This morning the discussion topic in our meetings was denial. The first few speakers were bashing denial. Denial is bad, bad, bad. How silly is that? Would any of us be in recovery if it were not for denial? I know that my denial was really important and even life saving. If I had to grasp the whole picture of my addictions, the reasons behind my addictions and the consequences of my addictive behavior early on I would have killed myself. Even in early recovery denial was a life saver. If I had any clue what recovery would ask of me over the next twenty years I would have walked out the door in my first month.
No, denial kept me coming back. I thought perfect recovery was right around the corner. I thought my “cure” was in the next step, the next meeting and of course when I got that next chip: one year, five years, ten and yes, even the 20 year chip. Even now as I continue to work on my relationship with God and on my thinking it’s still true—some amount of denial is allowing me to stay with this process.
Melody Beatty –Codependent No More—writes about the importance of denial. She describes it as a warm blanket that we keep around us to keep us safe. We don’t run around tearing off people’s blankies—for their own good. But when we get warm and feel safe—slowly, slowly (by attending meetings and being loved in recovery) —then we loosen our own blanket and slowly let it drop.
In the meantime it is denial that lets us laugh and gossip and raise our hands to offer our experience strength and hope, and it is denial that comforts us as we trudge the road of happy destiny.