Why We Lie
I was a Commercial Fisherman in Alaska for 30 years and lived in the great northwest of Washington.
I started experimenting with pot and alcohol at the age 14. For 40 years I was an addict or an alcoholic and honestly it would be faster to tell you what I haven’t done or tried during that time. In addition to being a drug addict and alcoholic, I was a professional liar.
Since I have heard and told them all, I believe I am in a perfect condition to tell you why most alcoholics and addicts lie. Deception becomes so second nature, addicts will lie even when it’s just as easy to tell the truth. Many don’t even realize they’re fibbing or that other people see through the facade.
So why do addicts and alcoholics lie? The number one reason for me was, do whatever was necessary to maintain the party. I lied to preserve my addiction. If I were to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem or the harm it was doing to myself and my family, then I would have to not only face my wrongdoings but also stop committing them.
My logic, whether conscious or unconscious was that I needed drugs and alcohol—I had to have drugs and alcohol. That being the case, the bedrock or foundation on which my life was lived made me tell lies to keep people off my back and to hide the drugs and alcohol so I could continue using. Lying became a matter of self-preservation, so anything or anyone that would hinder my drinking and drugging had no place in my life.
Since my alcoholism and addiction consumed my identity and it was too painful to face the truth, I would tell my family and friends I was doing great; my kids and wife are happy, I was investing money and bought a new truck. In reality, I was dirt poor, I owed money to the IRS, my marriage was falling and we were getting a divorce and I was losing my home.
My double life was so exhausting. I was so defensive about my vulnerabilities, I would do and say anything to avoid my life’s disappointments.
As I slowly self-destructed, my family would get angry and inevitably they would say I didn't love them or why did I keep using or the best question of all, why couldn't I just stop. I would continue lying and without mature coping skills, I wouldn’t call them, or show up to family gatherings or holiday parties.
Since I hated confrontation, I became more defensive when they would challenge me and started dishing out complaints of my own in an attempt to draw attention away from me.
The biggest lies were the ones I told myself. I played that hand for years, “I’m not hurting anyone,” “I can stop anytime,” “My addition is not that bad.” I’d tell people I’ve been clean and sober for weeks when in truth I was high while telling them. I thought the only way to survive and function was to be numb and painless when in fact, I was destroying my chance at survival.
I knew if I acknowledged that drugs and alcohol became a problem, I wouldn’t be able to continue using, so I convinced myself by lying that I was an exception to the rule. The delusion that “I’m not like the others,” “I can handle it” allowed me to live outside normal standards of behavior. A person can actually get to the point they actually believe the lies they tell themselves (“I'm not really that bad”) or their families (“I can quit when I want.”) They actually think that what they SAY is the truth, as if truth is only the words spoken.
Contribution to this come from those closest to the addict and alcoholic, usually their friends and family as they turn a blind eye to worrisome behaviors and make excuses for the addict because of being embarrassed or because they are unwilling to confront the situation. Loved ones who give second chances over and over, who ignore, enable, or rescue send the message that lying is acceptable, thus perpetuating the addiction.
Addicts and alcoholics lie. Sometimes they lie even when they are actually caught in the act of using or drinking. And they still lie and say they didn't do it or they were going to stop or they only used that one time… Again as if the words they speak are the truth, even when the words do not even match their actions. Strangely enough, while they wonder if you really know the truth, they still convince themselves they do not need help.
Addicts and alcoholics lie. And while the lies can’t be ignored, they are actually a distraction from the real problem—the underlying issues that contribute to addiction. Because in reality, lying is a SYMPTOM, not a cause. An addict needs to find the reason they used drugs and/or alcohol to solve their problems in life.
“Only by breaking through the denial and seeing the truth can the addict and alcoholic begin to heal.
And that’s the truth.”