Why do alcoholics lie?

young man crossed his fingers behind his back

If someone close to you – such as a family member or significant other – suffers from alcohol addiction, there’s probably one question you’re constantly asking yourself: why do alcoholics lie?

It’s not uncommon for addicts to lie to their loved ones. And many people know this. But when you’re in it and watching someone you so deeply care about lying to you, it’s hard to fully understand why it’s happening.

Lying is part of addiction. In a society that stigmatizes alcohol abuse and addiction, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that alcoholics lie to stay alive and keep themselves safe. It’s their defense mechanism and the way they keep themselves moving forward.

3 Reasons Alcoholics Lie

1. To Preserve Their Addiction

Alcoholics will do whatever is necessary to preserve their addiction. If they acknowledged the seriousness of their addiction and the pain they’re causing, they’d have a difficult time continuing down the same path. Their logic becomes: I need to do whatever’s necessary to keep people off by back so I can continue to drink. In turn, lying becomes a matter of self-preservation.

2. To Avoid Reality

Addiction completely alters a person’s life to the point they become unrecognizable to themselves and others. The reality of the situation is often too painful to face, so the addict constructs a reality where their drinking habits really aren’t a problem. They say, “I can stop drinking at any point” when in reality, they drink to the point of blacking out every night. They say they landed a great new job when in reality, they’re barely scraping by and are homeless.

3. To Avoid Confrontation

Loved ones almost always confront an alcoholic about their drinking problem. They ask questions and in turn, get angry. The stress of confrontation is often overwhelming for an addict. Because they often don’t have mature coping skills, addicts often do or say whatever it takes to avoid disappointing their loved ones.

Finding A Solution

Alcoholics lie, but these lies shouldn’t be a distraction from the problem at hand – the underlying issues that contribute to their addiction – or the solution – finding a path toward recovery.

Don’t look the other way when a loved one lies to you, but don’t be rude or get defensive either. Help your loved one see the consequences of their lies, and create a supportive environment where they feel comfortable telling you the truth.

Why Do Alcoholics Lie?
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