We’ve all heard that most addicts and alcoholics go through a period of denial about their condition. The truth is they don’t even have to fit into any particular category, so whether or not they are labeled as being an addict or alcoholic is beside the point.
They may be in denial about the fact that they have a problem, but there are some easily observable situations that can confirm that rather quickly. If their drinking and/or drug use is negatively impacting their lives or the lives of loved ones, that is reason enough to try and do something to change the behavior. Most substance abusers don’t want to admit that what they’re doing to themselves or others is that disruptive or harmful, because it requires them to look at the reality of their actions, when getting drunk or high is their way of escaping reality. Having to face real life and destructive behavior for them is a threat to their escape, so they will deny it as long as they possibly can.
One way to pierce this veil of denial is to show them exactly how their alcohol or drug use has affected their lives and/or the ones around them. The trickiest part about this is that too often friends and family members make this a blame and shame session, which unfortunately only drives the addict deeper into the problem. When they feel that “everyone is against them,” the only place they know where to turn is back to the alcohol or drugs. Instead, it must be done with compassion and be ready to present a solution to them as well instead of just pointing out problems.
With enough specific examples given in a non-threatening way, the user will often then become very remorseful and may break down and be willing to change. Having a skilled interventionist guide loved ones through this and ready to escort the addict to treatment makes the whole process go much easier in most cases.