Addicts and Lies
Addiction is such a powerful force that it causes most people to do things they wouldn’t consider “right” or “moral” if they weren’t fighting addiction. Many people will steal, hurt others, skip appointments or important events, as well as exhibiting other behaviors. But, the most common thing addicts do is: they lie.
Common lies addicts express include telling others things like, “I can stop any time” or “I’m only hurting myself –not anyone else – so why do you care?” Many addicts live a double life and keep the lie of their existing addiction a secret from many people in their life. There are many reasons why addicts lie — most are obvious—but, when trying to help an addicted loved one, understanding why they are lying may give you insight into how to better help them.
Addicts lie to avoid facing the reality they live in. The reality of their addiction may be too painful/embarrassing for them to face so they just lie about their behavior or their whereabouts, etc. Addicts will also lie to keep their addiction intact. In order to keep using, addicts will say or do pretty much anything. They lie to preserve themselves in their addiction.
Many addicts lie because they can’t stand who they’ve become and they certainly don’t want their loved ones to know. Addicts will lie to avoid seeing the disappointment in those they love. They will say they are clean when they may have gotten high a few hours ago just to avoid the guilt that comes from upsetting their loved ones. Many addicts are ashamed by their behavior and do and say everything they can to make people believe that their life is great and normal.
When dealing with an addict who often lies, loved ones can take steps to help both themselves and the addict. They can recognize that lies are a part of addiction. The lies that the addict tells are not ok, but they are usually not to be taken personal either. It is also vital that loved ones do not enable or ignore the lies of an addict. Allowing addicts to hit rock bottom, suffer for their actions and choices, and refusing to rescue them can help addicts see the web of lies they live and possibly have started to believe themselves.
Most importantly, loved ones can create a loving, supportive environment where lies are not overlooked or tolerated, but where concern and love continues to abide regardless. This will facilitate honesty rather than encouraging threats or power struggles. When addicts feel safe, they will begin to step out into the light of telling the truth and they can heal and recover, relying on the stable love and support of those who care about them. Encouraging addicts to get help will also be more effective when they can trust more and rely upon those in their life to support them in recovery.