Why Do Alcoholics Lie? Understanding People Who Struggle with Alcoholism

Posted on July 31, 2023

why do alcoholics lie

Instead, they may say they are facing an unexpected bill, or just need a little help with rent. This is a tactic to try and stop you from asking further questions. People who have not experienced alcoholism do not know what it is like to be an alcoholic.

why do alcoholics lie

Don’t respond to a series of rapid-fire questions immediately; take the time to listen and understand before responding. This can halt manipulative behavior while also reminding the person that you truly are invested in their well-being. A person struggling with addiction will keep spending more and more to obtain drugs or alcohol at the expense of their other financial obligations. Asking for money or other favors is a hallmark of manipulation, and they don’t generally state that the money is going to their addiction.

Ultimately, this can cause a person to lie in order to hide the relapse. To avoid consequences, alcoholics may feel the need to lie about the extent of their drinking or lie about attending treatment. For instance, someone who is drinking heavily may lie to an employer to avoid being fired.

Something you can do is try to help them understand their drinking behavior is not an effective coping mechanism. Substance abuse alters reality for someone with alcohol use disorder. Oftentimes, these individuals experience grandiose and victimizing delusions, and many alcoholics construct a reality in which their excessive drinking is not a problem.

Alcohol addiction can severely affect an individual’s physical and mental health, relationships, and finances. Recovery from alcoholism involves changing every part of a person’s life. In my professional opinion, real recovery is only made possible by the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. There are countless positive things that can be added to the program of AA and their importance cannot be overstated. Lying is a complex behavior that can be prevalent among individuals struggling with alcoholism. Understanding the reasons behind this lying behavior is crucial in comprehending the intricate relationship between alcoholism and dishonesty.

Risk factors

It can be frustrating to have your good-faith attempts to help rebuffed by lies, deflection, and avoidance. The stress that resulted in a person’s drinking issues may be attributed to loved ones or their employers. It could also be as an accusation stating that the loved one keeps buying them alcohol https://sober-house.org/ and making their addiction worse. If your loved one tells you that they have only had one drink today, and then later you find out that they have had several drinks, then they may be lying to you about drinking. Lying about how much alcohol they have consumed is a hallmark of an addiction to drink.

  • Something you can do is try to help them understand their drinking behavior is not an effective coping mechanism.
  • They may deny responsibility for their actions or accuse someone else of causing their drinking.
  • The most important thing to remember when someone you know is addicted is that addiction causes changes in the brain itself.
  • This behavior can strain relationships and lead to financial difficulties.
  • It offers a compassionate lens through which to view behavior that is often met with anger and betrayal.
  • A person with alcohol addiction may lie to keep alcohol accessible or to increase their access to alcohol.

The lies serve to protect their addiction and maintain access to alcohol. Alcoholics sometimes feel embarrassed to acknowledge they have a drinking issue. There are many negative connotations linked with mental illness, alcoholism, and addiction in our culture. Because of this, alcoholics will eco sober house price make an effort to conceal or pass off their illness as something else. If your loved one lies, it may be to cover up their embarrassment or protect them from peer criticism. On the road towards helping a loved one heal from alcoholism it’s important to remove the shame surrounding the use.

McKowen and I both found that a sober life is actually more enjoyable, but it’s important to acknowledge that the transition isn’t necessarily seamless. “I’m not going to lie and say you’re not going to notice any difference in social situations when you stop drinking,” said McKowen. “You do because most of our culture drinks.” Being the only one not drinking can be pretty un-fun when alcohol is the center of the gathering. So adjusting to sobriety often includes building new friendships with other sober people.

To Avoid Conflict

Friends and family of active alcoholics ask me to explain how the alcoholic thinks. I am happy to share what I have learned after we establish what their motives are. In some people, the initial reaction may feel like an increase in energy. But as you continue to drink, you become drowsy and have less control over your actions.

why do alcoholics lie

You might slowly begin to accept more and more unacceptable behavior. Before you realize it, you can find yourself in a full-blown abusive relationship. You just happen to love someone who is probably going to need professional treatment to get healthy again.

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Living circuits made of nerves become disordered and essential brain chemicals stop working correctly. If a friend or loved one has recently developed an alcohol disorder, you may notice significant changes in their behavior toward you, themselves and others. Often, a substance use disorder, like alcoholism, can cause a person to alter the way they feel, act and speak to mask their condition from others.

  • Getting someone with an addiction to talk about treatment options is not easy.
  • Alcoholic liars come in every shape from a teenage son, daughter, spouse, mom, dad, grandmother or grandfather.
  • In this case, either avoid discussing the subject completely or simply state what you know happened, rather than going along with the lie.
  • But suppose it’s not you, but you have a loved one that is an alcoholic.
  • When talking to someone with an addiction, you need to know what you’re talking about.

However, lying about them can prevent the person from getting the support they need to get back on track. It indicates that the person’s need for alcohol has become a driving force in their life. It not only perpetuates the addiction but also isolates the person from those who could provide support.

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John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Want more inspiration, knowledge and ideas about alcohol and how to make the changes you want stick? Identifying the difference between your falsehoods and reality can leave them weary and discouraged emotionally. For someone suffering from an addiction, the stress of confrontation can be overpowering.

Of course not, no one sets a goal to be addicted to some type of drug or substance. They may not have been con artists before they started drinking but they come to have remarkable skills. They will pick a fight with you because they want to leave and they will have you believing it’s your fault.

Mental Health Treatment

They may say they haven’t been drinking, or they may minimize the extent of their alcohol abuse to make others feel less concerned. Alcoholics may also be ashamed2 of their alcohol abuse, which can lead them to lie about how much they have been drinking. One of the biggest reasons why alcoholics lie is to hide their alcohol use. Continuing to use alcohol despite difficulties in relationships is a key symptom5 of an alcohol addiction. This means that an alcoholic will continue to drink, even when loved ones ask them to stop drinking or get help.

Tackling an alcohol disorder can seem like a daunting task, but the journey to recovery is simplified with various treatment options. This erosion of trust leads not only to emotional distance but also to conflicts and arguments that further damage these relationships. Addicts may concoct stories or excuses in order to obtain funds for more drinks, especially when facing financial difficulties caused by uncontrolled drinking. Remember, lying is not a character flaw but rather a symptom of a larger issue at hand — alcoholism.

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