of us tune out emotions that hurt or cause pain.

Freud said we seek pleasure and avoid pain.

Denial is simply a mechanism to help us not face the truth.

We all have it to some degree from time to time.

Understand denial

When you begin to think about it denial is only present to serve a purpose.

When you restrain yourself from telling your best friend her hairdo looks horrible your purpose is to preserve the friendship or keep the peace.

With your alcoholic the sacred issue is to preserve access to alchol along with opportunities to use.

If you read into it anything personal beyond that it’s not likely true.

I know I’ve simplified it to a great extent but most denial issues can be reduced to this basic need of your alcoholic.

It’s amazing how heaven and earth will be moved by the alcoholic to be able to continue in the addiction.

Denial looks like lies. When you take the intention out of it you begin to see it as part of the illness, unintended but necessary to maintain supply.

Know the truth

When you’re faced with denial issues with your alcoholic you need to be able to sort things out to know the truth.

Sometimes it’s very difficult because your alcoholic may speak an element of truth in the midst of the denial conversation.

If you hold onto the truth you can break free from your alcoholic’s denial.

I suggest you have ways to verify the truth so you can rely on something more than simply words you hear from your alcoholic.

Possibly if you see behaviors that match the words it would be easier to believe.

If you have a third party who confirms what is said (not one of the drinking buddies) it might be possible to believe.

Truth needs to be able to stand without conditions or circumstances. It is either true or not true. There aren’t shades of truth.

Become relentless in your pursuit for truth in your alcoholic and in yourself.

Speak truth

The truth you’ve discovered needs to be part of what you talk about.

If you keep the truth inside and simply think about it you’ll become hurt, resentful and angry.

Whether your alcoholic wants to hear it or not, the truth needs to be spoken.

I’ve come to believe some of the most powerful words to an alcoholic are “I don’t believe you”. These words have even more influence when you follow them up with the truth you’ve confirmed.

Defeat your denial

I think denial is a human condition.

Even though it’s more obvious in your alcoholic, it wouldn’t be good to refuse to look at issues of denial you may hold.

Let me ask are any of these issues of denial ones you’ve had?

  • It’s not really that bad
  • He deserves a few drinks
  • It’s my fault he drinks this much
  • If only I was more…(you fill in the blank)
  • I can make him change

Denial is a sneaky thing. It really can catch you off guard.
I do know the more you focus on the truth the more you break out of denial.

This is a key to make it better for you and your alcoholic.
Break denial…A great goal.

Have you recognized any areas of denial in your life or your alcoholic’s life? Share with us in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 23 Other People Thought...

  1. Viki

    Yes, my husband says that he will be fine if he only drinks beer, when time and time again it has led to hard liquor and disastrous results. He also believes that he doesn’t get drunk on just beer, but he does. And, he believes he’s perfectly capable of driving, when he is obviously inebriated. He’s not lying on purpose. He really believes it.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Classic Alcoholic rationalizations. Keep the truth in front of him and yourself. Don’t buy into the denial. I know he’s not lying he really wants it to be true, but it’s not. I appreciate your comment.

    • Julie

      Hi Viki,

      My name is Julie and I have left my own comment on this site.
      I can relate to what you are saying and just wanted to give you a bit of encouragement by writing this and letting you know I empathise with you. Have a great day.


      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Thanks Julie for supporting Viki!

  2. Julie

    My husband starts off with beer and he maintains his faculties because he will only drink “light beer” which makes him feel like he does not have a problem.
    However, he will have 6 or 7 cans of light beer and then he gets out the vodka and orange juice and has half a glass of vodka topped with half a glass of orange juice and after two glasses of this this sarcasm begins and the change in mental attitude. It disturbs me and I sometimes retaliate if it is a really nasty comment although I try to ignore it if I can. He has caused friction with my family on a couple of occasions because of this although he is particularly careful around his own family. I have been married to him for 30 years and he hates his job but we are in a position where he has to work. I only work part time but he wants me to go full time and because of past health issues and depression I am just coping with what I do now. He denies he is an alcoholic. His GP wanted to put him into Rehabiliation but my husband won’t go back to him now. He can still hold down a full time job but he is suffering mentally doing this.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      You see his denial. You’ll never be deceived by it again. It’s interesting how when someone like the GP get’s too close to the truth they’re no longer needed. Alcoholism is a powerful illness. It’s great you see through his rationalizing and understand he’s addicted.

    • ladypugsley

      He will be! But when he loses his job he won’t be in denial anymore.
      Actually, he is being crafty here by wanting YOU to work full-time. Why? So he can give up his job and have you keep him and carry on drinking.
      If he really can’t cope he should work part-time because right now from where I’m sitting he’s going to lose that job.
      I know. It happened to me!

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Excellent supportive advice. Thanks.

  3. Willow

    My husband is currently in denial that a night of drinking has led him to a legal mess. It’s my fault or one of the kids fault. The best is the police are the problem. It just amazes me the lack of responsibility they can take and believe even when faced with the facts. Even a new health issue is my fault he claims and not the booze. Hard to be around someone who plays the blame game.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      How ironic everyone and everything is responsible for his troubles… except Alcohol. Blame is hard to hear but you know the truth, so don’t believe the targeted words. Stick with the truth. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Danielle

    My husband drinks beer everynight – this I know. But I found a bottle hidden – this was the first incident. He lied to me and told me it was from a year ago when………..blah, blah. Then I walked in on him in the garage where he had another bottle hidden and was lips to bottle. He threw it back at me and told me that it was my fault he drinks ………. again, blah, blah. After that incident he promised he would stop and see a counselor which he did. He also promised that if he took any hard alcohol it would be out of the liquor cabinet and would leave the shot glass on the counter so I would know. Which he now does. Fast forward to about 8 months later and just today I found 3 more bottle hidden. I am at a loss and feel so alone – not sure what to do.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      It appears your husband is in quite a bit of denial about his drinking. I’m not surprised about the hidden bottles and the game with the shot glass. Guess what we already know he doesn’t need the shot glass… he proved that in the garage. At least YOU don’t have to be in denial of the situation. Keep the truth in front of him. You’re not in the dark anymore. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Debby

    Danielle, my husband also hides bottles which I find quite often. When he sobers up, I show him that I found the bottle and he usually takes it and makes a big show of pouring it down the drain, saying he’s done and he won’t do it again. Same story over and over and over. He ruined my Mother’s day this year. He knew we were supposed to go over to the kids for a nice dinner and an hour before we are supposed to leave, I find him sitting in his truck totally passed out. 1st time he has totally passed out. It took my elderly father and myself to get him from the truck, into the house and into bed. He fell many times along the way and the next day wondered how he got so many big black bruises. Happy Mother’s day to me!!! Ok, I’ve had my pity party now….sorry. I’m learning from this site as I’m sure many have, that I’m not experiencing anything that many other’s haven’t. It seems to be all typical garbage for an alcoholic. Danielle, I’m at a loss and feel so alone also. I’m new to this site but I’m hopeful that ‘talking’ with others who are also going thru this will help me to not feel so isolated and yes, ashamed about the situation in our household. Good luck

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I wonder what would have happened if you left him in the truck, went to your kids for Mother’s Day dinner and left him to fend for himself. It may sound a bit harsh… but it’s not when you let your alcoholic be totally responsible for his drinking behavior.

      I’m glad your here at FreeMyAddict. Hopefully, together you’ll find support and direction for you and your alcoholic.

  6. Debby

    You know I may have done just that, but, it was in the lower 80’s here and he was completely closed up in there. I had to pound on the window to get him to come to enough to open the door. He was sweating profusely so I’m glad that I found him when I did.

  7. immi

    denial misdirection sarcasm blame, hes verbaly abusive now too and doddery on his feet ike an old man, its so damn sad.hes so lovely in so many ways but give him a drink… and he drinks every day and he just changes ,now he goes to bed drunk at 4 am and gets up at 8 still drunk to work from home and often drinks again in the afternoon so hes seldom sober, its really difficult to watch

    • Wendell

      It’s very difficult watching someone self destruct. Alcoholics can be some of the most charming people sober and occasionally with a few drinks in them. The problem is they can’t stop there. They lose control. Consequence inevitably follow. It just may not have happened…YET

  8. davidtulk

    Denial is simply a mechanism to help us not face the truth. Put another way denial is a mechanism to defend a bad habit that is ruining one’s life. How could the mechanism work, what might be the machinery involved? Could it be that the hippocampus, the brain’s subconscious memory store, is sending emotion-based messages (laced with dopamine for maximum impact) promising that continuation with the bad habit will bring relief from life’s struggles? The messages arrive at the logic-based pre-frontal cortex, the conscious thinking part of the brain, the part that left alone would interpret loss of freinds, money, health and happiness as a bad thing. While in total denial, the powerful subconscious emotion-based messages from the hippocampus are entirely obliterating the logic-based efforts of the pre-frontal cortex to interpret the situation.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks for your excellent explanation of denial. When you take into consideration the process involved in denial it certainly takes out any personal intent.

      • davidtulk

        Personal intent no, lack of moral fibre no, divine retribution no.
        Thanks? To the author of the book ‘Freedom from addiction – The Secret behind successful addiction busting’.
        Did someone ask ‘How come our hippocampus (memory store) is sending lies?’ Short answer: a hijacked reward system. Details are in the book.
        At long last the understanding of the workings of the brain is advancing.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        David, I appreciate your insight and about your book ‘Freedom From Addiction-The Secret behind successful addiction busting’. I hope you continue to share your vast understanding of addiction with FreeMyAddict.

  9. deedee

    Really great site and very informative. I am very worried about my eldely Mom who is alcoholic with dementia. My Dad left her in their home. He could not take her behaviour any more.
    What can I do to help? She is in denial and is playing the innocent victim. My siblings want nothing to do with her as long as she drinks. and my Dad is gone for good.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      You need to work with a therapist who has experience with older adults. It may be that you can find an ASAM Physician who would work with your mother. The average counselor may not be adept at working with an older person with dementia along with alcoholism.

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