0014: How to Deal with Denial – What Addicts and Their Families Need to Know

As Recovery Stakeholders, you know that denial is not unique to someone struggling with addiction. Stakeholders also experience denial … not wanting to accept the reality of their loved one’s addiction. How do we recognize something we can’t see? What if denial is actually serving a purpose? Could it be an unavoidable part of the change process? Rather than being frustrated by denial, let’s dig a little deeper to understand it.

In this episode, you will:

  • Learn when denial can serve a good purpose, and when it doesn’t
  • Accept that denial happens, and determine what to do about it when encountered
  • Deal with denial and prepare to make necessary changes without denial getting in the way

Time Stamped Show Notes

You can listen to the Episode right here on the RecoverYES site Using the Player Below.
(Click the time stamp … if available … to jump directly to that point in the episode.)

  • [01:42] -This article was on Today.com about David Cassidy. David Cassidy struggled with alcoholism many years ago and had an issue on stage not long ago.
  • [05:00] -Aware Appreciation.
  • [07:15] -You may have heard that the translation for the word denial is “Don’t Even kNow I Am Lying.” I’ve always had a problem with it because the word ‘know’ doesn’t start with an ‘n.’
  • [07:44] -Let’s start by considering why people deny that something or anything is going on? Denial is actually a defense strategy to protect yourself from feeling pain or shame.
  • [13:29] -The most common way an addict (or even ourselves for that matter) are forced to deal with and breakthrough denial is that the consequences have become too great.
  • [16:41] -Breaking through denial typically requires a pattern interrupt … a sort of intervention. In a moment of new awareness, we see (or hear) something differently.
  • [17:16] -My son told me he’s an adult and he can do what he wants. He wants to get high (heroin). He says he’s going to keep doing it. Of course, I’m devastated.


If there were any specific resources referred to in this Episode, you’ll find them here.

About the author 

Dr. Gala Gorman

Dr. Gala Gorman holds advanced degrees in human development, is a holistic life coach, and published author of the Spiritual Approach™ series of books focused on practical spirituality. She co-founded RecoverYES to support the specific needs of people dealing with addiction.