Lies Addicts/Alcoholics Tell Themselves: Debunked!

lies alcoholics tell themselves

A chief characteristic of someone in active addiction is lying. Many people who get sober describe how they were incapable of telling the truth, even when it would serve them better than the lie. These lies aided the person in being able to continue to operate in their addiction and get the things that they needed, and so to many lying becomes a survival mechanism that is not easily stamped out. However, for the alcoholic or the addict lying is not only manifest through the tales they tell other people but is also shown in their self-deception. This form of lying is perhaps the most difficult for an addict/alcoholic to overcome because it is formed in their mind, the same mind where their addiction resides. 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. It is almost as if the alcoholic/addict is given an archetypal playbook by which to draw their denial from. Each person will tell you in earnest why they believe certain things and these conclusions are usually drawn completely apart from outside influences, yet they mimic the same exact lies that an addict on the opposite side of the world is telling themselves. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the most common lies that people in active addiction tell themselves, and why these things are categorically untrue.

Lies That Addicts/Alcoholics Tell Themselves

Lie: I am not hurting anyone besides myself.

Truth: This is a great lie that many alcoholics and addicts tell themselves in order to quell the guilt they feel for their actions. On a certain level, many people in active addiction are aware that this is not true, but its prevalence as a thought can continue even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. The reality is that alcoholism and addiction greatly affect the people surrounding the addict. Addiction is even described sometimes as a family disease because the people closest to the addict, usually the family, are even made sick by their proximity. All that a person would have to do is look to the fact that 12 step programs such as Al-Anon exist, in order to debunk this myth that they tell themselves.

Lie: I can control my drinking or drugging.

Truth: If you are an alcoholic or an addict then this is completely false. Yet, it is the greatest lie that the addict or alcoholic tells themselves. The disease of addiction is one of the only diseases on this planet to convince those afflicted with it that they don’t have it. 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 and it is why the 1st step in every 12 step program is contingent on the acceptance of the fact that control over substance use has been lost. Only once the addict or alcoholic has accepted this fact can recovery begin.

Lie: I tried the 12 Steps and they don’t work for me.

Truth: While Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous both assert that they do not have a monopoly on recovery, there has been little to no evidence proving that there is a more effective way of getting and maintain sobriety. That being said a majority of the people who say they have tried the 12 Steps and that they didn’t work them have actually never really given them a try. Many people have done the first 3 steps and then stopped, which usually resulted in their relapse. Many others did a 4th and 5th step, but without the level of honesty necessary to have it take hold, and so they relapsed. Others worked all of the steps but stopped doing the things they needed to do and so they relapsed, and to the addicted 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 actions of the addict.

man staring and thinking

Lie: I am too terrible of a person. I am not worth saving.

Truth: This is probably the saddest 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. This, however, is not the case and every single person afflicted with addiction or alcoholism is worth saving. This idea stems from another lie that alcoholics and addicts tell themselves which is that they are bad people and not sick people. Many people with addiction are extremely intelligent and thoughtful people, but because of their addiction they act in ways contrary to their nature. Understanding that they are sick and not bad will help with these feelings of guilt and allow the person afflicted with the disease be open to receiving the help that they need.

Lie: I can’t go to treatment or everyone will find out about my addiction.

Truth: Chances are everyone already knows. As great as alcoholics and addicts are at hiding what they are really up to, majority of people already know but just never broach the subject with them. Also, even if people were completely unaware that they suffered from addiction, many people will not react unfavorably to learning this. Most people on this planet know someone who suffers from addiction, so they will understand what you are going through, and if anything, commend you on your want to change.

Stop Lying to Yourself and Seek Treatment Today

If the only thing keeping you from seeking the help that you need is self-deception then hopefully the above information helped to clear this up. You no longer need to lie to yourself, you are worthy of being saved, and you absolutely can make the necessary changes in your life. Call Coastal Detox today at 1-866-802-6848, our trained professionals are standing by to help you find the recovery you need.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.