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Why do alcoholics lie?

March 15, 2018

Family and friends can unfortunately suffer a great deal if they are close to an addict, not just with dealing with the fact that a loved one is an alcoholic and can’t seem to help themselves despite all the problems they are causing for themselves and for their close friends and family, but also with having to deal with someone they previously trusted telling outright lies.

When you’re close to a situation like this, it can be incomprehensible. Why on earth would someone continue to lie to you when it’s obvious what they are doing, and when you’ve told them you know they are lying?

• A big part of this behaviour isn’t lying to you, it’s lying to themselves. The alcoholic doesn’t want to face their addiction or acknowledge where they are and what situation they’re in. They don’t want to tell themselves the hard truth that they can’t stop drinking, or that they’re homeless because they lost their job and their partner left them due to their addiction. It’s much more palatable to tell themselves that they can stop drinking whenever they like, and that they are leaving their old job to get something that’s much better. It’s denial and avoidance.

• An addict will also lie to enable and preserve their addiction. Again, in part, it’s lying to themselves about how they are making their loved ones feel and about their behaviour, but it’s also lying to their close friends and family to keep them in the dark and allow the drinking to continue.

• Alcoholics will also look to avoid arguments and confrontation. They’ll hide how much they drink, lie about their problems and their debts, and do their best to present a normal façade while they carry on drinking. Addicts don’t always have good coping skills in general, and avoiding confrontation means they don’t have to fully deal with their addiction.

Lying is only a part of the problem of addiction, and alcoholics need help to uncover the underlying problems that have caused their addiction so that they can move forward with their lives and live addiction free.

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