It’s true! Addicts lie. They lie all the time. They lie to everyone and at the top of the list of recipients are family and friends. They lie to their employer, they lie to their spouse, and they lie to their children and think nothing of it. It’s an extreme betrayal of trust!
Addicts have very good reasons to lie. They have a destructive habit and don’t want to admit it, or accept it, so they try to protect themselves by telling lies about their addiction.
They don’t want to accept that their habit is out of control and so they lie in an attempt to disguise the fact or hide the truth.
If you talk to an addict about their problem, you’ll immediately understand. You will hear a complete denial of the problem or some twisted version of why it isn’t a problem.
You may hear a lot of explanations and excuses but most of them, if not all, will be plain and outright lies.
Addicts are the greatest victims of their lying. They lie to themselves about having an addiction; they rationalize and make excuses for their behavior, and they easily distort and twist facts to suit their stories.
These liars have a mental illness of sorts. They can be Pathological liars or Compulsive liars and can be very skilled and practiced at using lies to manage and protect their addictions.
Let’s take a deeper look into why the addict tells lies in the first place:
The most common and overused lies in addiction are related to addicts sneaking around and trying to keep their addiction secret and hiding their illegal and illicit affairs and behavior.
That secretive behavior is because dealing with and being addicted to illegal substances or prescription drugs that are either stolen or obtained illegally is a criminal offense and punishable by serious jail time.
Of course, they will try to keep that a secretive operation and protect their sources and keep their habits and methods very hidden.
They will constantly tell lies to protect their habit and will shun and stay away from anyone trying to interfere with their abuse or addiction.
People whose lives are a complete disaster will lie to try to make themselves look better. They create stories, and each one is more amazing than the last. They will say and do anything to bring attention to themselves in a different light than that of a dysfunctional addict.
Craving attention and succeeding at building an audience, the lying can increase to a point where they don’t even know that they are lying and can’t discriminate the truth from the lie. Neither can the audience usually.
Lies Show the Individual as a Constant Victim
Another tactic used by liars is always making themselves look like victims and making the audience feel sorry for them. It’s a tactic to shift the blame elsewhere when they cannot accept their frailty and weakness.
Most of the stories you hear about their bad luck, blame shifting, accidents, abuse, or other horrible events are completely fictional or half-truths that are exaggerated out of proportion.
The Individual Has Poor Self-Esteem
Addicts with low self-esteem will lie to cover up their weakness and inadequacies either real or made up. They try to make themselves look better in the eyes of the people around them and will say or do anything to accomplish that goal.
It makes them feel better to live a lie about who they are and about their supposed accomplishments or achievements. They can’t live with reality and prefer to create stories and a fictional life that is better than the one they have.
Addicts lie because they are ashamed of what they have become. They are ashamed of their weakness, and the path of destruction they are following.
Addicts know and understand that the path they follow leads to even more debilitating behavior, but it makes them feel better to lie about it and create stories and try to cover up their shame.
Denial is common in addicts and alcoholics. They feel like they aren’t doing anything wrong. They deny that they have a problem and treat everyone around them trying to help as the enemy.
Unfortunately, this behavior pretty much prevents them from getting any recognition and help for their problem.
People in the lives of addicts and alcoholics know about the lying but are not always sure of what is true and what is not. In many cases, the families and friends of addicts recognize the lying and just learn to deal with it.
As the addiction progresses and deepens, the lying gets worse. Lying becomes a way of life, and it becomes almost impossible for them to tell the truth.
Addicts cannot live with the truth of their illness. They seem confrontational, but they hate confrontation or any challenge to their freedom and ability to maintain their habit and avoid it if possible.
They use their addiction to cope with stress and anxiety and avoid dealing with any confrontation unless they can depend on the drugs to mask their fear and get them through the tense situation.
Why do addicts and alcoholic lie? They lie because they can! We inadvertently permit them.
We enable the lying because we want to avoid a confrontation. We permit them to lie by not challenging the lie or the behavior.
We let them get away with it because we get tired of the drama and the emotional scenes that can sometimes take place when there is a confrontation.
“How do you know when an addict is lying? Their lips are moving”.
It’s not hard to recognize a lie when you hear one. There are a lot of common lies in addiction, and once in a while a new and rare one pops up, and you’ll recognize it instantly.
Here are some examples of the lie that addicts tell their families and friends.
These are just examples of what you can hear. Most of these lies that we hear are specifically meant to minimize the problem or the degree of dependency.
It’s important to an addict that everything seems normal or that there is an acceptable reason for the behavior.
It seems that all you hear from an addict is a constant barrage of lies and stories. They lie about everything. The lies are so well rehearsed that it’s hard to tell a lie from reality.
It eventually evolves into a trust issue. There are so many lies and untrue stories that you being to lose trust in the addict and no longer believe anything they say.
Once trust is lost it’s hard to get it back. Even after successful recovery and treatment the shadow of a doubt is there and will remain there until a new habit and reputation of honesty are firmly displayed.
Pathological liars and Compulsive liars are addicted to lying. This habit of constant lies and deception is associated with alcohol or drug addiction.
This extreme level of lying is recognized as being part of many different disorders. In Addictions, such as drug addiction or alcoholism, lying is one of the symptoms of that disorder.
There is a difference between pathological and compulsive lying but we usually just think of lying as simply lying and don’t consider the deeper level of the problem.
It’s important to understand the difference. Let’s look first at the definitions that apply to addiction:
adjective: pathological; adjective: pathologic
Informal: compulsive; obsessive. “a pathological gambler.”
synonyms: compulsive, obsessive, inveterate, habitual, persistent, chronic, hardened, confirmed. “a pathological liar.”
adjective: compulsive; resulting from or relating to an irresistible urge.
synonyms: irresistible, uncontrollable, compelling, overwhelming, urgent. “a compulsive desire.”
informal: pathological “a compulsive liar.”
irresistibly interesting or exciting; compelling.
These definitions sound pretty much alike, but there are marked differences that pose different challenges for people dealing with them. A few noteworthy differences between the two include:
The two types of lying may look the same, but if you look closely you will see that the pathological liar is more of a ‘professional liar,’ is dedicated to his lying, is practiced and rehearsed and methodical.
The compulsive liar, on the other hand, is more spontaneous and ‘off the cuff.’ There isn’t any serious planning or rehearsal but more of a spur of the moment and free will action.
Does a cat have whiskers? Of course, they do.
Lying is a way of life and a tool used in addiction, and that includes the recovery and treatment processes. Getting clean and sober does not erase years of hardcore practice in the art of lie telling.
The completion of a recovery and treatment program is a good time to begin paying attention to the possibility of a lie being told and immediately confront the person.
It is part of the recovery and treatment; learning to deal with reality and slowly dissolving the fantasy belief system that comes with lies and stories.
It will eventually straighten out, but it could take some time.
We are speaking here about lying as a part of an addiction. In this context, we most likely recommend treatment to be part of the overall recovery and treatment plan or program.
Rather than individualizing lying and treating it separately, we consolidate it into the treatment plan as a ‘component’ of the addiction and treat it accordingly.
In some serious cases, a pathological liar will need specific therapy for his illness that can be a separate component but considered in the overall plan.
Everything depends on the individual. Each one may be quite different. Lying can be discussed and evaluated while working with your intake specialist at the recovery center you are working with, or considering, for your long-term recovery and treatment program.
Lying, in any form, whether Pathological or Compulsive, is a major consideration in any recovery and treatment effort. Active substance abuse and addiction depend on it to survive.
If you, a friend, or a loved one has addiction problems and you recognize how lying is part of their behavior, you can get in touch with the Hotline at your Recovery Center and discuss the problem and possible solutions.
The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment. Call anytime.
Please call our toll-free helpline which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed by experienced and caring professionals who can answer your questions and help you navigate through the process of evaluating and securing a treatment program.
If you or someone you love has questions concerning the rehabilitation process, call our free helpline Phone: +1 888-971-2986 for more information. Calls are always confidential, private, and secure.
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Why Addicts Lie To The Ones They Love?
“Lies Addicts Tell”
How to recognize lies that addicts tell and know how to handle them.