How To Talk To An Addict In Denial

Posted on July 6, 2017 By

No one wants to be addicted, no one’s like “oh, I’m gonna go be addicted to whatever.” It comes from a root, there’s a root problem here. And you really have to get to that root problem or it’s just gonna keep coming back. So I hurt my back at work and went to the doctor, instantly got four prescriptions, so that’s kind of where the addiction started. I was taking lots of them three times a day and at first it was great. So eventually after three months, I needed them, it wasn’t “Oh, it makes me feel better.” I was running from being sick at that point. But I kept telling myself it was okay because the doctor gave them to me, I’m in pain so I need to take these. When you’re dealing with Opiate pain medications, they are typically prescribed by a primary care physician or some sort of attending physician because of another physical issue. That gives the client ‘permission’ to use these things and unfortunately, when they start using them and become dependent on them, what happens with prescription pain medications is it’s an Opiate, so it depletes the dopamine in the brain and that becomes their reinforcement.

My family noticed, and they started confronting me about it, but of course I was like “No, I’m okay, I’m doing what I need to do, they’re coming from the doctor.” I would never come out and say “Oh, I’ve taken ten already and it’s only eight o’clock in the morning.” I would hide it like that, even though they all knew. But in my mind, they didn’t know so I lied to— I lied about that a lot. Initially when people come into treatment, denial is one of the very first barriers that we see. It’s something that is a little difficult to overcome because they’re being challenged to manage something that has become a deeply embedded relationship in their life. You become numb to emotions, to regret, to guilt, all those things that you would think one who’s addicted to something might feel. You don’t feel that. When you’re in your addiction, you don’t feel those emotions therefore you keep doing it, cause if you did, you wouldn’t let yourself take that next pill.

So you block it out and so all of those emotions that a normal person feels, don’t matter in that moment, they’re gone. A lot of times, what we do is we have them write letters to their addiction and say, you know, saying goodbye or addressing or confronting it, almost as if it were a relationship that you need to end. And as you know, that denial is one of the stages of grief, so it’s almost like they’re mourning that relationship and coming to terms with that and breaking that off completely. I think really talking to someone very calmly and saying “This is what I see, this is what you see, we need to talk to somebody like a professional, we need to get this— we need to get somebody in here that doesn’t know either one of us and put out the pro’s and con’s, the facts and go from there.” Definitely don’t be aggressive with it because it’s only going to make that person want to do it that much more.

You’ve really just got to be honest and talk calmly and open and go get help with it..

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