It’s no secret: Lying becomes a natural response for those of us who have been hooked on drugs and alcohol. But as disturbing as this truth may seem, it helps to know why it’s happening.
The Truth About Addiction-Fueled Lying
So, why do people struggling with addiction lie – even in instances when it’s just as easy to tell the truth?
- To Preserve Our Addiction
Deception is the cornerstone of any addiction, and those addicted adopt an all-or-nothing mentality. We will do whatever is necessary to maintain our habit and everything else takes a backseat. As a result, lying becomes a matter of self-preservation. Anything, or anyone, that is going to get in the way of our drug use has no place in our lives.
- To Avoid Facing Reality
Addiction distorts the our world, making it unrecognizable to ourselves and others. Because our lives now revolve around getting and consuming drugs, we know very little about ourselves anymore. This is a very painful truth to face or admit, so instead, we construct a different version of reality in our minds – one where drugs and alcohol don’t have such a powerful grip over us.
- We’re in Denial
Addiction is a disease of denial, and even in the face of consequences and bad behavior, it has a way of helping a us justify our actions and make excuses. When one is deep in the throes of substance abuse, everyone else is the enemy and it’s never our fault.
- We Believe We’re Different
We not only lie to others, we lie to ourselves, as well. By telling ourselves that we’re different than others and that we can stop anytime, we’ve convinced ourselves we’re the exception to the rule. And this lie only perpetuates our chemical dependency.
- Because We Can
Lying becomes so second nature that we lie even when we don’t have to. We take advantage of those around us who are in denial of our problem or who’ve simply turned a blind eye. Often times, we get away with it, which only fuels our dishonesty.
Drawing the Line
So, yes – it’s true. This is a disease that drives us to lie. And while these lies are undoubtedly frustrating, they’re actually a diversion from the real problem – the underlying issues that contribute to addiction.
That’s why it’s important to stop these lies in their tracks. Friends or family who ignore or enable lying only send the message that it’s acceptable, which further perpetuates the vicious cycle of substance abuse.
Instead of going along with the lies, simply tell your addicted loved one you know they’re lying and you’re not going to stand for it anymore. Let them know that once they’re ready to take ownership for their addiction and receive help, you’ll be there to listen and support them.
Additional Reading: Prep Time – Are You Ready to Confront Your Loved One?
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