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Two Common Defense Mechanisms Which Get In The Way Of Step One And Finding Freedom In Recovery

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Friends and family members are often baffled by their loved one’s inability to recognize the severity of their problem with drugs and alcohol. Making a decision to engage in step one- admitting that we are powerless over drugs and alcohol, and that our lives have become unmanageable- is a life changing choice.

Projecting Onto Other People

When we aren’t able to recognize our character defects and take responsibilities for our actions and behaviors, we tend to blame other people. We take part in projecting our known flaws as being the flaws of others. There is a difficult but necessary truth most addicts and alcoholics in recovery have to come to. While there are many circumstances and underlying issues which can and do contribute to addiction, the choice to abuse drugs and alcohol is a choice. Unless someone is held down without any constitutional capability of refusing to consume abusive quantities of drugs and alcohol the blame cannot be pointed toward anyone. This doesn’t mean addicts and alcoholics are bad people. Quite the contrary, in fact, because addiction is a disease of the brain which interferes with the ability to make good decisions. Instead of owning up with a simple statement like “I am addicted I need help” addicts will defend themselves with projections like “You’re the one with a problem. You need help. I do this because of you.”

Denying That There Is A Problem

Denial is a common characteristic among any addict or alcoholic. As The Big Book of alcoholics anonymous explains in the chapter “More About Alcoholism”, “No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows.” Being an addict or an alcoholic feels like a scarlett letter or a brand being imprinted upon us. There is still a lot of shame and stigma which surrounds the disease of alcoholism. People don’t want to admit that they are addicts or alcoholics because they don’t want to face the many misrepresented truths society holds about that label. “Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people,” the book explains. Instead of just admitting to the problem, denial sends many addicts and alcoholics back to their drugs of choices. “The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.” Denial is a form of obsession- obsessive thinking which delays having to fully digest the scope of the truth. The truth, it is often said, will set us free. On the other side of step one is another eleven steps toward freedom from addiction and refuge in recovery.

You are not a failure for becoming addicted. You are a winner for recognizing you are in need of help and seeking treatment. Everyone is capable of change because everyone is capable of recovering. Let the treatment programs and recovery services at Design For Change show you the way to unparalleled peace of body and mind through therapies targeting holistic wellness. For information, call us today at (877) 267-3646.

Dr. at drug rehab