7 Common Denial Statements of an Addict – Part 1

Denial.

What does that have to do with sexual addiction?

When you think about denial statements, what comes to mind?

One important part of the recovery journey is working with a qualified therapist – someone who has been trained in dealing with sexual addiction and betrayal trauma.

The following denial statements were compiled by Utah Valley Counseling.

As I worked on my full disclosure with my therapist, he asked me to recognize the different denial statements I’ve used when acting out in my sexual addiction. My therapist provided a list of common denial statements addicts use to justify their behavior.

Unfortunately, for me, ALL of these statements were way too familiar…

As I went through the list a few times, I tried to recognize specific times I used the different denial statements, and what I can do differently today to avoid these denial statements.

Here are 7 of the 14 denial statements that were on that list.

As you read through them, think about when and how you’ve used them and what you can do differently today to avoid going back to those forms of denial.

7 Denial Statements Addicts Use to Cope

common-denial-statements

1. Comparing

“I definitely haven’t hit the rock bottom THAT person has hit.”

“Compared to that other person, my addiction is minimal. I don’t need to do all the work they are recommending.”

2. Manipulating

“Have you worked YOUR recovery? I’ll start working my own recovery when/if you work on YOU…”

“I don’t know why you can’t just forgive me and let this go. That was a long time ago that I did those things.”

“I’ll bet you heard that at one of your ‘trauma’ meetings. I’ll believe that when I see it.”

3. Blaming

“If my parents hadn’t done ____, I wouldn’t be doing ____.”

“My wife hurt my feelings; I need to just zone out for a while.”

4. Minimizing

“I don’t really have that big of a problem…”

“Yeah, I went to that movie, but I didn’t really see anything worth sharing with my sponsor, spouse or ecclesiastical leader. I’m fine.”

5. Rationalizing

“Everybody does this. Why can’t I?”

“I don’t think this is an addiction at all. People are just trying to scare one another.”

6. Hopelessness

“I can’t do this. I’ve tried all the suggestions and it’s not working for me.”

“I don’t really believe that working the Steps can actually solve my problems. The triggers are too strong…”

7. False Compliance

“As long as I go to one meeting a week, I’ll be fine. I don’t really need to do all that other stuff…”

“If my sponsor doesn’t give me that specific assignment, I’m not going to do it.”

“I’ve been working really hard at recovery; I’m fine missing a day or two here and there.”

Conclusion

These are the first seven denial statements on the list. Next week we’ll talk about the other seven.

What are you thoughts?

Which of the denial statements are you most familiar with and how can you handle them differently today?

15 thoughts on “7 Common Denial Statements of an Addict – Part 1”

  1. Thanks for posting this. I can relate to almost all of it. It’s so helpful to expose these denial statements for what they are so they don’t seem so true or weighty in the moment that they come. Then I don’t take them as seriously or fall for them as often. I had to laugh (uncomfortably) at the “I’ve done so well, I deserve this!” My last slip up, I was surprised to hear myself say just that. It was a hard week at work, I was getting sick. I told myself I wouldn’t slip, that I just wanted to relax and browse a little at stuff that wasn’t bad enough to be real porn. Not so deep inside, I knew what was going to happen. Of course I was in denial. “I deserve this.” Such a minimizing, ridiculously short-sighed and self-centered view.

    I’m not married, so some of my manipulating of my significant other plays out in different ways. Probably most commonly I take a self-righteous position saying, mostly to myself, that “I’m trying to repent, but she won’t let me move on since she keeps bringing it up and being upset about it. She must not be the kind of person I need to be with if she won’t try to understand and forgive.” -not taking responsibility for being the person who put her there.

    All the other statements are very familiar. “This is too hard, who can expect me to abstain? Everyone does this. I can’t help that I’m a man and attracted to this stuff. It’s just natural. It’s not porn, it’s art. Why does everyone try to make this a bad thing? It’s natural. This doesn’t hurt anyone else. I’ve looked at it before – once more isn’t going to make me any worse than I already am. I’ve been having bad thoughts all day, so I have to repent anyway – might as well sneak this last look in with the whole batch and repent later.” I feel yuck thinking about the times I told myself that and tried to make myself believe it. Of course, my repentance at that point fit into the false compliance category.

    “I’m at the point of no return. I’ve already gone there in my mind, so it’s all the same now. I will not be able to focus on anything else or relax if I don’t act out now.”

    It’s hard typing this stuff out and acknowledging I’ve fallen into these frames of mind. I think this is a very healthy drill though.

    1. Thanks for sharing Taylor. All of these, at one point or another, have been excuses I’ve used as well.

      What are some statements you’re creating now to replace these denial statements?

  2. These are all very relatable for me as well. That feeling of hopelessness, and the belief that I was incurable were big ones for me. I was starting to believe that I would have to live in this yo-yo of a life forever. That acting out and then repenting were just my lot in life. That I could never be totally free from it. This often gave me a free pass. I couldn’t beat it so I had to live with it.
    I know now that this is not truth. I know now that I can live free from my addictions by working the steps and living a new normal. I’ve come to believe that it’s not about not looking at a porn. It’s much more about learning how to make real connections. Thanks for the post.

    1. Hopelessness.

      Incurable.

      Never be totally free.

      I identify with all of these reasoning statements as well.

      A few things that really stuck out to me today in the White Book, pg. 87-88:

      “Deep inside we always knew there were other things wrong with us,…our addictions were really trying to keep us from facing them.”

      “This is why, once the initial surrender of Steps One, Two, and Three is made, Steps Four through Ten deal with exposing, confessing, and righting our wrongs.”

      “In sobriety we quickly learn that we are just as powerless over other defects that begin to surface (resentment for example) as we ever were over lust, sex, and dependency.”

      Thanks for the comment Sean!

  3. Minimizing has always been a go to for me. I’d say, “it’s not that bad” and “this is just who I am, I can’t change”. This thinking made me feel hopeless and worthless. I would then start to blame others for the mood that I was in and then the thoughts of “I deserve this” came into play. Meanwhile during all of these thoughts my recovery work would slow down and then eventually stop. I wouldn’t reach out when I needed help, I’d go back to the thoughts that “I’ve got a decent amount of sobriety, I’ve got this thing” how wrong I was. Fortunately for me I had a strong wake up call and I was able to see the error in my thoughts. It absolutely amazed me at how quickly these denials could and would drag me down. Thank you for bringing this topic up!

  4. Not only do these all fit me with precision, they’re really important markers/bottom lines for my sense of progress in recovery. If I find myself resorting back to them for any reason then I know I either need to pick up the phone to call my sponsor or I’ll be resetting my sobriety date soon. But, if I had to pick my go-to, stand-out denial, minimizing and rationalizing are the sinister twin evils. Humility and continually getting outside myself and connecting with others are the best defense for me against them.

  5. The more I get into recovery, the less that I am able to relate to some of these, but that’s a good thing. I was definitely using a lot of denial, minimizing, and lying to myself and my wife to hide what was really going on. It definitely helps to be honest with myself and others.

    1. Amen brother! It does get easier to not fall into those denial statements, but I’m learning that the whole concept of “one day at a time” is so true in this process. The moment I think, “I’m good,” is the moment I can fall back into trying to do everything myself. “False Compliance”

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