In order to overcome denial and begin to think rationally, a person needs to learn some new skills.
Types of Denial
There are two different types of denial common in addicts. The first is when an addict recognizes he or she has a problem, but denies anything is wrong when another person confronts him or her about the problem. This type of denial is based in lying and dishonesty, and a person typically behaves this way due to shame about the problem. The second type is more dangerous, and harder to overcome. This type of denial is where a person does not recognize there is a problem, even to him- or herself. A person deceives himself, rationalizes actions, justifies any wrong doing, and excuses his or her actions. A person with this kind of denial actually believes that there is no problem and are completely blind to the situation.
Listen to Others
One way to change denial into rational thinking is to listen to others. If enough people say a person has a problem, then there is a strong chance that there is something wrong. Instead of denying the problem, a person should listen to what others, especially close friends and family members, are saying and honestly consider the possibility that those statements are true. Instead of becoming defensive when confronted about a situation, an addict should take a moment to reflect upon what is being said.
In many ways, honesty is the opposite of denial. A person who denies a problem is living dishonestly, even if he or she is not aware of the self-rationalizing and self-delusion with which he or she lives. By learning to honestly consider one's life and actions, a person can begin to recognize there is a problem and rationally think about it. Honesty is most important in the first type of denial, the one in which a person already recognizes a problem within him or herself. Learning to openly admit a problem and honestly engage with friends and family members can help him or her seek help.
Another way to get over denial and turn it into rational thinking is to learn to objectively consider one's actions. To be objective is to not use emotion or any type of bias and instead consider something as though a person is not a part of it. This can be difficult to do if the object or action being considered is oneself. However, learning to think about what others have said, and what the addict himself thinks, in an objective and emotionless way can help to illuminate the truth of the situation.
Learn to Open Up
Another way to help change denial into rational thought is learning to honestly and openly express oneself. This might be to a therapist, a trusted friend or loved one, or it might just be in a journal. Although a person should learn to open up and share thoughts and feelings in all three of these situations, many people find that initially writing in a journal helps them learn to express themselves in a safer environment.
Learning these skills that help to overcome denial can be difficult and take time. Many people require help just to learn to not live in denial. These skills can also help a person overcome many other problems, including one's addiction.