Stephen King, famous author who has written 63 books (Carrie, The Shining, The Green Mile) in 35 years has admitted to spending most of the 80s on an extended drug and alcohol binge. He even admitted that his brain was so fogged with drugs and alcohol that he can barely remember the books that he wrote during those times.
However, he has survived his cocaine and alcohol ordeal to inspire many others. In a quote, he tells his take on how lying is so integral in an addict’s life based on his own experience and observations:
“Substance abusers lie about everything, and usually do an awesome job of it. I once knew a cokehead who convinced his girlfriend the smell of freebase was mold in the plastic shower curtain of their apartment’s bathroom. She believed him, he said, for five years (although he was probably lying about that, it was probably only three). A recovering alcoholic friend of mine reminisces about how he convinced his first wife that raccoons were stealing their home brew. When she discovered the truth, she divorced him. Go to one of those church-basement meetings where they drink coffee and talk about the Twelve Steps and you can hear similar stories on any night, and that’s why the founders of this group emphasized complete honesty — not just in ”420 of 432 pages,” …but in all of it: what happened, what changed, what it’s like now. Yeah, stewbums and stoners lie about the big stuff, like how much and how often, but they also lie about the small things. Mostly just to stay in practice. Ask an active alcoholic what time it is, and 9 times out of 10 he’ll lie to you. And if his girlfriend killed herself by slashing her wrists (always assuming there was a girlfriend), he may say she hung herself, instead. Why? Basically, to stay in training. It’s the Liar’s Disease.
“…if my own career as a drunk both active and sober has convinced me of anything, it’s convinced me of this: Addictive personalities do not prosper on their own. Without unvarnished, tough-love truth-telling from their own kind — the voices that say, ”You’re lying about that, Freckles” — the addict has a tendency to fall back into his old ways. And the chief old way (other than using, of course) is lying through one’s teeth.“
Addicts lie more often than they tell the truth–in fact, so much that they have become so convincing even to themselves. They may come up with excuses for their own actions and have become so used to it that they would lie when it comes to little things, even when it is just as easy to tell the truth.
The harsh reality is, addicts live a double life that not even their closest family, child, partner or friend would know about it for years. In order for this other life to go on, they lie to cover up their tracks. Here are some HONEST reasons, why addicts lie:
- Preservation. A foremost reason for lying is to preserve their addiction, to maintain their lifestyle without anyone weighing in on their drug use and the tolls this is taking on their life and that of the people around them. Addicts lie to keep people off their backs and so they can continue using.
- Escape. Addicts also lie to create another reality for them to escape to. In their need to cope with whatever life has dealt them, they turn to alcohol, substances, and many other forms of addiction to the point that the world they created has become the one that is real to them. In that world, their addiction is not a problem and in fact, everything is fine. The addict might say he has only been doing drugs three times a month and is not really addicted but in fact, he is using three times a day.
- Avoiding Confrontation. Addicts also lie to avoid having to deal with their loved ones who care about them or are wanting them to change or even get treatment. They do not want conflict, or are just telling other people whatever it takes just to avoid the disappointed, hurt looks from the people surrounding them. In fact, many addicts would even put the blame on someone else, like a parent or partner, to draw attention away from their substance problem.
- In Denial. Part of addiction is the denial that there’s nothing wrong with their addiction. “I’m fine”, “I’m not hurting anybody”, “I can control this”, I can stop whenever I want to” are some of the things addicts say to themselves and to others in order to protect their addiction, which has become their way of life. Addiction is a sly disease and will use rationalization, projection, intellectualization, and minimizing just to ensure its survival in an addict’s life.
- Shame. Addicts may feel the shame crashing down on them once the effects of the substances disappear and they are sober again. With this shame comes sadness and the only way to deal with this is to use drugs again.
- They Are Different. Addicts may also often believe that what they see in their addicted friends, or in television and the movies, will not happen to them. That they are different. They would even try to drive this point across by overcompensating, or by painting a picture of themselves that is far more flattering than what they really are. For example, they will say they have just been promoted when in fact they have just been fired. Another example is when one would keep up appearances of wealth when in fact he or she is neck-deep in debt.
This habit of lying to friends, family, and to the rest of the world is at times even indirectly supported by people who turn a blind eye to addicts’ worrisome behaviors, or early warning signs. Families, most of all, even ignore or are themselves in denial of the situation, letting the addict continue on with the lies.
And when these lies are ignored, the real problem of addiction is not being resolved.
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, please act now. Text or call us at