Self Love

Denial in Alcoholic Families

The Eye of Denial

I looked into the eyes of my therapist years ago and said “I just don’t think there was much dysfunction in my family.” The therapist was patient and said, “Well, we will just keep talking and see if more is revealed.”

Slowly, but surely, the veil of denial started coming off and I saw my parents in a new light. After therapy one day, I sat in my car and realized suddenly that my parents had a lot more problems than I previously believed. I had them on a pedestal and now they were stepping down into reality.

This epiphany held some shock and awe, but mostly I felt gratitude just for gaining some clearly on my family situation. Thankfully, I didn’t see my parents in a more critical light. There wasn’t a desire to blame or shame them. Instead, more compassion rose with my level of greater understanding towards them. In a sense, they were wounded kids just like me doing the best they could in life.

Love is There, But May be Concealed

Through their tribulations of family alcoholism, their love shined through to my sister and I no matter how refracted and twisted some of those forms could be at times. This was crucial to remember whenever I started feeling any anger towards them.

So this is the way it is inside an alcoholic family. There is denial inside all family members. It is a way of survival. It is a way of coping with the stress inside a family system reeling from imbroglios appearing without warning.

The Alcoholic is Not Alone in Denial

Many people think denial is only part of the alcoholic’s illness. Once one becomes exposed to more literature and research related to alcoholism, you find that denial permeates everyone in the family.

After all, who would stay with an alcoholic for years while trying to convince them to stop drinking? An insane person or someone in deep denial about the nature of the disease is the answer. It’s important to understand that family alcoholism is complicated and insidious.

Be Patient and Forgive Yourself

Nobody can fight alcoholism and win. It is far too powerful and complex for any one person. This is why the recover movement stresses the importance of leaning on a Higher Power, which can take many forms. We have centuries of experience to confirm that people fight alcoholism end up in jail, a coffin, or asylum.

Yet, someone in denial, or someone insane, will choose that fight one more time because “this time will be different”.

Are you beginning to see the power of denial? The insanity of denial?

You are not alone. Many have come before you and many have stood in your exact shoes. You can surrender and ask for help. Surrendering and accepting help is the path to victory. It is antithetical to surrender, but it works. It is the spiritual way. We can discover there is a loving force in the universe that will carry us to victory when we learn to let go and maintain a humble attitude.

Taking the Focus Off the Alcoholic

We simplify life when we focus on personal growth and ourselves. How can we change or progress? This is the only question we need to address because we have no control over others.

Can you sense the amount of energy you will gain if you can focus more on yourself and stop worrying about others so much? This is easy to say and difficult to accomplish after a lifetime of habits, but it’s possible with consistent spiritual growth and support from others.

How do I feel right now? How could I help someone right now? Am I hungry? Do I have enough sleep right now? Am I breathing deeply?

These are simple questions we can ask every day to maintain our sanity and focus on ourselves. If I take care of myself starting with the basics, doesn’t it make sense that I will be much more capable of helping others too?

This is not selfishness. This is sanity and sanity transforms denial.

Keep it simple. How can you take care of yourself right now? Is there a simple act of kindness right now that you can perform?