Throughout substance abuse and chemical dependency treatment, addicts must go through a series of denial phases in order to truly comprehend the problem before moving towards a healthy recovery. In total, there are 3 unique denial stages throughout the recovery process. For some users, it can take months or even years to properly address and defeat the addiction.
Two distinct denial types exist in recovery. The first type is akin to lying, as an addict, when confronted about their dependence, denies any issue while understanding its existence. An individual who is truly unaware of the extent of the issue at hand defines the second.
Denial stage 1 refers to a user who refuses to admit to the addiction. This does not necessarily mean that they will not address the issue; rather, they do not view it as a problem. Other users may acknowledge the use, but refuse to accept that an addiction is present. Overcoming this initial stage can only occur through abstinence and educational means. In order for a recovery to take place, the addict must first accept their addiction as a problem behavior.
Denial stage 2 often surfaces following treatment. In this circumstance, the addict feels they have been “cured”, while refusing to seek additional help from exterior sources. In order to move beyond phase 2, the addict must understand that they are powerless to maintain sobriety on their own.
The final denial stage sees an addict refusing to commit full-heartedly to recovery. Though the addict may vocalize a commitment, they may prove unable to maintain it for a long period of time. Phase 3 is often the shortest in the denial pack – leading either to relapse or increased involvement in the recovery lifestyle.
If a friend or loved one is struggling to come to grips with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, seek out help. Don't wait - tomorrow may never come.