Definition: The term “denial” refers to the process by which people with addictions pretend (to themselves and/or to other people) that they do not have an addiction, when in fact they do, or that their addictive behavior is not problematic, when in fact it is. Denial may happen consciously, for example, when the person lies to cover up, or it may happen unconsciously, for example, when they genuinely believe that they do not have a problem. Denial may be partially conscious, for example, when someone admits that they drink more than is sensible, but deny that it causes them problems, when in fact many of the problems they experience are consequences of their drinking.
As far back as I can remember alcohol permeated my life. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was the more important than family. My earliest memories were of this strange smelling substance that my family drank, talked about, and couldn’t seem to live without. I can picture myself as a toddler stumbling out to the unkempt living room early in the morning on weekends. With chubby little fingers I would lift the highball glasses strewn about the room to my lips. I would drink any sauce left from the night before. I thought the liquid tasted like medicine and found the pungent flavor alternately disgusting and exciting. After all, this is what my parents drank when they partied on Friday and Saturday evenings. I wasn’t allowed in the room, was put to bed quite early, but I could hear the whooping and hollering mixed with sounds from the record player. I always felt I was missing out on the fun and was trapped in my room for hours. Of course nothing was cleaned up or put away after a night of drinking so my brother and I had a blast playing games with melted ice and the heaps of cigarette butts left in the ashtrays. The bottles were usually empty but we managed to tilt them far enough over to taste the drippings. We thought this was entertaining. When it was pointed out to my mother by one of her friends that drinking the residue of mixed alcoholic cocktails might not be a good idea for her young children she replied, “There is nothing left in those glasses. It won’t hurt them.” DENIAL
After my father’s death my mother was in a fog most of the time. Although I was only 9 years old I made excuses for her behavior and covered for her when any of my friend’s parents would inquire about her well being. She welcomed the advances of the new man in her life who eventually became my stepfather. Together they would drink a case of scotch every week to ten days. Their libations would be delivered to them personally by the local liquor store owner, even in a snow storm. He would trudge up the three flights of stairs to our apartment to make sure his best customers were satisfied. Although my mother never appeared drunk, (she had the constitution to maintain well), my stepfather was on the floor often. Since he was a huge man, and couldn’t be picked up, we would just step over him. He would drive while under the influence and the two of them would force me to ride in the car to help with the directions. I protested, “I don’t want to drive with a drunk and be killed.” My mother’s answer was, “Get in. Don’t be so dramatic!” It was only when he ran over the maintenance man’s foot that my mother quit defending him vocally. DENIAL
We, as a nation, are in DENIAL about almost everything, not just about drugs and alcohol. When the truth is right in front of our face, we don’t believe it, we deny it. I believe it is a toxicity that affects the core of our universal mind. We are destroying ourselves and our planet because it has been too painful to accept what our souls know to be right. It is time now to stand up and be strong. We need to have the courage to accept the truth and the reality of what we are doing to ourselves and our mother earth.
The United States has the highest growth rates of any industrialized country in the world. The U.S. population is growing by 2.5 million people each year. Since 1980, the U.S. has converted more than 10 million acres of forest to suburb, an area twice as large as Yellowstone, Everglades, Shenandoah, and Yosemite National Parks combined. Growing populations demand more food, goods, services and space. Our advertising industry with their glitzy and false ads, encourage us to acquire products we don’t need. The underlying message is that getting more, having more, and using more will produce happiness. The pressure is on to accumulate things no matter what the cost. And, the cost has been astronomical!
Our natural resources are rapidly shrinking. The oil and gas we depend on is running out. At the same time our demand for energy has skyrocketed. On April 18, 1977, President Jimmy Carter gave an insightful televised speech to our country (“Jimmy Carter, The American Experience”) urging us to face the truth that, “Ours is the most wasteful nation on earth. We waste more energy than we import.” He began his speech by saying, “Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem unprecedented in our history. With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes. The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly. It is a problem we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century. We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren. We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources.”
President Carter presented his energy plan to Congress. His communication drew a strong reaction from special interest groups, the Saudis and the oil industry, suggesting that there was no energy problem at all. He said, “We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of the plan that affects them directly. They will say that sacrifice is fine, as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable, or unfair, or harmful to the country. If they succeed, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.” Today, 34 years later, we are living his predictions. We are in a mess. We have DENIED the truth.
I urge each of you to read the brilliant work of Thom Hartmann, “Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight.” www.thomhartmann.com. I was so moved by this book that I purchased 10 of them and passed them on to my friends asking that they in turn pass the book on. Thom Hartmann is an author and an educator who comes from a place of love and peace while at the same time offers facts and figures we cannot DENY.
Let’s start with ourselves. I am going to take off my rose colored glasses today. I am ready to see life as it is rather than as I think it should be.