I heard someone share at a meeting recently that "In a forest of trees, I didn't recognize that I was a tree." I clearly didn't have much of a grip on the things that were wrong with me, until I was able to stop the denial. Before I came to Al-Anon, I could point out over and over what was wrong with the alcoholic. I knew that she was the one who was making me unhappy. I could not tell that there was anything wrong with me until the disease progressed.
And once alcoholism had me by the throat, I began to feel the stress, see the craziness, and figure out that something was very wrong with me. I was out of control with anger, paralyzed by fear. And that is what brought me to my first meeting.
Whereas my sole purpose in life was riveted on the alcoholics for so long, I was eventually able to refocus my attention where it needed to be: on me. I began to find things that I enjoyed doing. What a revelation to finally get a much needed reality check on denial.
When I don't look at something that can and is affecting the quality and quantity of my life, then I am in denial. When I avoid those "three fingers" of responsibility pointing back at me only in favor of aiming the other one out at someone else, I am in denial. When I don't take appropriate action on something I need to take care of inside of me, that's denial.
As I have learned in meetings, I cannot run from this disease. I have to stay rooted in my own truth, face whatever occurs, and yet be flexible enough to not break. I am an individual who gets support now from others around me and know that I am not really alone anymore.