Sunday, March 30, 2008

On the Demon of Denial of Addiction:
By Peter S. Lopez ~aka Peta

Update: March 30, 2008

~ Introduction ~

For the poor soul lost in the affliction of addiction, the main enemy opponent that prevents him from admitting he or she has a severe problem is the devious demon of denial. Denial is a real, immediate dangerous demon to the demented drug addict, not an imaginary ghost. This demon can kill him or literally get him killed. Demons are real spiritual forces within that operate in the real world that must be exorcised out of us by serious Christians against substance addiction with daily prayer, deep meditation and the hard work of building up a strong progressive recovery program.

“Denial is the refusal to accept reality and to act as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of very early childhood development.”
Source: Defense Mechanisms

Keep in mind that effectively combating all forms of drug addiction is a form of spiritual warfare between the forces of good fostering life versus the forces of evil bringing death. It demonstrates the eternal conflict between the truth and the lie.

In progressive recovery, just staying sober one day at a time and having no recovery program is superior to a phony weak program that breaks down into the insanity of relapse over and over. A weak heartless program is doomed to failure from the start and can discourage and destroy the newcomer. Working a temporary sobriety program until one is totally committed to a strong progressive recovery program is better than to fake it until you make it!

John 8:43-45 (King James Version) ~ Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

Denial of the truth about being an addict will stop us from seeking a real cure. It keeps us believing in a big lie despite any and all hard evidence to the contrary. How can we know the truth if we believe a lie? How can we solve a problem if we do not recognize it? Many drug addicts lie to themselves, might admit they have a minor drinking or drugging problem, but insist they are not a real addict. They falsely believe they can control and monitor their liquor/drug use, that their habit is not that bad and are sure they can stop anytime they want to stop, as they still continue to indulge in their poison/s. In drug addiction we are dealing with dangerous poisonous chemicals in a form of chemical warfare, not human emotions and feelings alone.

“The denial associated with alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful and affects the patient, helper, and the community.”
Source: Welcome to Alcoholics Anonymous
The drug addict in denial is bent on self-destruction and denial can take many forms. It can even take the form of hiding in anonymity in our recovery, being ashamed of letting others know we are working on our recovery and thus denying our own personal involvement in recovery! If we were not anonymous in our full-blown addiction, why should we now pretend to be anonymous in our recovery? In progressive recovery, the foundation of all our principles is faith in Creator God, not the feebleness of anonymity. We must always admit the truth or not tell a lie.

~ The Chains of Drug Addiction ~

The chains of drug addiction exhibits a progressive disease that can only get worse over time as more links are added on to further enslave us. It can gradually evolve from harmless fun-filled recreational use at social events and family gatherings, degenerate into serious drug abuse damaging our work lives and destroying our families, then, for the afflicted addict, it can easily result in the many negative consequences of full-blown hard core drug addiction in need of serious outside help or direct intervention.

“Definition of Addiction: A chronic relapsing condition characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and abuse and by long-lasting chemical changes in the brain. Addiction is the same irrespective of whether the drug is alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or nicotine. Every addictive substance induces pleasant states or relieves distress. Continued use of the addictive substance induces adaptive changes in the brain that lead to tolerance, physical dependence, uncontrollable craving and, all too often, relapse.”
Source: Medicine

Depending on the chemical substance use, addiction can creep up on us in days, take a few weeks to hit us or long years before it takes us down. Drug addiction introduces a cruel vicious circle, a chemical chain reaction, a three-dimensional deadly disease that attacks the mind-body-soul of the addict. The entire human being is first hooked line and sinker without conscious awareness! No other disease is so completely devastating!

Comprehensive drug education involves developing a wholistic drug treatment program; reading the basic recovery textbooks; studying about the biology of the human survival system; learning the landscape of the craving brain, plus, two main neurotransmitters: the ‘gotta-have-it’ of dopamine and ‘got-it’ of serotonin. We are engaged in fighting a kind of chemical warfare involving natural brain chemicals and chemicals we ingest or inject into our bodies from our immediate environment. It gets deep and we must dig deep to dig out the roots of our drug addiction. Between here and death, we must break out of the chains of drug addiction.

~ Primary Causes of Denial ~

The three primary causes of denial are:

1. An unconscious ego defense mechanism that protects one’s false self-image;
2. Cross-addiction from one’s original poison-of-choice to another drug; and
3. A product of cognitive failure due to cerebral brain dysfunction.

An addict in hard denial simply does not believe he is really a drug addict. He is divorced from himself and the connected reality around him. We need to overcome the demon of denial about our deadly disease with the higher power of the truth.

We require help from Creator God to heal us, a strong recovery program to cure us and we need to stay involved in the recovery movement all along the way. We need to be honest, open and willing to go to any lengths and endure any sacrifice as we work towards a true healing, not just the temporary abstinence of sobriety

We strive to simplify the complex, not complicate the simple. However, in connected reality, deeper analyses on the vital issues in our lives can get increasingly complex. Thus, our minds need to stay straight in order for us to comprehend basic complexities. A study in one discipline or area of study can lead to other areas of study. We see the flight of the butterfly and end up looking at the stars. We study creatures and begin to understand the creation of the Creator.

~ Denial As A Defense Mechanism ~

The most common form of denial is a reactionary automatic defense mechanism. If we are called a drunk or dope fiend we immediately react and defend our self without considering the possibility that those labels might actually be true. We normally identify ourselves by who we are, what we do, what we believe and our general interests in life.

In early addiction, the potential addict in denial may have a decent job, be taking care of business and can appear to function well in society on the outside. However, weekend warriors who party hard can turn into all week long drug users. At first we may limit ourselves to only indulging in our chosen poison after regular working hours, then sometimes before work to steady the nerves or we crank up to keep up the work pace. It is definitely on and running after work when we can let it all hang out. We may rationalize that we are just having fun and not hurting anyone except maybe ourselves.

We might be the life of the party until the whole world around us comes down and collapses! Families and straight friends fade away into the background. Old healthy hobbies are replaced by new harmful habits. Over time life changes us for the worse and daily drug use becomes to take more and more of a central place in the foreground of our lives always demanding our undivided attention. Time schedules, business priorities and personal agendas all orbit around our drug addiction activities. Drug addiction is an extremely patient deadly disease.

1 Peter 5:8 (King James Version) ~ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

We end up hiding in isolation from others as we partake of our poison in private. We lurk behind closed doors, in bathrooms, in closets. It is the familiar sob-war stories cried and whined at many regular recovery meetings of losing jobs, losing loved ones and losing our own souls. We find we are not the great heroes we once use to be and personal self-esteem is low or lost completely. Recovering addicts often speak of having to ‘hit their bottom’ before they come to their senses. However, the bottom can have a trap door underneath that can drop them further down, even into a solitary prison cage. No matter how bad it gets it can always get worse!

What was once just for fun becomes a constant pre-occupation then becomes a real psychiatric illness: the obsessive-impulsive-compulsive disorder of hard-core drug addiction has taken over what is left of our lives. Have we become the ones our parents warned us against!?

“Addiction denial is usually considered in psychodynamic terms, as an unconscious ego defense mechanism. It is held that to fully acknowledge addiction-related problems would be so threatening to the individual's ego that he or she must misconstrue, reinterpret, or even forget the facts of the case. The central feature of this interpretation is that the denial is based on emotional rejection of the truth, rather than a simple failure of insight.”
Source: Addiction Denial and Cognitive Dysfunction

The addict in denial refuses to see the monster he has become despite his past self-image and this denial itself is a key indicator that one is an activated addict, that is, a ‘dope fiend’. He will grossly underestimate how much, how long and how deep he has been using his drug/s and the negative consequences it has had on his whole life, especially his personal health. He will stubbornly overestimate his capacity to control or monitor his drug use or his responsibility to quit while he can without outside help. Many addicts are in strong denial of obvious perceptions, rational conclusions and despite all of the available evidence piling up around them. The dope fiend lost in denial is out in no-man’s land without a true friend or a loving God in his life. The monster weeps alone

Ideally, if the potential addict can arrest his progressive addiction at an early stage before it get worse and then gets seriously involved in a strong progressive recovery program, then many negative consequences can be avoided, including failed lives, permanent brain damage and death.

~ Denial As Cross-Addiction ~

Cross-addiction is when an addict switches from his original drug of choice and becomes addicted to another drug, whether prescribed or not. He still remains chemically dependant. An addict who makes a habit of using any mind-altering drug is engaging in addictive behavior. This is simple logic. It is the objective observable behavior not the subjective inner mentality that determines whether one is still an addict or not. We are what we do, not only what we say. Thus, a recovering addict cannot really claim a general sobriety date while on a mind altering drug because one is simply not staying sober in a strict definition of the word sobriety. He may of recovered from his primary poison of choice, yet he should still be in recovery as he is not fully recovered.

For example, if someone in recovery has bi-polar disorder, is taking a mind-altering drug and following their prescription, they are not guilty of drug abuse, but they are still chemically dependent and addicted to their prescription drug. Take the ‘meds’ away and watch what happens! We must stay involved in the recovery movement, strive to wean ourselves off all medications and work on developing a wholistic healing treatment program involving good nutrition, physical fitness and spiritual growth. In the long run, it is all about our self-esteem, general health and spiritual liberty, not mere sobriety. Sobriety along is never enough. We do not want to be dry drunks in A.A. Meetings or cranky N.A. Members collecting brittle chips that easily crumble.

In the light of new situations, we need to re-think old traditions, define new definitions and stay relevant to a constantly changing world in the new millennium. The A.A. Big Book is not the Holy Bible and the Holy Bible is not the absolute truth. We need to think outside of any book, use our creative minds and grasp the concept of connected reality, that all separate realities are ultimately interconnected and on the quantum level we are all one. No one has the monopoly on truth. You must do what works best for you in your own personal situation, yet stay open to positive suggestions from others who are more experienced and enlightened than you. Humility helps us to advance our consciousness.

“The cycle of addiction for all types of drugs - heroin, cocaine, crack, amphetamines, barbiturates, alcohol and cannabis/marijuana is essentially the same and based upon nature and nurture. This comprises three features
1) chemical dependency
2) learned behaviours and habits
3) denial of both need and habit

Although there are important differences in the features of addiction to cocaine, heroin, amphetamine or alcohol, these features are basically differences of form and not one of essence. Furthermore, these differences become less relevant where people are cross-addicted to one or more substances.”
Source: Drugs and Cross-Addiction

In progressive recovery, the ultimate goal is total liberty in our lives, not only sobriety. There is a big difference between just nervously staying sober compared to enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We should desire true liberty from all forms of the affliction of addiction and its many negative consequences, including the misery of poverty, prison and hopelessness. Progressive recovery is an on-going life-process of learning, spiritual growth and healing. It is a one day at a time life-style of living sober and enjoying all the fruits of liberty as humane beings.

~ Denial as Cognitive Failure ~.

Cognition is a mental process of knowing that involves perception, analysis and judgment in consciousness as an active experience of actually knowing as distinct from feeling, willing or sensing. It is how we learn to trust what we know, as it refers to brain science as well as understanding the mind and how it thinks.

“We propose that alcoholic denial is sometimes more of a cognitive failure than an ego defense mechanism. This cognitive failure may consist of diminished capacity for insight, or it may be an inability to integrate readily available information so as to draw an obvious conclusion.”
Source: Addiction Denial and Cognitive Dysfunction

The active addict can have actual permanent brain damage whose etiology (origin of disease) can clearly be traced back to long-term drug addiction and the self-destructive life-style of the typical dope fiend, especially in cases of severe fixed denial. Shattered lives, collapsed relationships and near-death experiences fail to penetrate deep into the consciousness of the brain damaged addict in severe fixed denial.

“Denial is tricky stuff. It has many faces and disguises. Its number one symptom is the denial OF its own existence. It keeps good people in everlasting blindness destroying any chance for healthy change. It will fight viciously for its survival all the way to insanity institutionalization and death.”
Source: The Three Stages of Denial

For the hard-core drug addict, there is no way that he can be a dope fiend for years on end, taking whatever is going to get him ‘high’, numb him out or alter his mind, without there being some brain damage or at least some cognitive failure.

~ The Medical Definition of Addiction ~

The medical definition of addiction has seven criteria. This definition is based on the criteria of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) and the World Health Organization (ICD-10).(1)

An addiction is any behavior that meets at least three of the seven criteria during the same 12-month period.

1. Tolerance. You can use more and more over time.

2. Withdrawal. When you stop using, you experience at least one of the following symptoms: irritability, anxiety, shakes, sweats, nausea, or vomiting.

3. Difficulty controlling your use. Sometimes you use more or for a longer time than you'd like.

4. Negative consequences. You continue to use even though there are negative consequences to your mood, self-esteem, health, job, or family.

5. Significant time or emotional energy spent. You spend a significant amount of time or thought obtaining, using, concealing, planning, or recovering from your use.

6. Put off or neglected activities. You have given up or reduced social, recreational, work, or household activities because of your use.

7. Desire to cut down. You have repeatedly thought about cutting down or controlling your use, or you have made unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control your use.
Created: March 11, 2007, Last Modified: February 15, 2008
~ Conclusion ~

Are you now an activated addict, an addict in denial or a recovering addict working on a cure? We must always be aware of the demon of denial of addiction, witness when other people around us are in denial without condemning them, continue to do our own daily personal inventory, try to educate with humane love those who are open to learning and stay aware of evil influences in our own personal progressive recovery program.

Many of us have endured great losses and great sufferings in our lives because of our selfish indulgence in drug addiction. We may not be where we want to be in our lives in terms of material wealth, social standing or eternal happiness, but we are not where we use to be in relation to our past empty miserable lives lost in the dementia of drug addiction.

“For the individual, the first responsibiiity begins with the removal of denial. The importance of this cannot be over-stated. It is the key to beginning the healing process. The subconscious must be made conscious. The admission that a problem exists is entrenched in the philosophy of the twelve-step program.”
Source: The Craving Brain. By Ronald A. Ruden, M.D., Ph.D.

From our sadness, remembering those we have lost to addiction, those lost in dope houses or river campgrounds, those languishing behind prison walls and those we have lost to the graveyard or whose remains are in unmarked graves, let there be inner spiritual strength for us to make it through another day sane and sober.

From our sadness there shall be strength for us to come together and make it a better more humane world for all of us where we can live in liberty free from all inner demons, character defects and gross personal shortcomings simply because we have surely been blessed by God’s amazing grace!

Philippians 4:8 ~ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.



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    1. Anonymous2:08 AM

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    2. Comprehensive resources for those looking for recovery from addiction.


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