Defense Mechanisms

It’s very common for addicts and alcoholics to use defence mechanisms in order to protect their addiction and maintain ego integrity, but over all they are not serving a person well at all and can prohibit change.

Here are some examples of some:

  1. Projection:

Example: “I think you have a problem with alcohol”, while being concerned about one’s own problem with drugs.



  1. Rationalization:
    Example: “I work hard. I deserve some down time to do what I want to do.”



  1. Intellectualization:

Example: “We have a drinking culture. Statistically speaking, it would be unusual for people like me NOT to drink.” or “The only reason that more people don’t do drugs is because they are legal. When weed is legalized, I won’t have a problem.”



  1. Minimization:

Example: “I only drink when everyone else is in bed asleep. I don’t get drunk every time I drink. I still have a job.” or the classic example — “I only had two beers.”



  1. Denial:

Example: “I don’t have a problem. My husband overreacts. My drinking/using is not hurting anyone but myself.”


  1. Suppression:

Example: “I made a decision to quit. My drinking is not really an issue anymore. There is nothing I can do about the past.”


  1. Avoidance:

Example: “Let’s talk about the relationship problems that we have instead of beating this dead horse. I told you that I am done with the driving drunk. Let’s move on to something else.”



  1. Deflection:

Example: “You can’t talk about my using drugs when drink.” “You are hardly one to talk. Your own kids won’t talk to you.” “You’re just as bad; you never get anything done that you say you will.”



  1. Manipulation:

Example: Picking a fight with your spouse so that you can leave the house in an angry fit and go to the bar.


  1. Hostility:

Example: Getting angry, glaring, and exhibiting behavior that the other person would find threatening. Used as a tactic to shut down discussion of the drinking/using.


  1. Lying:

Example: “I got rid of all the alcohol/drugs”. Instead, you kept a stash. ” I have not been drinking”. “I have not relapsed”. “I am not high”.


  1. Blaming:

Example: “Anybody married to you would drink like I do.” If you would just leave me alone I wouldn’t get mad and get drunk because you are nagging me.” “I stayed out all night because I knew you would chew my butt.”



Published by Dylan Kerr BA ACAT FDAP DipHE MBABCP

Mr Dylan Kerr Addictions Counselor Bachelors in Clinical Counseling (Hons) Advanced Certified Addictions Therapist Member of the British Association for Behaviour and Cognitive Psychotherapist Member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Practitioners HeDip Health-care HeDip Psychology of Addiction Dip Counselling Diploma in Arts Therapy Diploma in Transactional Analysis CSAT III Dylan Kerr is a Certified Substance Abuse Therapist who is qualified in Counseling, Psychology of addiction from Leeds University and Healthcare from Birmingham City University. Dylan Kerr has been a senior Therapist at the River Rehab, Lead Therapist at Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai and Head Counselor of Hope Rehab in Siracha. As well as working in Thailand for 7 years, Dylan has also been the on-tour counsellor for the the Rock band ‘The Libertines’. Dylan is now resident counsellor at an Asian rehab. Dylan has experience of working within the music industry supporting acts in therapeutic needs. As well as working around the world Dylan has over 13 years experience delivering substance use disorder treatment at various agencies around the UK. He is skilled in motivational interviewing, CBT, RET and guidance around 12 step philosophies. Dylan has worked with a broad client base and establish the rapport needed to effect change and sustainable progression. Dylan wishes to start this blog to help educate people on his observations within this field and debate the nature of work in the addictions field.

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