“Why are you wearing my shirt?” my sister hollered. “This is not your shirt,” I replied. She started yelling, “How can you lie to my face like that? And why would wear it to work? That’s an expensive shirt! All you had to do was ask me, and I would have loaned you something…”
I couldn’t hear her anymore. I was locked in my room getting high.
It starts with, “Get off my back. I can quit if I have to.” Soon it becomes second nature to lie, even when it is easier to tell the truth.
- Preservation – “I need this to to feel normal and to function, and other people don’t understand that, so I have to lie about it.” It is self preservation. If you are going to give me a hard time about it, I am going to lie to you.
- The Truth Hurts – Deep down inside, all addicts are ashamed of the predicament they are in. As addiction takes over your life, you become an unwelcome stranger to yourself and others. So you tell people what they want to hear, get their temporary approval, and for just a little while, you can’t see who you have really become.
- No Confrontation, Please! – The people who love you are usually relentless in their campaign to fix you. I got tired of defending myself and was worn out by my desperate need to be understood. It got to where I turned the situation around on them and got into an argument or I lied and kept it moving.
- It’s Called Denial, Baby – It was a lot easier to tell myself that my family and friends were the enemy than it was to admit that I was the one with the problem. Then I began to believe it. After all, if they loved me, they would understand that I don’t have a choice, that I need it.
- I Can Handle It – I go to work every day, I take care of my kids, and my house is clean. I am not like other addicts who are on welfare and their kids are running the streets. I lie to you so you think I am normal.
- It’s A Vicious Cycle – When I’m sober, I feel guilty for using. Then I use to forget about feeling guilty. So I lie to you by putting on a front of sobriety, because your disapproval will make me feel guilty again.
- You Let Me – My father always gave me money every time I asked for it. I churned out lie after lie about one hardship or another so we both felt better about it.
- My Brain Is On Drugs – What sounds like the biggest lie of all is painfully true. From the very first time we get high, we are causing our reasoning skills to deteriorate. Then the cravings take over whatever processes we have left, and we will lie to get high again.
What Can You Do
While you will never be able to force someone to own up and get clean, there are several ways you can keep it real and shine a little light on them:
- Avoid taking it personally and getting angry.
- Don’t ignore the lies by enabling them.
- Let them know when you catch them lying. Then offer them help to get clean.
- Make them feel safe enough to be honest with you.
By really seeing the truth and not being afraid to talk about it was what helped me to get clean and sober. It will help your loved one, too.