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When Addict Isn't the Only Denier

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by Gin0710, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. Gin0710

    Gin0710 Active Contributor

    Ever been in a situation where it's not just the addict who denies having an addiction, but their family as well? Usually I hear, "Oh he's just having a good time!" or "He's been through a lot!". It's very frustrating to find the support when the people around us are in a constant state of denial. I fear that it's only making things worse and it could one day cost him his life!
  2. GettingBetter

    GettingBetter Senior Contributor

    Yes, unfortunately this is very common. It seems especially common with alcohol because it is legal and easy to justify. I've also seen the situation come up a lot where the addict will tell their family they got clean but never stop or act any differently at all. Yet the family will believe them anyway, just because they want to believe it's true so much that they let themselves be comforted by the lies the addict told them.

    It's very sad. I guess that's why they call it a "family disease."
  3. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    This happens quite often. People don't understand addiction and they are in denial that their loved one has an addiction. It is too painful for them to accept it so rather then see it for what it is they, they would rather chalk it up to "he's just having fun." or "It's just a phase he is going through." It really is a sad situation when the addict is killing themselves and they don't have the support system they need because their family is in denial.
  4. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    People really need to educate themselves about addiction. And we need to break down the stigma associated with it. I think a lot of people go into denial because they think "It could never happen to my child (or spouse or whatever)." Addiction is no longer something that happens to "bad people." No one is immune.
  5. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    I've noticed that most people who tend to dismiss an addiction as something that shouldn't be taken seriously have been addicts themselves or they still are using drugs.

    There is one family I knew . . . the parents were both addicts. Their children started using drugs when they were in their early teens and when it [the kids addiction] got to be a problem and the mother thought the time had come to talk to the kids, the father told the kids mother not to worry. That it was nothing more than a phase. But it wasn't. That was more than 10 years ago and their children still use drugs.
  6. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    I think people should know that there's a fine line between "having fun," and "getting addicted." It's such a shame that some people don't consider getting hooked to drugs, alcohol, and other substances as serious cases. I really believe that they need to be properly educated about these issues.
    deanokat likes this.
  7. Dwayneu

    Dwayneu Community Champion

    This type of ignorance is dangerous, it's like a cognitive bias. In part people may know about addiction, but they are in denial because a lot of them have the mentality that it can't happen close to home. When you are not accustomed to it, it's partially shocking, to realize that it can happen to anyone.
  8. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    Education really is the key. And that fine line between "having fun" and "getting addicted" sometimes gets blurred when someone's fun unwillingly turns into an addiction. That happens so often.
    ccain likes this.
  9. cpinatsi

    cpinatsi Senior Contributor

    Yes, this is true in some cases, and sadly this is the worst thing for the addict himself. It is really important the family and friends to try to encourage the addict to quit his bad habbits and not pretend like everything is fine. They are not helping that way at all.
  10. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    A friend's family sounded like that way. They do not admit that their father has an alcohol problem or addiction and they even buy him drinks and drink together. I was told that it is their way of having a good bonding time.
  11. DN02

    DN02 Member

    This is unfortunately quite common - families in denial, refusing to acknowledge that there's a problem and even covering up for the abuser. I've seen some close relatives do it.......pretending that it's all hunky dory till it's too late. When families do this, they're simply enabling the addict to continue with his/her addiction.
  12. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    I think the whole family often does take a while to come to terms with the fact that they have an addict in the family.

    There's still a stigma attached to addiction, and not only does the addict not want to admit the problem, those associated with them will often find it hard to accept aswell.
  13. ccain

    ccain Member

    I think a big problem is also growing up with a lifelong addict. The addiction becomes the norm and is therefore not unusual to experience. In a lot of those cases much of the time it takes an event, such as abuse, DUI, hospitalization, etc, to realize the full extent of the problem. For those who are functioning alcoholics, for example, it can be almost impossible to tell when they are not sober to someone who is around them often.
  14. Makana

    Makana Member

    Denial from both ends does not help anybody. At least the family needs to accept the problem that there is and confront it with love and not rebuke.