Lying Denial Stigma And Shame Keep Addicts From Being Honest
There’s an old AA saying that goes You can tell when an addict is lying because their lips are moving. Unfortunately, lying is the loyal ride-along to addiction. As a six-time rehab-veteran, an everything-fiend, an addiction columnist for TheFix.com, and author of my debut addiction memoir My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Cleanwell, I should know. So here are six things an addict will never tell you.
1. If theyre high right now
Potheads will be all Im soooooo stoned or drunks will be like Whoa, am I drunk! But users of hard drugs like coke, meth or heroin, will deny that theyre loaded till the day they die. If they nod off, its because they pulled another all-nighter at work. If they seem speedy, theyll just wave it off to too many Nitro cold brews or to being hypo-manic. If their nose is dripping, well, theyve got a cold, allergies, or both.
2. How often theyre using
Oh, just on the weekends, you know, at parties and stuff. Translation: I open my eyes and crack open a beer and then do a rail of coke off my bedside table. However much they say theyre drinking or using, double or even triple it.
3. What theyre really using
4. Any bad repercussions from their use
Youre not going to hear that they got fired for being blasted on the job. That car wreck was because This guy cut me off. Theyre not going to tell you they got suspended from school for smelling like a weed dispensary. Theyre not going to confess that they got a DUI.
I Dont Have An Addiction
Addicts excuse their behavior with the phrase, I dont have an addiction. They may say, Well, I just like drinking or, I only take things occasionally. These phrases are rationalizations for the fact that they cant stop when they want to and that they feel compelled to continue abusing substances despite the negative consequences to their health, well-being, and relationships.
Acknowledging you have an addiction is the first step on the road to recovery. It may also be the most difficult. It opens the door to the possibility that your behavior is irrational, destructive, and dangerous. Many people take a long time to reach the conclusion that they have an addiction. They may deny it until theyre in the hospital with liver failure or in jail from a DUI. It can be the hardest thing to say, but its also the best thing to voice since it is the first step to get help.
Understanding Cravings Helps Explain Why Addicts
To understand cravings is to understand some of the new brain science, namely that the brain controls everything we think, feel, say and do through neurons talking to one another in the brain and to and from others throughout the body via the nervous system.
Much of this science is the result of research of the past 10-15-20 years, which is the result of advances in imaging technologies that allow scientists and medical professionals to study the live human brain in action and over time, under the influence, with mental illness, after treatment, during its developmental stages and so much more. In the case of addiction, this research is explaining how / why addiction changes the way the brain works and the power of cravings.
Cravings are what tell a persons brain this is critical to your survival so you must do it. They are one of the four characteristics of this brain disorder . The other three are loss of control, physical dependence and tolerance.
The important take away is for the recovering addict | alcoholic to understand that a craving is not a command its a craving. It can be managed as was highlighted in the section, 5 Things to Do About Craving in the Addiction Documentary linked above. Equally important is to understand the brain can change.
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What Can You Do
If youre worried that someone you love may be at risk of substance abuse, there are a number of things you can do to try and deter drug abuse in your own home.
Deadly addiction often starts with medications pilfered from the home medicine cabinet. Lock up your prescription medications, and dispose of any medications that are not currently needed.
Have frank and repeated discussions with your teens about the dangers and highly addictive nature of prescription pills. Many teens mistakenly think a prescription pill is less dangerous than an illegal drug.
If you suspect that your teen/ family member has already traveled the road from drug abuse to drug addiction, seek the support and professional treatment that your family will need to survive. Youre not alone.
Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA Hotline 1-800-662-HELP for free, confidential, 24/7 treatment referral and information for individuals and families facing substance abuse disorders.
Note: this post has been updated for 2020 with more horrifying addiction behaviors and recommendations from an addiction specialist.
They Are Trying To Preserve Their Addiction
Drugs and alcohol are physically and mentally addictive. People who suffer from addiction need the substance they are addicted to in order to avoid getting physical withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings. Over time, people come to rely on substances just to feel normal. As a result, addicts will go to any lengths necessary to continue their addictionincluding lying.
Eventually, lying becomes an act of self-preservation. Your addicted loved one may feel as though they cant survive without their drug of choice, and if that means they have to lie to use that drug, they will.
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Dont Take It Personally
We understand that this is much easier said than done. Being lied to is an offensive experience with an astonishing amount of layers.
When we are lied to, we feel disrespected, disappointed, affronted at not being trusted, worried that something in our behaviour is causing our loved one to lie to us the list goes on.
However, addicts very rarely lie with malicious intent. Their lies are not designed to hurt your feelings or to punish you for something they feel you might have done they are in fact completely disconnected from you.
Lies are a symptom of addiction. This does not make lying okay however, keeping this in mind can reduce the negative emotional impact.
Life Without Addiction Can Seem Like A Void
For someone with an addiction, life can often revolve around their addictive behavior. Although they plan to quit one day, for today, life without their addiction seems frighteningly empty. If you dont understand how this emptiness drives people back into their addictive behavior, they will tune in to that, and lie to shut you up.
Mention in a kind and positive way what you would like to see happening instead of the addictive behavior, preferably before the addictive behavior becomes part of your routine.
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Once The Person Is In Rehab Dont Believe Everything You Hear
When you get calls from the person in rehab, listen to them when they talk about the rehabilitation facility but take their initial complaints with a grain of salt. Drugs are a powerful master and exert an overwhelming level of control over people, especially after they first arrive in rehab. The drive to get out of rehab and get more drugs will overpower many peoples desire to get sober. This is why some people try to smuggle drugs into a rehab or why they will find vital reasons why they must go home for a few days.
Its unfortunate that some people in recovery are so driven to return to drug abuse that they will invent stories of upset, harm or danger, just to get families to come get them. Of course, you must pay attention to what they say, just in case there is some mismanagement at a facility. It is wise to build a personal relationship with someone in the center you feel you can have confidence in, just for this situation.
If you have done your homework in the beginning, you have chosen a facility you have confidence in and perhaps you have even talked to other parents of graduates from that program. When you are using your judgment in this matter, realize that the real enemy is drugs, and it may be the urge to use drugs again that is motivating the upsetting call you are having to deal with.
What Help Is There For The Addict
An addicted person may not always realize that they are manipulating you or understand why their behavior is unacceptable. This may be due to the physical and psychological effects of the drugs. However, in many instances, manipulative behavior is also a product of complex life experiences or trauma, resulting in an inability to communicate effectively, deal with stress, or establish healthy relationships.
For these reasons, many drug detox and rehab centers provide trauma-informed addiction treatment that addresses the social, psychological, and behavioral aspects of addiction. Although quitting cold turkey may help the person overcome their physical dependence on a drug, it wont address any of the behavioral and cognitive problems associated with addiction.
Medical drug detox is often recommended for people with severe addictions,4 as it provides round-the-clock observation and medication-assisted treatment for the most comfortable and safe detox experience. Once the person has completed the withdrawal process, begins to heal physically, and has a clear mind, he or she may choose to continue addiction treatment at a rehab center, where therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR therapy can be used to chip away at the trauma and behavioral problems that have contributed to the addiction.
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Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
The 20 Lies Addicts Tell Themselves
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Taking Care Of Yourself By Finding Balance
You will likely come to realize that you cant control what an addict does or understand why addicts lie. What you can control is how you react. This includes taking care of yourself.
The addict has made his or her choices. Now its time for you to make yours. There are ways to support someone with an addiction, but you must make it a goal to take care of yourself in the process.
Theres a path of recovery for non-addicts, but its not easy. You may find it incredibly hard to let go of old habits and to relearn healthy ones. In your mind, it may seem like youre abandoning someone you love.
But youre not. Enabling an addict by lying for them or being constantly lied to is not healthy.
How To Recognize The Manipulation Of A Drug Addict
Anyone who has a close friend or relative that has struggled with a substance use disorder knows all too well about the manipulative ways of a person who is controlled by their addiction. These behaviors cause extreme heartache and pain and they even have the power to break up families and end marriages.
Amid a relationship that has been damaged by addiction, its not always easy to identify manipulative behaviors, let alone how to respond in a healthy way. However, if you can take a step back and peel back the filter from your eyes, you might just see that your loved one is manipulating you into fueling his or her addiction.
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How Can You Tell Your Loved One Is Lying To You
Non-verbal cues come from body language, usually in the form of fidgeting, not being able to look someone in the eye, or covering the mouth or eyes. Swallowing or clearing the throat before talking are also cues that the loved one may be about to lie. Because lying triggers the autonomic nervous system the blood gets drained from the ears, face and extremities any hand-to-face movement hand-to-hand movement or grooming, such as putting hair behind the earall these are good indicators of lying.
A person who pauses or hesitates before answering a question may be lying. Talking around the question or not having a clear narrative are also indicative of a lie. Leaving out details or vague answers are other signals of possible lies. But the best way to tell if a loved one may be lying is to rely on ones gut instinct.
Excuse #5 I Dont Care About My Life And I Dont Care If My Addiction Kills Me
One of the lowest points an addict can get to is the one where life becomes meaningless. They are so consumed with pain and grief that the depression seems to justify the rampant substance abuse. This is a vicious cycle: the more they use, the worse they feel. When theres no joy or pleasure left in life, theres no reason to seek out recovery.
In reality, abusing drugs/alcohol is the largest hurdle that holds them back from leading a productive and meaningful existence. Once clean and sober, theyre able to focus and start enjoying life again. Theyre also able to embrace the love and support of family, get back to the friends who truly love them, and lead the authentic, meaningful life theyve missed out on for so long.
If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol or drug abuse, help is available. Start by learning more about the signs and symptoms of addiction.
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Is Pathological Lying A Sign Of Addiction
If youve ever had friends or loved ones that struggled with addiction, youve probably been the recipient of their lies from time to time. Its not uncommon for those struggling with addictive behaviors to lie to themselves and others about their drinking or drugging habits. In fact, addiction experts believe lying is actually goes hand in hand with addiction.
If you have a loved one thats struggling with lying and/or addiction, its likely you have some concerns and questions. This article will help you come to know more about pathological liar symptoms and addiction and how you can content with either.
Matrix Intensive Outpatient Treatment For People With Stimulant Use Disorders: Counselor’s Family Education Manual W/cd
This comprehensive kit provides substance use disorder treatment professionals with a year-long intensive outpatient treatment model. Professionals can use this model when treating clients who are dependent on stimulant drugs, such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Access family education sessions and handouts.
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Trapped In An Unhealthy Cycle Of Lying
The lack of trust that stems from loved ones struggling with addiction can destroy relationships. When addicts lie and use abuse tactics, friends and family are often left feeling battered. Those closest may find themselves:
- internalizing how the addict feels and behaves
- wondering what they could have done differently or better
- suffering from more serious emotional consequences like depression and anxiety
If you are a loved one of a drug addict and or alcoholic, you may find yourself not only trying to understand why addicts lie. You may also discover that youre conditioned to lie as well. You might find yourself lying to your children or other family and friends in order to protect the addict. Have you ever caught yourself explained away odd or questionable behaviors of the addict? That is enabling an addict, which only intensifies a pattern of destructive behaviors.
The Truth About Lying: Do Dishonesty And Addiction Go Hand
The editorial staff of Rehabs.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
This has to be my least favorite joke:
How do you know when an addict is lying?
Its when his/her lips are moving.
Along similar lines, at an outpatient clinic I visited while doing research for Inside Rehab, an addiction counselor facetiously said to a roomful of clients, The one thing we know about alcoholics and addicts is that youre always one hundred percent honest.
In a conversation with me, even a nationally known expert included the following in his definition of an addicted person: Theyre all liars.
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