In a book by Stephanie S. Covington it states, “It takes a great deal of courage to be honest with ourselves. The layers of cultural denial increase our own personal denial system, and we find it more difficult to recognize and admit that we have a problem.” This is so relevant/profound in a lot of ways. You don’t have to be a person in recovery to experience these things. In our world, in our lives, we face denial in many ways.
*Denial of ourselves, because we don’t like who we are, who we’ve become, or who we wish we could be;
*Denial of problems, because we don’t want to deal with them, we don’t want others to recognize them, or we just don’t want to put in the effort it may require;
*Denial of others’ problems, because maybe they’re our children, spouses, close friends or someone we look up to, and we just don’t want to make them feel bad, or personally experience the shame and guilt.
Denial is a part of human nature. We use denial as a defense or coping skill. This can be a dangerous practice if someone you know is dealing with a life threatening situation like alcohol or substance abuse, domestic violence, any other form of abuse, or maybe even suicidal. It doesn’t always feel like the responsibility should be on the “onlookers,” however maybe- just maybe, those are the only ones that could impact the person or situation and help encourage change.
We know change is a personal decision. I know when it was time for me to change, it was more difficult to address my issues because too many people in my corner chose to look the other way. Oh my gosh, was I a good manipulator! Or was I? I thought I had people fooled, but then, when I look back, I know who was responsible for my way of life at that time. I was not in control, but responsible for my own addiction(s). There were times I would start to wonder who was to blame. Now that is when my ego kicks in. Someone should have tried to stop me! I would think to myself. But really, even if they attempted to get in the way of me and my temporary gratifying moments, I would have denied them access. And then I snap back into reality and remind myself that, it was always up to me.
Don’t get the message twisted though, I still envision the moments when I was doing quite bad and those closest to me that were in denial, they could have been honest and at least planted the seed to let me know what they saw. I saw what they saw. I knew what had to be done. I just didn’t want the task of facing reality- maybe they didn’t either. When I did face the reality of my life, I was grateful that God put people, places, and things in my path to help me pay a little more attention to what was needed. Then, I changed.