Monday July 24th 2017

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Living in denial of addiction? A BOOK REVIEW that can help you

The definition of denial

Denial is defined as:

………..the refusal or unwillingness to accept something or to accept an unpleasant reality.”

Denial applies to many negative manifestations in our lives – from financial issues, to relationship issues, to health issues. We also typically tend to deny the negative ways we cope with stress. Some of us overeat. Some of use smoke, shop, or seek out sex. Others of us turn to drug or alcohol abuse.

At its basic, denial is a defense mechanism. Denial keeps us stuck in the cycles that work for us… until they no longer work. Then, denial is viewed as a sign of psychological dysfunction. Moreover, it is believed that denial is wrong or unhealthy.

Now, let’s be real. There are cases in which denial can be helpful.

Q: Is denial always so bad?

A: No, not always. And, yes, denial can be bad for you!

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We’ve recently come across a book that helps get you to a better understanding of denial. “When Reality Bites: How Denial Helps and What to Do When It Hurts” by Holly Parker, PhD is here to change your preconceived notions about denial! And, it will show you the completely opposite side: Denial CAN be healthy, and definitely CAN open your eyes to many situations in life.

So, keep reading our book review to learn how denial can help people in addiction recovery. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section at the end of the page.

Understanding denial: Why deny reality at all?

People tend to dodge the unpleasant and see the agreeable. In fact, we as a species would rather cozy up in our comfortable, domesticated zone than face the threatening situations of life. That’s just who we are!

But, this book opens with an unusual start: the author herself shares a personal story where she normalizes denial. So, it’s all good… We all use denial at some point in life. It’s normal!

And it’s a high time to see denial as a helpful tool for turning around unpleasant things into good lessons. This book can give that to you!

Turning down the dial

…Or taking control.

According to the author, denial is not something that we’re either “in” or “not in”. It’s more complex that we think.

Denial is a matter of degree: we can move closer to or further away from our awareness about the way things are. The metaphor of a dial (gaining or losing control) is the best way to describe denial and how it works.

The 6 (six) levels of denial

“When Reality Bites” explores the notion of denial even further. It turns our common perception about what denial is upside-down and changes it into a positive one. Moreover, the book leads you throughout the six levels of denial.

The 6 (six) Levels of denial in human experience are:

  • Denial within us
  • Denial at the level of ourselves
  • Denial at the level of relationships
  • Denial at the level of our situation
  • Denial at the level of society
  • Denial at the level of life and death

Each level is described thoroughly and serves the good in any situation. It will clearly show denial’s ability to pull you out of unpleasant and difficult times, and to protect you from harm.

Who should read “When Reality Bites”?

This is THE book for everyone, everywhere wanting to get a grip on denial!

Written in an interesting style, “When reality bites” will not bite you. On the contrary, it can help you use denial in order to get through hard times. The book also allows you to break your resiliency for emotional survival. But most importantly “When reality bites” will change your idea of denial: it shows denial as an expression of a perfectly rational desire to avoid pain.

Dr. Parker reviews how we use denial as a way to deal with our minds, bodies, relationships. Going through the six levels of denial in human experience, this book reveals how to uncover, reframe and harness denial into a very normal coping mechanism that can help people overcome tough times.

We found one of the best things about “When Reality Bites” to be the personal stories and exercises that are included in the book in order to help you apply the given information to your own situation.

Why we like “When Reality Bites”?

We are all in denial about something.

Regardless of your relationship with denial, this book will teach you how to recognize your patterns and will show you ways you can use denial in a good manner. By reading, you can gain a better understanding of:

  • how denial affects your live
  • how to recognize denial
  • how to break denial
  • how denial limits your options for living fully
  • how to hold on to denial when it serves you well

This book is for anyone who wishes to peek at the tiny spaces most of us are afraid to see.

Got questions?

If you’re looking to grow in your addiction recovery, this is one of the books that may be right for you!

Wondering where to find “When Reality Bites”? To buy, download and read the book, go to this link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Reality-Bites-Denial-Helps/dp/1616496657/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1472593337&sr=1-1&keywords=when+reality+bites

If you have any questions or comments to share about this book, we welcome you to post them in the comments section below. We try to provide a personal and prompt answer to all legitimate inquiries.


About the Author: Holly Parker, PhD. is a psychological lecturer at Harvard University and an Associate Director of Training at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital near Boston, Mass. She received her doctorate in Experimental Psyhopathology from Harvard University, where she engaged in research on topics including Anxiety Disorders and resilience after traumatic loss.
A four-time recipient of the George W. Goethals Teaching Prize, and a two-time recipient of the Derek Bok Center Certificate of Excellence and Distinction in Teaching at Harvard University, Holly has a reputation as a masterful and engaging teacher. She has written and contributed articles to the Journal of Behavior Therapy, the Journal of Family Psychology, Depression and Anxiety, and wrote a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Suicide and Self-Injury. She has also been quoted in articles for Self, Prevention, MarketWatch, Healthy Living, the Chicago Tribune, and many others consumer and professional publications.

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