Most addicts are not inherently cruel, vicious, manipulative, angry, hurtful people. They do not wish harm upon anyone, nor do they seek to cause suffering upon others. The majority of addicts understand daily the immense amount of pain they are not only causing themselves, but upon others. They feel terribly guilty about it, and live a life filled with shame and fear.
But the inherent good intentions of the addict don’t matter when the addict himself takes actions which cause enormous suffering to others. In other words, the addict himself may be a good person underneath the addiction, but the addiction is causing the addict to behave in a way that is hurtful to others. The addict, among other things, is always forced to lie in order to maintain their addiction. Compulsive lying and deceit are chronic problems that the addict faces, and those who love the addict often take years to start trusting them again in sobriety. Sometimes, sadly, the lying doesn’t go away in sobriety either, if the addict is not living a life of emotional sobriety.
So what causes the addict to lie, and was the addict born a liar or did they become one after their addiction took hold? Here are a few explanations:
1.The addict must lie in order to keep using in secret. Some addictions are more obvious than others. An addiction to alcohol, for example, is easily noticed most of the time because of the smell and the way it causes one to act in social situations. However, other addictions are easier to hide. Someone who is not knowledgeable about the signs of an addiction to painkillers, for example, probably won’t notice someone who has an addiction to them.
Regardless of the addiction, the addict must lie about their substance abuse in order to maintain friendships, business relationships, and a sense of prestige within society. He or she knows that the addiction will ruin important relationships, so it is imperative for the addict to lie about their addiction to others in order to continue these relationships.
2.The addict must lie to himself. The addict must continue to lie to himself or herself in order to continue using drugs and alcohol to excess. The addict must either pretend that the problem does not exist, or that it will get better after a certain difficult life situation improves, or whatever else excuse he or she uses to continue using. This state of denial keeps the addict in a constant sense of turmoil. On one hand, the addict knows instinctively that they have a problem, but on the other hand, they recognize that admitting that problem to themselves is much harder than pretending it doesn’t exist. This sense of self-deception can cause otherwise normal individuals to go insane.
In some cases, the addict has completely admitted to himself or herself or to others that they have a problem, and have no qualms about their addictive tendencies. They recognize that it is destructive, that it is hurting others, and perhaps they have even tried rehab programs or AA meetings. They have failed at sobriety attempts in the past and so they continue to keep using or go in brief spouts of sobriety. This type of addict lies to himself in a different way than the previous addict does. He or she says, “Yes I am an addict and I have a problem, but I cannot quit right now. One day I will be able to quit and get it right; today is just not the right time. Once this week is over, I will stop using and drinking. Once this bad situation is over, I will go back to AA meetings.” This keeps the addict able to continue justifying using drugs and alcohol, because they pretend as though there is an end point in date. The date just never comes.
3.The addict suffers from pride, low self-esteem, and fear-driven paranoia. Addicts are a specific breed of prideful individuals. Many times, addicts grew up in households where showing any sort of weakness was not allowed. They learned through their childhood to hide any type of weakness, and it just never resolved itself in adulthood.
Addicts also tend to suffer from low self-esteem and are afraid of what others think of them. They hide this by avoiding showing emotions, being the funny one at the party, or through a variety of other means. However, underneath it all, addicts feel very ashamed and depressed about their condition. This causes the addict to lie and put on a façade in order to maintain a certain level of false self-security and a positive image amongst friends.
Addicts are also fear-filled individuals who are terrified of what others think. They are so embarrassed and miserable about their addiction that the thought of telling others that they need help, or leaving work to go to rehab, is unthinkable to them. Instead, they would rather suffer in silence and fear than have others think poorly of them.
There is a solution. Addicts are probably not born compulsive liars. They become liars because they have no choice. They either lie to survive in society, to maintain relationships, and to continue abusing drugs and alcohol without admitting to themselves that there is a problem. Fortunately, 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and rehabilitation centers such as Footprints Behavioral Health can provide the necessary tools for the addict to learn how to be honest and truthful with not only others-but himself.
Do you suffer from compulsive lying because of your addiction? Are you tired of living a secret, double life and feel like every day is more miserable than the day before it? Don’t live in fear, anxiety, and lies anymore. Contact Linda Rose at Footprints Behavioral Health today. Call 949-558-4723 and start your roadmap towards recovery.