They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 2 Peter 2:19
Denial is probably one of the best known defense mechanisms, used often to describe situations in which people seem unable to face reality or admit an obvious truth…”He’s in denial.” Denial is an outright refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring. Addicts or alcoholics often deny they have a problem.
I’ve been sober for four years. It’s through God’s grace that He used the program Celebrate Recovery to get me sober. That and the men I met through its program. But before attending CR I wasn’t in denial that I had a drinking problem. I was in denial however that I needed help for my drinking problem in spite of the fact it had caused legal, financial and marriage problems.
My thinking was that I could get sober on my own even though I drank on a daily basis. My thoughts and my goals for each day revolved around being able to drink for the day. Needing help wasn’t my only denial. In my mind, my drinking wasn’t that bad.
I even denied why I drank. I told myself I drank for the fun of it. To relax and have fun. But in reality I was angry. I drank to cope and drown my anger and hurts. I was angry about my worsening bipolar. I was angry about my worsening Parkinson’s. I was angry against my ex-wife for how she was controlling our children and attempting to turn them against me. And at the height of my drinking I had developed an eating disorder. I was going downhill and I was falling fast and all the while I was in denial I needed help.
Denial functions to protect the ego from things the individual cannot cope with. While this may save us from anxiety or pain, denial also requires a substantial investment of energy. Because of this, other defenses are also used to keep these unacceptable feelings from consciousness.
In many cases, there might be overwhelming evidence that something is true, yet the person will continue to deny its existence or truth because it is too uncomfortable to face.
Concerning my eating disorder, I denied it was as severe as it was. I embraced it as if it was a comforting friend. I denied it affected my relationships. I held on to it referring to it as Ana giving it a personality. Eventually when I got down to the weight of 105 pounds I did go to a Christ centered eating disorder treatment for 21 days. Where I they reaffirmed CR’s Principle One, “Realize I’m not God. I admit that I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life has become unmanageable.”
With both drinking and my eating disorder I was in denial. I believed that I was in control. In Principal One of Celebrate Recovery we finally face the reality that we’re not God. That we are not in control. Our recovery journey has begun.