For Health Care Professionals

Alcoholic’s Resistance to Help Can be Frustrating

Since denial of the problem is symptomatic of alcoholism, alcoholics tend to be evasive when questioned about their drinking, and some health care professionals may not recognize that alcoholism may be contributing to their symptoms.

Most alcoholics will resist any suggestion that alcoholism is involved and may be equally resistant to the suggestion of Alcoholics Anonymous as a last recourse. Few health care professionals have had the experience of having their diagnosis rejected. Few have been told, “I certainly am not a diabetic.” Yet when the health care professional makes a diagnosis of alcoholism, an alcoholic will often respond, “I don’t drink that much,” or may say, “I’m not that bad,” or will offer excuses for his or her drinking. Health care professionals can expect and anticipate this.

Rationalization and denial are part of the alcoholic’s illness. Initial rejection of A.A. is part of the denial mechanism. 

A.A. members, having broken through their denial and faced the harm in their drinking, are particularly suited to helping others break through their denial.

Download PDF (124 kB) “PI: AA as a Resource for the Health Care Professional