Addicts often have to “lie” their way around a lot of situations to get by. They perceive that most people would judge them instantly, based on their current situation and choices. One lie leads to another lie and then there is a web of lies that may become difficult to keep track of. It is quite typical that drug addiction comes hand in hand with immorality and other indulgences that would require lies to evade consequences.
Addicts who make promises to lay off the use of drugs lie to appear faithful to their promises or lie to deny the seriousness of their addiction. The truth often comes to the surface when the addict hits rock bottom.
The lies that an addict would tell you almost always revolve around their ability to do without drugs and that they have their lives under control. They would tell you that they are completely sober and haven’t used drugs for a long time. However, addiction is a mental illness that is sure to present with signs, and the secret never stays hidden for very long.
After the drug addict has undergone various treatments such as detox, counseling, group therapy, the 12-step program, and others, at a rehab facility and is reintegrated back into the regular everyday routines. Normalcy may not be automatic and there is usually a struggle to fit back into a life without drugs. There are so many physical and emotional challenges such as the occasional cravings, and the recovering addict may begin to see a lot of things as triggers and prompts to use drugs again.
Situations may arise where a recovering addict would have to tell a little white lie, paint a situation to look different, or deny the truth in order to look like they have it all together. Yes, recovering addicts still lie, and there are a lot of reasons for this.
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Reasons Why Recovering Addicts May Lie
- Every action comes with consequences. Recovering addicts made find themselves indulging in certain actions that they cannot talk about because there will be consequences
- Lying to cover up a lie is one of the most recurring lies that recovering addicts have to tell because once you introduce a lie, you would have to “storify” the lie this often leads to lying in the future to cover previous lies.
- Lying in itself is a habit that many drug addicts develop as a defense mechanism to hide the shame and pain that comes with drug addiction. Even when the person is in the recovery stage, a habit that has been around for a significant period of time becomes a part of the person. It may become an involuntary part of their lives.
What are the Possible Consequences of Lying as an Addict in Recovery?
A lie, no matter how trivial, may trigger certain feelings that are connected to the past life that the individual had already left behind. This may be unhealthy
Many individuals become stuck in the stage of recovery because they haven’t been completely honest with themselves and with others. The will to face the challenge of living a drug-free life may become too difficult to continue. So, these individuals may find themselves living in denial.
An addict in recovery who has built certain levels of trust with relatives, friends, and loved ones may stand the chance of destroying the existing trust by lying about their condition.
The 12 step program in drug rehab is a treatment program that requires patients to be completely honest and to communicate better about feelings and emotions. A dishonest individual who had completed the 12 step program clearly did not benefit from it.
Lying in recovery breeds guilt, which is a feeling that makes true recovery almost impossible. Complete honesty is required for the recovery process.
Lying comes with fear, when an individual in recovery finds themselves lying; there is always a fear of the truth coming to the surface. So this just means living in fear and restlessness.
How to Build Honesty During Recovery
Honesty is one of the essential characteristics of building a strong and lasting relationship. Breaking away from the habit of lying is usually a slow process but can be achieved with dedication. Here are a few ways an addict can build honesty in their relationships:
- Taking a personal inventory of one’s self is the first step to achieving honesty. When a recovering addict takes a deeper look into their daily interactions, they are able to spot the moments when they were dishonest. Taking self-inventory helps to improve consciousness and lessen dishonesty.
- Admitting to dishonesty is another equally important aspect of getting the facts right and improving the quality of one’s relationship. The 12 step program emphasizes the importance of honesty to one’s self and to others during recovery. It may be difficult to own up when a person has been dishonest, but when honesty becomes a habit it becomes easier and normal, to tell the truth.
- Some people have found that keeping a journal has helped them keep track of moments when they were dishonest or the particular areas of their lives that are affected by dishonesty and this allows them to quickly make amends by addressing the issue and coming clean.
- It is pertinent to understand that no lie is trivial. A lie is a lie, whether it hurts anyone or not. If a person gets comfortable with smaller lies, it is easy to develop to bigger ones that may affect the relationship one has with others. One must adopt the habit of being honest in very little situations. That way, it is likely to grow into a habit.
How to Get a Recovering Addict to be Honest
Sadly, a recovering addict may have to lie to get out of certain situations; however, we must look deeply into the reason why they had to lie. When a person lies, it is usually for two main reasons:
- To change the perception you have of them
- To make you feel better or comfortable around them
The painful aspect of lying is that when a recovering addict lies, it becomes difficult to help them. If they are going through a rough patch and really need assistance or support in some way, but are unable to trust you enough to tell you the truth then the situation would only deteriorate.
When it comes to the use of drugs or alcohol, a recovering addict may lie right to your face without flinching. This is because of your perception of their condition and the fact that they do not want to be seen as weak or a liability. It is often difficult to admit to the truth to a loved one, depending on the nature of the relationship. There are ways to get a recovering addict to be honest about their experience and feelings.
Ways to Get a Recovering Addict Honest
1. Get Your Own Emotions in Order
If the recovering addict has the slightest perception that your reaction to their honesty would be anger, blame, disappointment, sadness, accusation, devaluation, or any other emotion that may make them feel bad or make you feel worse, they would likely tell a lie.
2. Do not Judge
Many people judge others, sometimes consciously and other times unconsciously. If the addict senses judgment in your voice, tone, facial expression, and body language they would likely lie in subsequent occasions
3. Show Support
Sometimes a recovering addict may not be sure who to trust with their baggage and what they go through on a daily basis. If they are certain that you truly care and support them without judgment, they would easily share their honest feelings.