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7 Signs of Denial in an Addict
Today, an estimated 18.5 million Americans struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, yet, in 2019, just 20.4% of us ever got help. That’s often because of factors like denial, in which we literally lie to ourselves about whether we have a problem and whether we can quit on our own. Most of us associate addiction with significant personal shame and personal failure. While that isn’t true, addiction is a mental health disorder that some of us are more vulnerable to than others, we feel that way anyway. As a result, we lie to ourselves, convincing ourselves that we drink or use because of specific reasons, and we could easily regain control “if we wanted to”.
Denial is also incredibly normal. Most addicts are more prone to denial than they are to acknowledging that they have a problem. And, that’s important, because acknowledgement is one of the first steps to getting help. You can’t go to rehab and get treatment if you’re not yet ready to go “I have a problem and I want to get better”.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, chances are, they are in denial. These 7 signs of denial in an addict will get you started on how to recognize and respond to that denial.
1. “I can quit anytime I want”
If your loved one constantly acts as though they can stop at any point in time, but doesn’t, they are likely in denial. Phrases like:
“I can quit anytime I want”
“I’ll quit next week”
“I’ll think about if I want to and if I want to I will”
Are all fine if they are followed by quitting or a reduction in alcohol intake. But, when they are empty bluster and the person does not decrease alcohol, does not attempt to quit, and continues on as they are, it’s likely a case of denial. Here, they are using a mental tactic to avoid acknowledging to themselves that they can’t quit. And, chances are, deep down, they’re afraid that they can’t. So, if they say it out loud or try to for real, they will have to acknowledge that they can’t.
This is especially common when substance use started out small and got to be a big thing over a period of time. E.g., someone abusing sleeping pills, someone drinking, or an occasional habit of recreational drugs like cannabis became a daily thing. They can easily pretend they’re still in a state from several months or even years ago, when they were in control and they could quit. Acknowledging that that is no longer the case is painful and most people will avoid it at all costs unless forced to face it.
2. “It’s Not That Bad”
“So? I’m not doing heroin”, “It’s just a glass of vodka after work”, “I don’t even drink as much as X person” are all phrases you might here when someone is trying to minimize the extent of their problem. Chances are, they might not realize how much they drink or use themselves. That’s especially true when they get into sneaking habits. For example, they have a bottle of whiskey on the table, they start drinking too much of it, they start filling it up to hide how much they’re drinking, and before long, they can’t even keep track of how much they’re drinking themselves.
This is most common with prescription medication, because people take one and then another, and hide the results – and don’t notice how much they’ve gone through until the prescription is out. Then, they get more and the cycle starts over again. If they’ve gone doctor shopping and have more than one doctor, they’ll even pretend that they’re not using that much, they just need more because their original prescription doesn’t cover their needs.
This sort of denial is especially insidious because they’ll likely have no idea how much it is they’re actually taking. That can be difficult to deal with, because you’ll have to force them to realize how much they’re drinking or using as part of the discussion.
3. “I didn’t drink/use anything”
Outright lying is something that few of us expect as a denial tactic, but it is. This is exacerbated by the fact that substance use affects memory. Someone using might not have any actual memory of drinking or using on that date. They might be acting self-righteous because they actually believe you’re accusing them falsely.
Here, you’ll most commonly get lies about how much someone drank. E.g., “I only had two beers”, when they came home and blacked out.
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4. “I need to relax”
If someone is validating their substance use through excuses, they are likely in denial. Here, you’ll often see things like:
- “I need a drink after work, commute and my boss are so stressful”
- “Just until I get a new job, I’ll quit after, I promise”
- “I’m in pain, I’ll stop when this prescription is out”
- “I can’t function without it, I’ll finish this big task at work and then I’ll quit”
People who have experienced a traumatic incident, such as a car accident or death in the family, are very likely to lean on this type of denial. It means shifting the reason for using substances to an external event. The problem is, the goal post is almost always moved.
5. “If you wouldn’t nag”
People who blame others for their substance use disorders are normally trying to evade personal responsibility and personally feeling bad. They can weaponize that to anger against others, essentially blaming the other for causing their need for substance use.
- “Dealing with a baby is so stressful, I can’t manage without the valium”
- “If you wouldn’t nag”
- “If my boss would quit riding me all day”
- “Carolyne broke up with me I need this”
This sort of blame can range from the relatively understandable to simply accusing someone else of causing problems. It’s always a bad sign, because reasons for drinking are always internal. If someone is looking externally, they’re looking for someone to blame so they don’t have to be accountable themselves.
6. “And who’s fault is that?”
If someone turns conversations around and blames others or manipulates you into changing the subject when you bring up drugs and alcohol, they are in denial. Drug and alcohol addicts often use manipulation to cover their addiction, both to others and to themselves. For example, if they redirect the conversation, change the topic, or twist the conversation around to be about you or your behavior. This is a strong sign that they are evading the topic, and usually that means to themselves as well.
7. Hiding Substance Use
The most telling sign that someone is in denial is when they hide signs of substance abuse. For example, if they tuck bottles into the bottom of the trash. If they hide pill packages. If they use pills from a container other than the one you see them taking daily prescriptions from. If they’re using illicit drugs, it’s understandable they’d hide that as well, but anyone taking an illicit drug also has a problem as well.
Denial is common in addicts, because most of us don’t want to admit that we have a problem. We want to be healthy, in control, and able to stop whenever we want. But, addiction catches everyone unaware. There’s no shame in acknowledging that you have a mental health disorder and no shame in getting help. The first step to getting help is recognizing the problem and reaching out.
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Addiction is a complex disease that is often hard to understand. Add in a co-occurring mental health disorder, and you may be overwhelmed. The good news is that you don’t have to be. Over time, we’ve learned a great deal about the relationship between mental illnesses such as borderline personality disorder and addiction. We’ve also learned a lot about how to treat both separately and together. If you are struggling with addiction and borderline personality disorder, you do not have to struggle alone. At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand how hard it is to recover from addiction. We also know that you may feel that it’s that much more challenging because of a co-occurring mental illness. We are here to support and treat both.
What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder, sometimes referred to as BPD, is a mental illness associated with an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. Those with a borderline personality disorder will often act impulsively and may have problems in relationships. One of the key symptoms associated with a borderline personality disorder is that the individual has difficulty with how they view themselves and their place in the world. What this looks like from the outside is quickly changing interests and even values. Additional signs and symptoms that may be seen include:
- Self-harming behavior
- Recurring thoughts of suicidal behavior or threats
- Persistent feelings of emptiness
- Difficulty controlling anger
- Feelings of dissociation
Knowing the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder, it is not hard to see how borderline personality disorder and drug addiction occur together. The feelings of BPD coupled with its impulsivity are a key reason why many who suffer from BPD self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
What Is Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by both drug seeking and compulsive use despite any harmful consequences. Addiction is a disease of isolation that affects the mind, body, and spirit. Approximately ten percent of the United States population struggles with addiction. Over time, continued drug and alcohol use change the pathways in the brain. It is these changes that make it so challenging to get sober and stay sober. Many who find themselves addicted to a substance will also find that it takes more than one attempt to find lasting sobriety. Those who suffer from a co-occurring mental disorder and addiction are best served by seeking treatment at a facility that can treat both simultaneously.
Is There a Connection Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Addiction?
Nearly four percent of the United States population suffers from addiction and also has a mental illness. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is a correlation between borderline personality disorder and drug addiction. Researchers have found that half of those who have borderline personality disorder also have a substance use disorder. Similarly, about twenty-five percent of those with a substance use disorder also have a borderline personality disorder. Researchers believe that the struggle with emotions and the impulsivity of borderline personality disorder results in this connection between BPD and drug addiction. In addition to their being a connection, there is further evidence that those with a borderline personality disorder may experience relapses more often than those without it.
Benefits of Going to 10 Acre Ranch for Rehab
At 10 Acre Ranch, we’ve provided Southern California with expert addiction treatment for nearly three decades. We understand the importance of treating any co-occurring mental health illnesses, such as borderline personality disorder while treating your addiction. Our mission is to rebuild lives, restore families, and improve communities. We are one of the leading rehab facilities in California and offer a wide range of programs that will meet your needs. We are experts in helping people safely detox and stop using meth. We provide a warm and welcoming environment where we integrate the treatment to heal the whole person. We are committed to helping you break free from active addiction and build a life in recovery. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!
Deciding to get sober is the first step in a journey that can lead to a life better than you can imagine. However, it’s a decision that’s not always easy, and sometimes it’s complicated by your relationships. If you and your partner have been using drugs and alcohol together, you may wonder how to quit using drugs and alcohol while keeping the relationship. Your relationship may have problems that may have been caused or worsened by both of your drug use. It may all feel very overwhelming, and you may not even know if your partner has any interest in getting sober. The first step is to ask them, If your partner also wants to get sober, your next question may be can couples go to rehab together, and the answer is yes. At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand a couple wanting to get sober and have the programs in place to help you beat addiction together.
Can Couples Go to Rehab Together?
Recovering from addiction while trying to repair relationships is hard enough. It might be more complicated when you and your partner are recovering at the same time. That is why couples can go to rehab together. Couples drug rehab allows each of you to get the individual treatment you need while also working on your relationship. You will both work through your individual treatment at your own pace, but there will be opportunities to come together to do the relationship work as well. Your addictions have harmed you both as individuals and within your relationship. Going to treatment together will allow you to understand better how your relationship has been affected and how to move forward. You can work together to support each other’s recovery plans while you mend your relationship.
Pros of Couples Treatment
Successful relationships require commitment and attention. Like a neglected lawn that gets overrun by weeds, your relationship will be taken over by the issues you ignore. Adding addiction into the mix only serves to complicate the problems and create more unrest in your relationship. Going to treatment together enables you to start clearing away the debris while you are building a firm foundation for your sobriety. By attending treatment together, you will be able to work on your sobriety and your relationship in a safe, supportive environment. You will each understand the work that the other has done within rehab. Attending rehab together allows you to work on your relationship while progressing in your recovery rather than waiting until you have finished treatment. Together you can build firm foundations for your recovery and your revitalized relationship. While you are both responsible for your individual sobriety, you can support each other throughout. Couples who engage in therapy together report a significant reduction in substance use and increased satisfaction in their relationships.
Cons of Couples Treatment
We understand the value that you place on your relationship. However, we also know it’s essential you put your recovery first. Going to rehab together can make that difficult, especially if your relationship is filled with unhealthy behaviors. Many relationships that revolve around addiction are also wrought with codependency, making it very challenging to focus on your own recovery. Completing rehab together is a possibility, but you have to evaluate if it’s the best decision for you as an individual. Sometimes you have to take a step back from your relationship to work on yourself alone. Our treatment staff can help you determine the best course for you.
Get Help Today at 10 Acre Ranch
At 10 Acre Ranch, we’ve provided Southern California with expert and caring addiction treatment for over 25 years. Our mission is to rebuild lives, restore families, and improve communities. We are one of the leading rehab facilities in California. We provide a warm and welcoming environment where we tailor healing to the whole person. We are committed to helping you break the destructive cycle of isolation that many develop during active addiction.
Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!
Struggling with addiction is hard enough. Add in being in a relationship with someone who is also struggling with addiction, and it’s even more challenging. Addiction complicates even the best of relationships. It’s hard to know what problems are tied to your addiction and what problems are just the relationship itself. If your partner has no interest in getting sober, you might be facing the end of your relationship. But, if you both realize that you have a problem with drugs and alcohol, you might wonder if there’s a way forward for you together. The short answer is yes. You can get sober and support each other through couples’ addiction recovery empowerment. At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand your wanting to find your way to sobriety together, and we have programs in place to help you get on the road to recovery as partners.
What Is Couples Addiction Recovery Empowerment?
Addiction recovery is challenging and complex work. Completing this work within a relationship adds another layer. Couples addiction recovery empowerment enables you both to recognize the work that each of you must do to recover as individuals so that you can continue in your relationship. Instead of going to different treatment centers, you can attend treatment at the same facility. With individualized treatment plans, you will each progress through treatment at your own pace. However, you will also have the opportunity to go to therapy together to examine how your addictions have affected your relationship. Doing this in a safe and therapeutic setting offers you the chance to heal as individuals and as a couple.
Why Is Couples Addiction Recovery Empowerment Important?
Being in a romantic relationship can present challenges. Struggling with addiction and being in a relationship is a recipe for disaster. Seeking treatment together can enable you to heal yourselves and build a solid foundation for your future in recovery. Couples addiction recovery empowerment allows you to experience rehab similarly by being in the same treatment center while you empower your partner to heal themselves at their own individual pace. At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand how meaningful your relationship is to you, but we also know how important you work through your individual addictions. While there may be overlap in your treatment plans, there will also be room for individual needs.
You will likely both start by detoxing, and you may do this separately. Detox is not a pleasant experience. It may not serve your relationship or your recovery to go through detox together. However, you will likely reunite after detox as you both begin to do the work of building a life and a stronger relationship in recovery. We know you’re in this together, and we’re here to empower you and your relationship with treatment plans that prepare you to move forward as a sober couple. Instead of sharing your addiction, you can begin to share your recovery as a part of your relationship. Researchers have found that couples who participated in treatment and therapy together have a greater chance of remaining abstinent from using drugs. Additionally, couples who work together in recovery often have stronger and more satisfying relationships with each other and with their children. Finding your way out of addiction is a positive move for you and everyone you love.
Get Help Today With Addiction at 10 Acre Ranch
We’ve been providing Southern California with expert and caring addiction treatment for over twenty-five years. At 10 Acre Ranch, our mission is to rebuild lives, restore families, and improve communities. As one of the leading rehab facilities in California, we provide a welcoming environment for you to begin your recovery. We know how hard it is to break the destructive cycle of isolation that so often occurs in addiction. With a tailored treatment plan, we’ll partner with you to heal you holistically. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!