The Four Defense Mechanisms of the Chemically Dependent
When it comes to chemical dependency, some defense mechanisms that addicts use are rationalization, denial, minimization and projection. Most people who are chemically dependent don’t even realize that they use these behaviors as a defense. Most of the time it is an unconscious behavior.
With rationalization, the addict/alcoholic will make excuses. For example, “I drink because my job is very stressful.” It is true that a lot of people are in stressful situations but are not substance abusers. The addict/alcoholic doesn’t see it that way and in their mind it is a totally legitimate excuse/realization.
With denial, the addict/alcoholic completely ignores their reality. They believe their denial and deceive themselves and truly believe the lie they are telling themselves (the lie being that they have a problem). Through denial the addict/alcoholic completely avoids the truth of their addiction.
With minimization, it is a similar defense to realization where the addict/alcoholic reduces the effect their addiction has on people around them and/or reduces the quantity of what they are using. For example, I can say I had one drink when actually I had one drink that was the size of four drinks.
With projection, the addict/alcoholic will blame others for the way they are behaving. For example, “She upset me so I had to have a drink to relax myself.” Blame is a prevalent behavior used as a defense. It allows for the chemically dependent to not take responsibility for their actions.
Drug addiction and alcoholism is a real disease. Yet there is help for this problem. Drug rehab is the best way to start on the road of recovery. By working the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, the defense mechanisms so easily and unconsciously used can be self-realized and removed.
Doweiko, Harold E. "Concepts of Chemical Dependency." 2009