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Exercise #5:  Stopping Denial As You Think About Your Problems

This exercise will test your ability to recognize and manage your own denial as you think and talk about the problems that caused you to seek help.  First you will be asked to describe the problems that caused you to seek help.  Then you will be asked to look at the relationship between your problems, your alcohol and drug use, and the potential consequences, both good and bad, of continuing to use alcohol or other drugs.  You will then be asked to tie all of this information together in your mind, look at the big picture of what is happening at this moment in your life, and make a hard decision about what you want to do about your problems.  At each step in this process, you will be asked to notice if you were able to recognize and stop your denial when it was turned on.

In this exercise you will start applying your new denial management skills to your problems.  This isnít easy because you will be asked to think and talk about serious and painful problems.  Even though you start this exercise intending to be honest, you may find that your denial gets activated.  Whenever you become aware that you are using denial, you can turn it off by pausing, relaxing, reflecting, and deciding. 

Pause and notice that we are using denial.  Just notice it, donít do anything about it. Relax by taking a deep breath, slowly exhaling, and consciously imagining the stress drain from our body; Reflect upon what you are experiencing by asking yourself: ďDo I really want to keep using denial, or do I want to look at what is really going on so I can decide what I want to do about it?; Decide whether or not you will keep using denial or not. When making this choice, remind yourself that you will be responsible for the consequences.

We will use a procedure called a Denial Check to help you to learn how to recognize and stop denial when it occurs.  At the end of each exercise, or whenever I think that you might be using denial, I'll call a time out and complete the two part denial check by asking you two questions:  (1) What denial patterns did you use during this part of the exercise? Please complete the two part denial check below. (2) When did you notice that you were using denial.

Once you learn recognize denial as you are using it, you will have a chance to practice stopping it.  Finally you will learn to recognize the urge to use denial which gives us the power to choose to look at the truth without ever using denial.

Exercise 5-1: The Problems That Caused You To Seek Help

Exercise 5-2: The Relationship Of Your Problems To Alcohol And Other Drugs

Exercise 5-3: The Consequences Of Continued Alcohol Or Drug Use

Exercise 5-4: Pulling It All Together


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