If someone you love has an obvious problem with alcohol or drugs but refuses to accept it, you may be wondering how they can be acting the way he or she does. To you, the problem is clear and you cannot understand how this person could think that he or she is okay. You may be of the impression that this individual is just lying about his or her problem so that he or she can carry on acting as they have been doing.
However, the reality is that many people who suffer from addiction are genuinely unable to recognise that they actually do have an addiction. They deny they have a problem as a way of protecting themselves from facing reality. Many alcoholics or drug addicts simply do not want to admit that they have an issue because of the stigma that is still attached to addiction. Even if they know deep down, they will not want to admit it because they do not wish to be known as an addict.
Some addicts are afraid that if they admit they have a problem they will have to give up the substance they have come to rely so heavily on. They are not ready to accept that their addiction is the thing that is causing so many problems in their lives, so they may come up with other excuses to enable them to carry on drinking or taking drugs.
Addicts often blame others for their drinking or drug-taking. They may say their life is a mess and will, for example, blame a spouse for being at work all the time or their parents for being too hard on them. They will convince themselves that if a certain circumstance were different, they would never have had to resort to drugs or alcohol. They often believe that if situations were different, they would simply quit drugs or alcohol.
Some have been through a harrowing experience, such as the death of a loved one, and have turned to drugs or alcohol to help them cope. It is understandable to want to numb the pain after a traumatic event but there are many individuals who have also been through such devastating experiences and have not turned to chemical substances. There are ways to cope with trauma without drugs or alcohol.
Fear of failure is another reason some addicts will not try to get help. They may have attempted to before and failed, or they may be afraid to try just in case they fail. Some would rather not put in the effort to prevent themselves facing failure. They do not realise that relapse is common but that recovery is entirely possible if they are prepared to commit.
Some believe that there is no point in giving up drugs or alcohol because their lives will not be any better without these substances. They may have started drinking or taking drugs in response to a bad situation and, therefore, believe that their life will still be miserable even if they are not drinking or using drugs. Nevertheless, by continuing to drink or take drugs, they are not giving themselves the chance to improve their lives.
Recovery Requires Commitment
It is important for family members and friends to realise that they cannot force their loved one to get help. Even if your addicted family member or friend agrees to get help just to get you off his or her back, they are unlikely to be successful if they are not prepared to commit to a life in recovery.
All you can do at this point is continue to support the person and encourage him or her to accept that addiction is a problem that is destroying the lives of so many people around them. There will come a time when the individual is ready to accept help and, when that time comes, he or she will need your love and support.