Panic Disorder 411

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Denial is the mechanism delaying recovery

Denial - The Mechanism that Fuels Alcoholism

Articles Index

Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects thoughts, feelings, needs, wishes, or external realities that they would not be able to deal with if they got into the conscious mind. Denial prevents a person from recognizing that he has a problem.

The Process of Recovery

Recognition of the problem
Acceptance of the problem
Commitment to change
Action - changing behavior
Challenge to return to destructive behavior
Awareness that positive choice is essential to recovery

Portia Nelson illustrates the process of recovery simply and beautifully in the following poem from her book, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk.

"Autobiography in Five Short Chapters"

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost. I am helpless. [victim]
It isn't my fault. [denial]
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault. [denial]
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there. [awareness]
I still fall in. It's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. [acceptance]
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it. [action]

Chapter 5

I walk down another street. [choice]

Copyright (c) 1993, by Portia Nelson from the book There's A Hole in My Sidewalk.

THE ROAD TO FORT WORTH by Michael Jackson Smith: Very little was known about panic disorder when I had my first panic attack. There was no help available to teach me how to assuage the attacks, but I discovered that alcohol would dissolve my fear instantly. My website contains the kind of information that would have been a tremendous help to me in the early days of my illness as I searched for solutions for the panic disorder, agoraphobia, and alcoholism that incapacitated me. My book is the story of my journey into recovery. Read Chapter 8 | Top of Page

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