It is argued that drug and alcohol addiction centers on denial and self-delusion, and successful recovery depends on coming to terms with such problems. Mutual-help programs for substance abuse recovery (eg, 12-step programs) and self-run recovery homes (eg, Oxford House) might decrease self-deception through emphasis on facing reality, strict abstinence rules, and empowering people to direct their own course of recovery.
The present study examined how recovery processes (12-step programs vs. recovery residence), substance use, and race/ethnicity predicted self-deception among adult residents of self-run recovery homes (359 men, 152 women).
Twelve-step participation but not recovery home residency significantly predicted decreased self-deception across a 4-month period. In addition, race/ethnicity was a significant predictor of self-deception, with African Americans reporting higher levels of self-deception than participants of other racial groups.
It is suggested that substance abusing individuals look to 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous to reduce denial and gain a realistic self-view, critical steps in addiction recovery.