Anyone trying to beat a substance addiction knows how difficult it can be to simply process and understand the addiction. Part of this challenge is overcoming a state of denial. It’s important that one successfully accepts that they have a problem in order to get the proper help they need.

Below are different stages of addiction denial that someone may go through as they begin their healing journey from substance abuse.

1. Obliviousness

In the very beginning of substance abuse, one may not even realize they have a problem at all. They may view their addiction as “normal,” especially if they have enablers in their life or people who approve of what they do. It’s truly hard to convince a person at this stage that they have an addiction, even a mild one.

“My dad used to drink a lot, and he was fine,” “All my buddies use cocaine. They can still hold down jobs no problem,” or “Nobody else has a problem with what I do” are examples of things you might hear someone say when they’re oblivious about their addiction. At this stage, they don’t even see it as an addiction yet.

2. Resistance

In this stage, the person dealing with substance abuse starts to see the consequences of their actions, but they still don’t see their problem. As a result, they refuse to change their situation.

Possible outcomes resulting from their addiction could entail their partner departing, job termination, or legal repercussions such as arrest for driving while intoxicated. Often, they’ll blame someone else for the consequence they earned (e.g., “She/he didn’t truly love me for me,” “My boss will regret firing me,” or “That cop was an idiot.”) Anyone but them is the problem in their eyes.

3. Acknowledgement

Eventually, someone may acknowledge that they have a substance abuse problem. However, they are in denial about getting help. They may believe they can manage their addiction on their own. Thus, they may refuse professional help or may keep putting off getting help until a later time.

Apart from denying help, the person with the addiction may also undermine how serious their addiction is.

They may experience shifts between feeling “I’m fine” and recognizing “I have a problem.”

4. Acceptance

Once a person completely acknowledges their addiction, they then enter a state of acceptance. It’s at this point that the individual realizes the extent of their issue and is ready to get the help they need to overcome addiction. They are aware of the seriousness of their addiction and that the consequences it has caused for them can be avoided if they seek help.

Are you or a loved one ready to get help for an addiction? An IOP program Los Angeles might be the right route.


Nobody wants to admit when they have a problem, and not everyone sees the problem they have at first. However, once someone begins to see that they do, in fact, have an issue and wish to do something to change it, it will make their healing journey that much easier.

So, here was a jist to understand the stages of addiction denial ad to make the healing journey an easier process.