Alcoholism, like any other addiction, changes behavior. People who struggle with addiction have undergone changes in their brains that make rational decision-making more difficult. Common behavior changes that many people notice are lying, deception, and avoidance. This begs the question, why do alcoholics lie?
First, it’s important to remember not to reduce someone with an addiction to a singular trait like “liar” or “deceiver.” Their behavior may hurt you. You do not need to make excuses for their lies and the blame games they engage in. But you should understand why they do what they do to best support them. Learn more about alcohol addiction and our addiction therapy options at Recovery Ranch PA by calling 717.969.9126.
Why Do Alcoholics Lie and Blame Others?
For many people with alcoholism, lying is a defense mechanism. Why do alcoholics lie? The most straightforward answer might be to protect themselves. For them, lying and blaming others is the best way to avoid confrontation, save face, or sidestep consequences. But ultimately, this behavior avoids the complicated, necessary work required to recover.
To Avoid Problems
The first reason that alcoholics like is to avoid dealing with problems. Drinking may be a form of self-medication for them. They may not have healthy coping mechanisms to fall back on when things get tricky. Without drinking, they may fear the reality that remains and the problems that will be front and center. Stress and trauma may be at the root of this issue. Something you can do is try to help them understand their drinking behavior is not an effective coping mechanism.
To Preserve Their Addiction
The addicted brain often does irrational things because it believes protecting the addiction is necessary for survival. Prolonging the addiction could also be a way to avoid pain. They may, on some level, understand that they are hurting themselves and their loved ones with their behavior. In that case, preserving the addiction feels safer since it does not require them to confront their actions.
To Preserve a False Reality
Making and breaking promises or relying on a false reality is common among people who struggle with addiction. Sometimes, alcoholics believe they can stop drinking whenever they want, or they convince themselves they are in control of their behavior. These narratives preserve a false reality that gets in the way of healing or even beginning to address the problem.
To Avoid Confrontation
Being confrontation-averse is natural in many humans. This can become problematic when the avoidance leaves a substance abuse issue intact. Confrontation is often essential and can be a wake-up call. That’s where the “intervention” comes from. The lies your loved one repeats may be designed precisely to avoid confronting the issue, even if they know in their heart that something needs to change.
Breaking Through the Lies Alcoholics Tell
Breaking through the lies and getting them the help they need is possible. This starts with connecting your loved one to a trusted provider like Promise-Recovery Ranch PA. Our compassionate, empathetic, expert clinicians have decades of experience addressing the root causes of alcohol abuse. One way to help your loved one is to communicate the benefits of getting help through a professional treatment center. These include:
- Specialized, personalized care
- A safe, nonjudgmental environment
- The ability to work through root causes
- Support with developing healthy coping mechanisms
- Improved mental and physical health
The lies that alcoholics tell are ultimately a distraction from the actual problem—the alcohol use disorder. It can be frustrating to have your good-faith attempts to help rebuffed by lies, deflection, and avoidance. But your loved one can be helped.