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Denial and Addiction

Here are some examples of denial often used by those with addictions to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or pornography. Check off the ones you use and add your own.

Closed Channel

  • There is no problem.
  • I can deal with it.
  • I can quit whenever I want.
  • I'm not hurting anyone.
  • Bug off.
  • Whatever.
  • Other: ____________________________________


  • No biggie. My problems from use are minor.
  • At least I'm not as bad as that other guy.
  • I'm here. So what if I can't remember last night.
  • I have a job/take care of the kids/do my chores.
  • I'll just apologize and lay low for a while.
  • I'm not hung-over, I'm just a little sick.
  • Other: ____________________________________


  • My problem is too much stress/illness/etc.
  • It's that so-and-so's fault for getting me high.
  • I need to use because of ______________.
  • My spouse/boss/kids/relatives make me use.
  • It would have been all right if I didn't drink on an empty stomach/been sold the right drug/etc.
  • Other: ___________________________________


  • Everybody makes mistakes.
  • Using is a family/ethnic tradition.
  • You just don't understand!
  • A little bit now will mean I'll use less later.
  • I need a little now because of what I used before.
  • I deserve it.
  • It's time to celebrate.
  • I need to use in this weather (hot, cold, rainy, dry).
  • I've used a little, more won't hurt.
  • I'll quit tomorrow.
  • Someone else is buying.
  • It helps me cope/relax/etc.
  • Anyone who went through what I do would use.
  • Lot's of great people used.
  • Other: ____________________________________


  • My allergies are bad today (coke use).
  • I don't know why I hurt (liver problems, ulcer).
  • It's not my use. It's my crazy life.
  • Other: ____________________________________


  • Bitch, bitch, bitch.
  • You're one to talk! You use worse than me.
  • What about the time you ___________________.
  • I'm just trying to relax and you're giving me hell.
  • I'll stop when you stop doing ________________.
  • You need to _________________ instead of worrying about what I'm doing.
  • This group just makes me want to use more!
  • Other: ___________________________________

Sandra Nettles, LCSW, MSSW
Jamie Nettles, MS

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