Lesson 1 Notes: Denial

Lesson 1 Denial

Principle 1: Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am
powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is

 “Happy are those who
know they are spiritually poor.” (Matthew 5:3)

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions
and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

 “I know that nothing
good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do
what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18)

Lesson 1 Denial



Let’s look at Hebrews 12:1 (TLB):

Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us

•             First, God has a particular race, a unique plan, for each of us (A plan for good, not a life full of dependencies, addictions, and obsessions).

I need we need to be willing to get rid of all the unnecessary baggage, the past failures, in our lives that keep us stuck. Again, it says, “Let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up.”

•             For many of us, our past hurts, hang-ups, and habits hold us back, trip us up! Many of us are stuck in bitterness over what someone has done to us.

•             We continue to hold on to the hurt and

•             we refuse to forgive the ones who had hurt us.

You may have been hurt deeply. Perhaps you were abused as a child, or maybe you were or are in a marriage where your spouse committed adultery. Holding on to the hurt is hurting us:

God gives us Willingness to forgive. It is a process in which we can gain freedom

•             Some of you are bound by guilt of hurting others.  

•             You think that no one anywhere is as bad as you are,

•             that no one could love the real you, and

•             that no one could ever forgive you for the terrible things that you have done. You’re wrong. God can. That’s why Jesus went to the cross, for our sins. He knows everything you’ve ever done and everything you’ve ever experienced. And there are many here tonight that have faced similar failures and hurts in their life and have accepted Christ’s forgiveness. They are here to encourage and support you.

The apostle Paul had a lot to regret about his past. He even participated in Stephen’s murder. Yet in Philippians 3:13 (TLB) he tells us, “No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”

Here’s the bottom line if you want to be free from your past hurts, hang-ups, and habits guilt grudges, grief, and shame we need to release it. 

As Isaiah 43:18 tells us, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”  When we recognize it we can release it by amends or forgiveness. 

Let’s face it, we have all stumbled over a hurt, hang-up, or habit. Don’t relive it admit moving on.


 “The Lord is my Helper and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me” (Hebrews 13:6, TLB).

Fear of :

•             losing identity (grateful believer)

•             Losing what control I have gained

•             what if Recovery doesn’t work

•             Who will I be

•             What will I do without my substance of choice?

•             What if the person I am enabling gets mad at me

•             What or who will I have to give up being healthy? (God doesn’t want you to stay frozen in an unhealthy relationship or a bad habit. He wants you to do your part in becoming healthy).

•             afraid of re-opening pain

•             afraid I deserve this


As you work the principles and steps remember 1 John 4:18 (NCV): “Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear.”

You are not here by mistake tonight.  Recovery worked for me it can work for you. 


•             Wonder if you belong here,

•             if you hurt habit or hang-up is really that bad,

•             Wanting to cover it up and fix It yourself. 

This is DENIAL  it is one of the enemy’s powerful weapons

Denial rears its head at any time

and you may find yourself trading one addiction for a new one


What Is Denial?

Denial has been defined as “a false system of beliefs that are not based on reality” and “a self-protecting behavior that keeps us from honestly facing the truth.”


 Denial is hand in hand Shame and guilt


  Do any of the following comments sound familiar to you?

•             “Can’t we stop talking about it? Talking only makes it worse.”

•             “Billy, if we  don’t talk about it, it will go away.”

•             “Honey, let’s pretend that it didn’t really happen.”

•             “If I tell her that it hurts me when she says that, I’m afraid she will leave me.”

•             “He really doesn’t drink that much.”

•             “Paul drinks more than I do.”

•             It really doesn’t hurt when he does that; I’m fine!”

•             “Joan has been married three times; I’ve only been married twice.”

•             “I eat because you make me so mad!”

•             “If you didn’t nag me all the time, I wouldn’t …”

•             “Look honey, I have a tough job; I work hard. I need a few drinks to relax. It doesn’t mean that I have a problem.”

Folks, that’s DENIAL.

As I said earlier, before we can take the first step of our recovery, we must first face and admit our denial. God says in Jeremiah 6:14 (TLB), “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there!”

Effects of Denial

Okay, let’s look at tonight’s acrostic:



Disables our feelings

Energy lost

Negates growth

Isolates us from God

Alienates us from our relationships

Lengthens the pain


The D in denial stands for DISABLES our feelings. Hiding our feelings, living in denial, freezes our emotions and binds us. Understanding and feeling our feelings is where we find freedom. I can feel the feeling without having to numb it out. The test to this is I’m free to feel this and I don’t need to use________

Second Peter 2:19 (GNB) tells us: “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of destructive habits—for a man is a slave of anything that has conquered him.”


The next letter in denial is E, which stands for ENERGY lost.

A major side-effect of denial is anxiety. Anxiety causes us to waste precious energy dealing with past hurts hiding stuff  and fear of being found inept kept me from present  Hiding kept me  Change can only happen in the present . Worrying about the past and dreading the future makes us unable to live and enjoy God’s plans for us in the present.

  Psalm 146:7 (TLB) says, “He frees the prisoners, he lifts the burdens from those bent down beneath their loads.”

Letting go of the burden of hiding, (or trying to prove myself ) allowed me to experience God’s freedom to love others and myself in healthier ways.

Let’s move on to the N in denial.

Denial NEGATES growth.

We are as sick as our secrets “They cried to the Lord in their troubles, and he rescued them! He led them from the darkness and shadow of death and snapped their chains” (Psalm 107:13–14, TLB).

God never wastes a hurt; God will never waste your darkness. But He can’t use it unless you step out of your denial into the light of His truth.

I isolates Denial also ISOLATES us from God.

  After they sinned, their secret separated them from God. Genesis 3:7 tells us that Adam and Eve hid from God because they felt naked and ashamed. 

Remember, God’s light shines on the truth. Our denial keeps us in the dark. “God is light, in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:5–7).

A Our denial not only isolates us from God, it ALIENATES us from our relationships.

•             In denying a hurt, it also keeps us from helping ourselves or the people we love the most.

•             My denial causes me to be more judgmental of others with the same struggle

•             We don’t dare reveal our true selves to others for fear of what they will think or say if they knew the real us.

•             We must protect ourselves—our secrets—at any cost. So we isolate ourselves and thereby minimize the risk of exposure and possible rejection from others.

•             But at what price  (The eventual loss of all our important relationships)?

What’s the answer? Listen to Ephesians 4:25 (TLB). “Stop lying to each other; tell the truth, for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other we are hurting ourselves.”

Remember it is always better to tell the ugly truth rather than a beautiful lie.

Finally, denial LENGTHENS the pain.

We have the false belief that denial protects us from our pain. In reality, denial allows our pain to fester and grow and to turn into shame and guilt. Denial extends your hurt. It multiplies your problems.

Truth, like surgery, may hurt for a while, but it cures. God promises us in Jeremiah 30:17 (TLB), “I will give you back your health again and heal your wounds.”


  Walking out of your denial is not easy. Taking off that mask is hard. Everything about you shouts, “Don’t do it! It’s not safe!” But it is safe. It’s safe at Celebrate Recovery. Here you have people who care about you and who love you for who you are—people who will stand beside you as truth becomes a way of life.

Jesus tells us, “Know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Step out of your denial so you can step into Jesus’ unconditional love and grace and begin your healing journey of recovery

Lesson notes (asside from personal notations) are from  by Celebrate Recovery Lesson Outlines 2006®

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done and keep up the good work


  2. Anonymous says:

    Have just realized I’ve been in denial about my own problem of denial.


  3. name withheld by moderator says:

    Just realized I’m in a state of denial. Quite shocking. I’m hurting myself and others by not being honest about the hurt I continue to feel.


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