It is not an easy thing to realize that your friend or relative might have a substance abuse problem. It can be one of the toughest things that you might have to deal with. What makes the situation even worse, is if the person is in denial. Denial is the biggest issue that you will have to face when dealing with something like this. Denial can take many forms from a complete refusal to truly accept the reality of the situation to some partial acceptance or an acknowledgment of a problem with a justification for doing it. All of this is denial and any kind of denial is going to stop the person from solving the problem and getting help. As long as a person is in denial, rehabilitation for the substance abuse is not going to work and the problem will just continue to get worse and no healing can be done.
Below are a few pointers on how to deal with denial.
The first thing you need to understand is that when someone is in denial, it is not the same thing as if they were lying to you about something. When someone lies they are committing a conscious act, a liar truly knows when they are lying and it is their decision to do so. However, someone that is in denial honestly believes everything they are saying. So, it is never a good idea to accuse them of lying, call them a liar or treat them like one.
The next thing you need to do is to be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you might actually be contributing to their denial by always making up excuses for their abuse. “Oh she's over drinking because she just came out of a difficult marriage, or lot a job, or someone died...etc.” When you do this, you, yourself are in denial and this does not help the situation at all.
Whatever is said or done by the person who is in denial cannot be taken personally. This is part of the illness and it is common that they will blame their addictions on you or someone else. Through their denial they will tell themselves that it's because no one understands, or everyone else is wrong and they are right. No matter what, they are not seeing the world through a clear and healthy mind and they are only trying to find ways to defend themselves against their own actions.
The best way to start to help someone who is abusing is to find a person that they really and truly trust to sit down and discuss the abuse with them. It's going to be a complete waste of time if someone they don't trust tries to sit down with them and talk to them about their problems. Lack of trust will be just another excuse for them to continue to deny the fact that they have a serious problem.
If trust can be gained and the abuser can finally sit down and ask them these important questions: