Truth Versus Lies: Alcoholics and Addiction
One common characteristic that all people who are actively feeding their alcohol addiction share is the act of lying. Many alcoholics who had put in the work during rehab to achieve sobriety reflect on a time when addiction not only took over their lives but made them incapable of telling the truth. So much so that even when the truth would benefit them exponentially for any reason, their alcoholism took the wheel, and they would tell a lie just for the sake of it.
Lying became a habit, or even an addiction all of its own. For an alcoholic, telling a lie has now become just as much of a problem, if not more so, than the alcohol itself. Alcoholics in recovery have explained how these lies would help them be able to continue to feed their addiction. In order to continue stoking the fire of alcohol abuse and to get the things that they needed, lying becomes the survival mechanism of their addiction that is not easily stamped out. Just like an alcoholic must learn the lessons and techniques during rehab to take back control over their addictions, an addict must also address the behavior of bending the truth in order to heal and find recovery.
Lying to Yourself
For an alcoholic or addict, lying isn’t only something that is done when trying to hide something from other people. A person that is addicted to drugs or alcohol is usually lying to themselves as well. Through denial and self-deception, an alcoholic may even have themselves convinced that there is no issue. Often times, we have all thought that “we have this under control” or that “my drinking isn’t bad enough to consider myself an alcoholic.” These internal conversations often happen to addicts and alcoholics, and they are lies. Lies that we tell ourselves when we so desperately want to be okay. We deny the very real fact that we are addicted, and that we need help to get back on our feet. Lying to ourselves not only prevents us from getting the treatment that we so desperately need, but also allows us to continue along our very dangerous road. This dark path filled with our own lies drags us farther and farther away from reality. 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.
Lies are Deceiving
An alcoholic may not even be fully aware of their own self-deception. This form of lying is perhaps the most difficult for an addict/alcoholic to overcome because it is formed in their very own mind.
Addiction/alcoholism is a disease that wants to take over and grow. To preserve itself, the addicted mind will often make up excuses in order to justify alcoholic/addict behaviors. This makes being able to differentiate between the true and the false an almost impossible feat, especially while the addict or alcoholic is in active addiction.
The most interesting part about the self-deception attributed to an addict or alcoholic is that regardless of gender, ethnicity, or age, the lies are essentially the same. If you took two very different people that had never met each other, for example. 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. Each of these people will tell you earnestly why they believe certain things about their substance abuse and dependency. These new identical conclusions are drawn completely apart from outside influences and ethnicities, yet they mimic the same exact lies that an addict on the opposite side of the world is telling themselves.
Common Lies Told by Addicts/Alcoholics and Facing the Truth
In order to take our lives back from alcoholism or drug addiction, we must examine and understand the most common lies that people in active addiction tell themselves. Lying is an especially important behavior to identify as part of rehabilitation in order to move forward. For addicts and alcoholics, the journey of rehab toward recovery and wellness means accepting that the things we say and believe to ourselves and to others about using alcohol and/or drugs, are in fact, lies.
Lie #1: The only one that I am hurting is myself.
This is a great lie that many alcoholics and addicts tell themselves in order to suppress the guilt they feel for their actions. On a certain level, many people in active addiction are typically aware that this is not true. However, the prevalence of this statement or personal thought continues even in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary. It can be easier to believe that your alcoholism or drug addiction belongs only to you. The shame you escape by believing that you are in this alone makes this lie the hardest to accept.
So here is the truth. Alcoholism and addiction greatly affect everyone surrounding the addict. Behaviors and actions do not go unnoticed, and for the most part, anyone close enough to you knows that you know that you are lying to yourself. In reality, everyone that cares for you (whether you believe it or not) is going through this with you. Another truth is, it’s not only being an alcoholic and/or drug addict that’s hurting them the most. By believing this lie that your alcoholic/addict mind came up with, you are discrediting the feelings and emotions of those that are watching you slowly destroy yourself.
By continuing to push others away when they offer to help you get the rehab treatment that you need, you are making them feel as if their feelings do not matter.
Alcoholism is often described as a family disease. In fact, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon exist to help the families and friends of those that are suffering from alcoholism and addiction. They exist because the people that are the closest to an alcoholic or addict, usually being the family, are hurting too. The lack of concern for what an alcoholic/addict is doing to themselves and their loved ones is enough to tear a family apart.
Lie # 2: I am in control of how much I drink, and what drugs I decide to do.
This particular lie is usually followed up by insisting that we alcoholics or addicts can stop anytime we want. Telling ourselves that we have total control over our lives and that we chose to take part in these behaviors as only a social experience, or even just to manage our stress. And even though we continue to tell ourselves and others that we’ve got it covered, we know that we have tried to walk away from our addiction before, and fell back almost immediately, or are afraid to do so. Maybe we’ve made it a day, or even a week without giving in to the craving, but then ended up hooked once again. In fact, this exact lie is the one where we find ourselves in complete denial and believing our own lies to avoid the truth.
The truth is, if you are an alcoholic or an addict, saying that you have this totally under control, is completely false. Yet still, it is the greatest lie that every addict or alcoholic tells themselves. The disease of addiction is an uphill battle, to begin with, and without facing our own denial, it will be even more challenging to overcome the temptations ahead. Our alcoholism and addiction are able to convince those of us afflicted with abuse and dependency, that we are completely fine, and do not need help.
The denial of the illness has resulted in the continued suffering and death of many people. Overcoming this lie is usually an extremely difficult task, as admitting to the truth after so long usually is. This is why the very first goal in every 12 step program relies on the acceptance of the fact that control over substance use has been lost. Only once the addict or alcoholic has accepted this, then recovery can begin.
Lie #3: I have tried the 12 Steps, and they don’t work for me.
This lie usually comes into play in one of these two instances. First, when we are face to face with relapse. And secondly, when we would rather lie than to face facts and dedicate ourselves to a life-changing program.
In the age of technology and mechanical things, it is not uncommon to find that sometimes, things just don’t work the way they are supposed to anymore and that we are in need of an upgrade. We’ve adjusted to the idea that we can always just go out and get a new gadget, or a different version of anything, instead of trying to build something or even invest in fixing it ourselves. When we’ve done the work in rehab and came out on the other end, our sobriety was sparkly and new. For however long we were able to maintain and take care of our new lease on life, at some point, we are all faced with the temptation of relapse. It is easier to lie to ourselves and shift the blame to anything else, including the 12 step program, to avoid the shame of what we deem as a failure. It is easier for us as alcoholics and addicts to say that the program doesn’t work for us than to admit that it was us that didn’t put the work into it.
But here is the very real truth. Relapse isn’t a failure, and rehabilitation toward recovery takes patience and dedication, and it is so worth it. The programs can work for you; the steps do make a difference when taken seriously. However, just like with anything, you will only get out as much as you put in. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, both make it a point to mention that there are many other programs available to assist in rehabilitation and recovery and that they are just one option. However, there are many alcoholics/addicts that have achieved and maintained their sobriety with the availability of these organizations.
That being said, a majority of alcoholics and addicts after detox, say they have tried the 12 Steps and then said that they didn’t work, have actually never really given them a try. Lying about not finishing the program is the number one reason alcoholics and addicts cling to this as an excuse. Many people have done the first three steps and then stopped, which usually resulted in their relapse. Many others did a 4th and 5th step but disregarded the level of honesty that is necessary to have it take hold, once again leading to relapse. Others worked all of the steps, but stopped doing the things they needed to do; they stopped putting in the work, there was no real dedication. Then, relapse.
To the alcoholic mind, these things can be taken as a sign that the 12 steps do not work. But the reality is that this is not a reflection of the steps, but of the inaction of the addict and the lie that covers it up.
Lie #4: I am too terrible of a person. I am not worth saving.
We get down on ourselves. Everyone does, alcoholics and non alcoholics alike. We have all done things that we regret and wish we could take back. We lie to ourselves about our own self worth to avoid having to come to terms with facing and forgiving ourselves. Alcohol abuse and drug addiction wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. In many cases, alcoholics and addicts knowingly or unknowingly suffer from depression and anxiety due to the chemical imbalances in our brains caused by the substances we abuse. When we are suffering from these psychological illnesses, including addiction, we can end up with warped ideas about our self-worth.
This is probably the most heartbreaking lie that the alcoholic or addict tells themselves, and many people in active addiction believe this. There is so much guilt, and shame that comes with being a drug addict or alcoholic, and that shame can be overwhelming. After years of hurting others and themselves, many believe they are beyond saving and that they are just going to die addicted. Please know in your heart that this is not the case.
The very honest truth of the matter is, every single person that is afflicted with addiction or is an alcoholic is worth saving; Every person, everywhere, addicted to anything. This idea, unfortunately, stems from another lie that alcoholics and addicts tell themselves which is that they are bad people when in reality, we are sick people. Alcoholism and addiction is a disease. Many people with an addiction are extremely intelligent and thoughtful people, but because of their addiction to alcohol or otherwise, they act in ways contrary to their nature. By understanding that they are sick, not bad or unworthy, will help with these feelings of guilt.
Those that have joined our rehab treatment program and began their journey after detox, uncovered the truth about the lies they’ve been telling themselves. During the 14 days of residential treatment, alcoholics and addicts have the opportunity to learn about their disease and open up to receiving the help that they need.
Lie #5: I can’t go to treatment or everyone will find out about my addiction.
This one is more denial than a lie. And to tell the honest truth, it is usually very obvious, at least to the people that know you well, that you suffer from alcoholism or addiction, so the only person you are lying to at this point is yourself. It is a harsh reality, but a reality nonetheless.
However, even if people were completely unaware that you suffered from addiction, many people will not react unfavorably to learning this. Most people on this planet know someone who is an alcoholic or has other addictions, so they will understand what you are going through. If anything, many will commend you on your newfound dedication and desire to make a positive change. There is a stigma that tends to surround alcoholism and addiction. However, in more recent years, rehabs and treatment programs are becoming more and more popular options, thanks to making suffering addicts feel more comfortable to reach out and get the help they need.
There are, however, many other options available, if anonymity is of your top concern. Many rehabs offer executive rehab programs that provide you with privacy while administering the best rehabilitation and treatment care to help you overcome addiction. In the long run, though working past addiction with the best tools and skills for success is the most important. For alcoholics, doing so in a safe and private environment works just as well. We respect your desire to keep your treatment and recovery on a more personal level and have access to the best treatment options to help you take your life back from alcohol or substance abuse.
No Excuses Left: Lying To Yourself or Getting Treatment Today
There are many things that we, as alcoholics and addicts, will say to avoid facing the reality of our substance abuse. And whether we are lying to ourselves or to others about why we allow this behavior to continue, there is no escaping the reality that alcoholism and drug addiction can and will kill you if left untreated. Like any other illness, getting the best professional care, with specialized treatment and an optimal recovery management plan, is the best course of action.
Additionally, if the only things preventing you from getting the help that you need are fear and lack of your own personal self-worth, please be assured that you are not the only one. You don’t have to go on lying to yourself about your alcoholism and/or addiction, and you most definitely don’t have to go at it alone. You are worthy; we all are. At Coastal Detox, we know that you absolutely can make the necessary changes in your life. Be ready to start today by calling 1-877-978-3125, where you will be greeted by our trained professionals who are standing by to help you find the recovery you need. There is no longer a need to lie, as the journey toward a healthy and sober life in recovery could start as soon as today.