Denial is is asserting that a statement or allegation is not true. Denial can help us in times of crisis, because it allows us to not get consumed by the emotions of the circumstance and take action. Or, it can give us time to process information, like when someone we loved has died, we might be in denial about their death until we can have the space we need to mourn.
But then there is denial of habits that are harmful or not self-honoring. Eating too many sweets, watching too much TV, saying one thing, doing another….in my case this blog is about when I had to refuse denying there was anything wrong with how I consumed alcohol.
And I so don’t want to admit that! I love a glass of chilled wine in the summer! Listening to the birds, relaxing in the sun, enjoying the fresh air of the evening. That’s true, but what’s not true is it wouldn’t have been one glass…it would have been many.
Those of us prone to addiction can relate. All the myriad of ways in which we convince ourselves that what we are consuming is ‘normal’, warranted, justified-It’s summer! It’s my day off! I worked hard! etc. etc.
One such lovely, beautiful day I was not working. I had had too many glasses of wine for no real reason other that my body craved the intoxication. There was no control any longer. That particular day I didn’t care, but the next morning, waking up to that familiar haze of remorse, I made a commitment to do something about this. I wasn’t going to handle this on my own any longer because it had not worked. I had lost control over how I consumed.
I knew about twelve-step programs from my work in social service and had gone to some as part of my graduate education. It was time for me to work on this habit that startled me by how it took over a beautiful day that could have been devoted to anything else but that consumption fest.
And so I went to a speaker’s meeting at AA. For me, it was a safe entry point because you sit an listen to two people tell their own stories of ‘hitting bottom’ and their process of recovery. I wouldn’t have to say anything or (heaven’s no!) introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Eileen and I’m an alcoholic”.
At the meeting I found out about all the other meetings that happen every day and eventually found one close to my home that actually had a meditation practice as part of their program.
Hearing the stories of other members during subsequent meetings, I heard myself through their words, their struggle with control, their impact on relationships, work, productivity, creativity. I was not in denial any longer but acceptance of my own addiction. I feel when that happens, when we acknowledge we are no longer in control true healing can begin.
Copyright 2013 Eileen Dey