Why Are Alcoholics Often in Denial?

alcoholics rehabilitation
by wallyg

Question by Adamismyname: Why are alcoholics often in denial?
My uncle is an alcoholic and recently got mad when confronted by my mother, aunt, and grandmother about his drinking. I don’t know if he denied it outright but he made no apologies for a drunken seen recently where he was cursing about a niece that reported him (the niece is aged 12 and below average functioning). This made the family furious and while the niece’s father, my other uncle, did not do the confrontation the two sister’s and his mother did. Why do alcoholics deny drinking?
My grandfather, now deceased, was an alcoholic at one time but got help. In his case he to denied it until he was ready to get help around age 60.
Also, do the alcoholics just genuinely not know they are alcoholics or do they know but won’t admit to it? My uncle couldn’t have been crueler to my aunt about her daughter’s reaction that he was drunk but I wondered did he honestly not know he was drunk and think the 12 year old was lying?

Best answer:

Answer by El
Alcoholics are often in denial because that’s just part of their illness. The whole issue of alcoholism is cunning, baffling and powerful and the real problem lies in the mind of the alcoholic. It is very hard for an alcoholic to see the truth of what’s happening to them and those around them. It’s also very hard for an alcoholic to quit drinking unless they are really beaten down by the bottle and even then they may continue to drink. They are mentally obsessed by alcohol. Often rehabilitation units can be the only help but only if the alcoholic really wants the help. They will make excuse after excuse for their drinking, often blaming everybody and everything around them instead of taking an honest look at themselves. Often when they are confronted by it, as you know, they will just get mad, which in turn will be held as a resentment against the people who confronted them, which will just give them more excuses to drink. Alcoholics often don’t realize they are alcoholics until it’s too late. Often, alcoholics have deep seated fears. The alcohol or drinking part really is only the tip of the iceberg, something deeper is usually wrong. In rehabs, the alcoholic is totally removed from access to alcohol and they are asked to open up about their real problems. Often alcoholics will stay sober for a while only to return to drinking when the obsession comes back into their minds and they think that after a period of sobriety, a few drinks won’t harm the. But once they start again, the physical craving kicks in and they have no control at all over the amount they take, how long they drink for or what they do or say to people. They genuinely are bodily & mentally different from the rest of the ‘normal’ drinkers. The Diagnostic & Statistics Manual V (DSM V) which psychiatrists & psychologists use for diagnosis and learning has apparently re-classified alcoholism as a mental illness, which it really is. And the rate of recovery for alcoholics is apparently small too. They often relapse. Only a spiritual experience can help them stop drinking, and by that I don’t mean, seeing the Virgin Mary or anything wild like that. I mean, a personality change in realizing they are at fault, they are the problem and that they really want to quit drinking.

Answer by Baa Baa
Because they don’t want to believe they have a problem or they might know they have a problem but doesn’t want to deal with it. They want to continue to drink so denial is their way of being able to continue to drink. The addiction is very strong.

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