What Is the Difference Between Delusion and Denial?

By Rick W.

I was sitting in a meeting last night and we were having healthy discussion on the topic, “what I wish someone had told me when I was a newcomer that I know now” (one of those, “I wish I’d known then what I know now” kinda things). One of the women shared that she wished she had been taught the difference between “delusion” and “denial.” She struggled with that for a long time. As she was sharing, I found her statement very interesting and had to ask myself if I knew the difference. So, I went to the dictionary as I often do to find the definitions of the two and shared them with the room. The conversation went on and some really great discussion occurred.

After the meeting, I was left wanting more of that conversation as a teachable moment for myself, so I reached out to a handful of people in my A.A. network to see what their experience (not opinion, but experience) was on the topic. The linked document below represents a collective sampling of the responses I got from a variety of folks (all who have varying levels of time [some 30+ years] in the Fellowship – and who have varying levels of service, both at the group level and below the group level [in the General Service structure all the way down to the Board of Trustees]).

I hope you find it as interesting as I did as you begin to ask yourself the title question of this writing.

(Heads Up: There are some “outside issues” used herein by one person as they shared their experience.)