Alcoholics and Lying

alcoholics and lying

If you have a loved one battling alcoholism, you are probably familiar with being lied to on a regular basis. It is a known fact that people who struggle with alcoholism lie. There are many reasons for this, most of which serve their main goal – to be left alone so they can drink. Learn more about alcoholics and lying, and the reasons for it.

Is Your Spouse a Functional Alcoholic?

It isn’t always obvious that someone is struggling with alcoholism. A functional alcoholic is simply a person who is able to consume large amounts of alcohol without displaying the usual traits of intoxication.

Someone who is a functional alcoholic often sails through their days without exposing their alcohol abuse. However, you may begin to notice little things that seem “off” and ask them about what you are witnessing. In most cases, the functional alcoholic will gaslight you and deny, deny, deny. This is a mechanism they employ to throw you off the scent and be able to continue their drinking.

Alcoholics and Pathological Lying

Alcoholics are very adept at lying, as it is a skill they must access often to be able to cling to their substance without disruption. The spouse of an alcoholic may first accept the lies, hoping that their partner is telling the truth. However, eventually it becomes clear that the alcoholic is lying about their alcohol misuse in order to protect their alcohol addiction.

It is very difficult to witness this change in a loved one’s character due to the disease of alcoholism taking hold of them. The alcoholic will lie to whomever it is that is challenging their drinking habit – coworkers, spouses, friends, and children.

Alcoholics rarely feel remorse or guilt about the lies they tell. To them, the lies justify the means, which is to keep drinking. They may also believe that by lying they are protecting the spouse from the upsetting truth, that they are married to an alcoholic.

6 Reasons Alcoholics Lie About their Drinking

An alcoholic lying about their drinking is quite common, and there are many reasons why they decide to tell lies. Here are some of those reasons:

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  1. To deflect. By denying that they have an alcohol use disorder, they are able to dodge and weave, and never own up. The lies are outright denial, and many times the alcoholic utilizes gaslighting. Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic that shifts the focus back on the other person. This keeps them off balance and questioning themselves.
  2. To escape the consequences. Owning up to a drinking problem means admitting they have become dependent or addicted to a substance. This not only makes them feel weak, but also makes them accountable for the damage they have inflicted on loved ones. By lying and denying, they avoid their problems.
  3. To avoid sobriety. Many alcoholics simply do not want to give up the drink. Alcohol is their go-to coping mechanism; to stop drinking is a terrifying thought. If they remain in denial about their drinking problem, they won’t have to consider going through detox or treatment.
  4. To protect their reputation. Someone with a drinking problem may go to great lengths to deny it because of the stigma attached to addiction. They may feel guilt and shame as it is, and want to avoid being judged harshly by others. They may also worry about their job or career should it become known they are an alcoholic.
  5. To save the relationship. Because the disease of alcoholism is so destructive to marriage and family, the person may lie about their drinking. They mostly want to avoid confrontation, so they lie. Their spouse may have issued an ultimatum and threatened to leave or rescind custody if they don’t stop drinking.
  6. To avoid admitting a relapse. The person may have gone through treatment and then relapsed, but doesn’t want to admit it. There may be a lot at stake for them that depends on their continued sobriety. So, if they have relapsed, they will lie to avoid judgment.

Support for Family Members of Alcoholics

As anyone living with an alcoholic will attest, the disease has a profound impact on the very fabric of the family. When a family member is engaged in alcohol abuse, the disease affects every person in the household. As stress levels rise, mental health is impacted as well.

Sometimes a family falls into dysfunctional coping methods, thinking it is helping the alcoholic loved one. It is very common to start enabling the alcoholic by cleaning up all their messes or covering for them. Enabling, though, only keeps them comfortable in their alcohol addiction.

There are groups that serve families of alcoholics, helping them to identify these unhealthy coping techniques. These support groups offer fellowship and useful information to help family members navigate life with an alcoholic. Some groups to check out include:

  • Al-anon
  • SMART Recovery Family and Friends
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA)
  • Codependents Anonymous

Family members are also wise to invest in their own wellbeing. This means making an effort to stay healthy and fit, to get enough sleep, and to stay connected to friends. By taking care of yourself you are better able to offer your support when your alcoholic loved one enters recovery.

Help for the Alcoholic

Eventually your alcoholic loved one will tire of lying and being in denial about their drinking problem. They come to realize their pathological lying no longer serves them and only keeps them stuck in addiction.

When this day arrives it is cause for celebration. Guide them to a comprehensive treatment program where they can begin their recovery journey. To overcome the substance use disorder they will participate in the following:

  1. Detox and withdrawal. Alcohol detox takes place in a safe, closely monitored setting. Withdrawal symptoms are treated as they arise, and detox takes about one week.
  2. Psychotherapy. There are multiple types of therapy that can help them make meaningful changes in dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors.
  3. Education. They will learn about the science of addiction, and how to avoid a relapse. They will acquire new coping skills to access in recovery.
  4. 12-Step program. The themes of A.A.’s 12-Step program are integrated into the treatment plan.

Annandale Behavioral Health Alcohol Recovery Center

Annandale Behavioral Health is a leading residential treatment center for those who struggle with alcohol use disorder. If you have experienced alcoholics and lying firsthand, you are probably seeking answers. Please reach out today to learn more about our program at (855) 778-8668