Why Alcoholics Lie Common Reasons Why Alcoholics Lie to Loved Ones

why do alcoholics lie

Little research on alcohol and alcohol addiction existed in the early 1900s. There were plenty of people who couldn’t control their drinking but doctors couldn’t explain why at the time. The disease concept of alcoholism hadn’t yet been introduced.

They don’t want to believe their need to get drunk or high has hurt their children when they aren’t there for them after school, at sports, or for other events. They don’t see that their inability to be present with family and friends is hurting others. Stopping anytime you want to stop is a myth that many addicts continue to believe and a lie they tell themselves to justify their drinking and drug habits. If they feel they can stop at will, then it’s okay to continue, they tell themselves.

How can you tell if someone has been drinking?

When alcoholics are lying to themselves about their own addiction, it leads them in the opposite direction of the journey to actual wellness and recovery. Often, addiction causes people to begin lying why do alcoholics lie to others about their substance use. They may lie so they can continue using alcohol or avoid judgment, but this behavior can quickly damage relationships with friends, family members and loved ones.

Whether they realize it or not, they’re beginning to lose control of their drinking. If they do not stop drinking, they continue progressing to the point of alcohol dependence and then finally to the point of chronic alcohol use. Often, family members and close friends feel obligated to cover for the person with the drinking problem.

“I Lied About Everything, All the Time”

Some individuals will try to rationalize their drinking behaviors. For instance, you may blame other people or certain circumstances for your drinking. Rather than acknowledge the problems you’ve experienced from alcohol, you become defensive when someone mentions your excessive drinking pattern.

  • I really appreciate hearing how much you liked this and that you think it can help family members who read it.
  • Gaining their trust can prove difficult unless they are getting help for their alcoholism.
  • These individuals may become offended or enraged if someone suggests they may have a drinking problem.
  • Before the session the senders were also told they would receive an addition $35 gift card if they were able to convince the experimenter of their veracity.
  • Waiters, cashiers, cab drivers, strangers waiting at the bus stop — there are dozens of people you don’t even realize you interact with.
  • The order of truthful and deceptive statements was counterbalanced, and before each recording the senders were given 2 min to prepare their description.

Kids not only know, but they care deeply when their parents take drugs or drink. Even at a very young age, children are aware of the shifting moods and unreliability that goes along with living with a substance abuser. Drugs and alcohol change your behavior at home, which in turn changes your relationship with your kids. They Lie To Avoid Conflict – Many people struggling with addiction lie to loved ones because they don’t want to have conflict or confrontation. They know that if they admit to drinking, drugging, or engaging in some other addictive behavior, it could cause contrast.

Children of alcoholics

When your loved one left the house to go to the store, you believed they would be right back with a carton of milk. Even when you knew that they would probably be gone for hours, or even days, drinking all night at a bar or in a hotel room, you wanted to believe that this time would be different. But there is no way for him to ever hit bottom when it’s always covered with pillows. There areself-assessmentsthat can help you determine if you have been enabling an alcoholic. Her non-judgmental approach and enthusiasm for sharing this research put the audience at ease, which made them especially interested in what she had to say. If you are one of the 91 million Americans affected by secondhand drinking, you need to read this book. Clear, concise and covering all the critical points, the “Quick Guide to Secondhand Drinking,” by Lisa Frederiksen is THE handbook for anyone who loves an addict.

  • Journaling also reduces the risk of becoming caught up in self-delusion because things appear clearer when they are written down on paper.
  • They might have experienced unreliability and neglect in adolescence (e.g. Sher, 1991) and might have encountered parental deception on a regular basis (Rogers & Bender, 2018).
  • This is a particularly interesting lie because addicts want others to believe they have control over their lives.
  • 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 .
  • For example, getting arrested for driving under the influence or for drunk and disorderly conduct.

One in their 20’s and the other in their 50’s, that lived in different places, and asked them about how they perceived their own alcoholism/addiction, you’d get nearly the same responses. It is almost as if each alcoholic/addict is given the very same playbook by which to draw their denial from.

Alcoholics Lie, Cheat, Steal

But if I am to improve my life, his life and the lives of our children, I should not let what he is doing be the focus of my attention at all. Somewhere in my warped mind I think about calling him back, but realise that lunch would be miserable and we are not ready to talk about anything.

  • For an alcoholic or addict, lying isn’t only something that is done when trying to hide something from other people.
  • Justifying your own drug and alcohol use by pointing to someone else’s habits is also a means of deflecting criticism away from yourself.
  • Sometimes drinking too much may even create legal problems, leading to heavy fines and jail time.
  • Moreover, participation in therapy might have affected the participants’ level of trust in other people.
  • In fact, online therapy for anxiety and depression has proved to be an effective alternative to in-person therapy.
  • If you notice they continue drinking heavily and blacking out, you have a right to be concerned.
  • He argues that alcohol is a genetic disease, not a symptom of a traumatic life, and that alcoholism causes psychiatric disturbances rather than developing in response to them.

In a diary study, DePaulo et al. found that participants lied approximately 1.5 times per day, which meant that they tried to deceive people they interacted with 34% of the time. Weekend benders can be just as bad, if not more so, than constant, steady use. You can be an alcoholic or a substance addict even if you only get high on the weekends. If you crave substances, use them to escape life, and find you can’t quit on your own, those weekend indulgences have become an addiction. “How much” is a relative term when it comes to addiction. What’s too much for one person may not be enough for another. This means the body adapts to ever-increasing amounts of alcohol or drugs, requiring more to achieve the original high.

Beliefs about cues to deception

Our community offers unique perspectives on lifelong recovery and substance use prevention, empowering others through stories of strength and courage. From people in active recovery to advocates who have lost loved ones to the devastating disease of addiction, our community understands the struggle and provides guidance born of personal experience. To understand why alcoholics lie frequently, it is vital to understand the broken logic of addiction and the distorted thought processes behind the alcohol abuse that cultivates dishonesty. To do this, we need to look at why and how people become alcoholics in the first place. Researchers know that addiction is a disease, not a defect of character, failure of willpower, or a lack of motivation.15 But many people still believe that addiction is a choice. As a result, people living with addiction often feel guilty and ashamed, broken, or powerless.


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