If you take the letters used to spell denial, D-E-N-I-A-L, you can form the sentence “Don’t even no I am lying,” using the letters that form the word denial as the first letter of each word in the sentence. The difference between denial and lying is that when you are in denial you actually believe you are telling the truth.
“I know I drink too much at times, but I don’t think alcohol is my problem,” he said, fully believing he was being honest.
“I use drugs to socialize, and sometimes they get me into trouble, but I don’t feel I’m an addict. I don’t shoot up or steal to support my drug use, and I’ve never been in trouble with the law.”
The trouble with addiction is that it never feels like addiction until you have lost everything meaningful in your life, and that often includes your freedom, your health and those who mean the most to you. Even then there are times when you question whether or not you actually had a substance use issue, or were driven by some other force or emotional issue.
It is important to know that the addicted brain actually needs its addictive substance to function normally. This is true because the brain stops producing chemicals that are being supplied in abundance by the mind altering chemical, and begins to depend on the drug to meet its needs. When the drug disappears the brain enters a state of need and crisis we call withdrawal.
It makes sense to consider that a brain dependent on a drug for its very survival is going to find any other problem it can think of to blame for its problems, before accepting that’s its lifeline is also its destruction. This is the physical state we call the “disease” of addiction.
It takes an addicted brain two years or more to adjust to the absence of your drug of choice, and heal at least some of the damage done by producing the chemicals lost on its own. Two years is longer than most of us make it drug free the first time around, and it is worth noting that any relapse prolongs the length of time needed for the brain to heal itself.
So when you begin thinking you don’t really have a drug or alcohol problem, or can’t figure out why a loved one continues to use and puts his addictive needs before all else, stop and remember that the addicted brain is hijacked and controlled by its drug of choice. You or your loved one are not using logic, but seeing things from the perspective of the enemy. It’s sort of like putting Adolph Hitler in charge of making decisions for Jewish people, or making David Duke the president of the NAACP.
Personally, my experience is that the addicted brain is not healed in two years. It takes five or six years, in some cases longer, for the physiological need for the drug of addiction to stop masquerading itself as a psychological need to get high. That is why so many relapse.
It also takes about as long to undo the damage done by the addicted lifestyle and learn all the coping and living skills you did not learn while you were using, as the time you spent using, relapsing, and practicing the addiction lifestyle.
We don’t want to hear this, yet it makes perfect sense. The very thing we crave is exactly what continues to destroy us, our dreams, and keeps us dependent on it. In the words of biblical scripture
It is quoted that we should “Be not deceived, for Even the prince of darkness masquerades himself as an angel of light.”