Addiction and denial go hand-in-hand. When addicts refuse to believe that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol, they’re able to come up with excuses to continue their dangerous habit. Self-deception adds fuel to the ever-burning fires of alcohol abuse and drug addiction.
Not only do addicts lie to themselves; they also lie to their friends and family members. As an outsider, it can be hard to understand how your loved one can rationalize his or her behavior. The fact is that addicts make their own reality, even if it’s full of deception. Drug addicts lie and manipulate to maintain their own false perception. In turn, they’re unwilling to seek help for themselves.
If someone you know suffers from drug addiction, here are 10 lies you’ll want to be prepared for.
1. “I’m not an addict.”
One of the most common lies you’ll hear from any addict is that they are, in fact, not an addict at all. Reality can be a tough pill to swallow. It’s hard for an addict to realize that he/she is headed down the path of alcoholism or drug addiction. Addicts rarely come to grips with the true reality until they’re deep in the darkness of addiction and abuse.
2. “I can quit anytime.”
Addicts battle with a losing power struggle. They like to believe that their addiction doesn’t rule their entire being. By thinking that they can stop at any time, they live in a false mindset that they have their abuse and addiction under control. By maintaining this self-centered attitude, addicts are likely to feel special. This causes an over-inflated ego, which makes recovery that much harder.
What many don’t realize is that quitting often requires time spent in rehab.
3. “My addiction doesn’t impact anyone else.”
It’s much easier to deny that you’re hurting those around you than to fess up to the reality of the situation. They are well aware of the pain and suffering that their actions cause those around them. Despite heartfelt concern and worry from their loved ones, an addict will internalize the concern as attempted control. In turn, they may see you as an enemy rather than someone trying to help.
4. “I don’t/won’t use that often.”
In the beginning, many believe that they can use only on the weekends or once in a while. While some may be successful in sparingly using, eventually abusive and excessive use becomes a reality. As time passes, they become dependent on the drug.
5. “I need alcohol/drugs to self-medicate.”
The idea that using drugs or alcohol is a form of self-medication allows addicts to further justify their actions. Common self-medicating excuses include:
- “Drugs give me energy.”
- “They help me relax.”
- “I need them to overcome problems in my life.”
What they don’t realize is that a plan for recovery, such as attending drug rehab and undergoing an alcohol detox, can help with many life problems.
6. “I’m not like other addicts/abusers.”
As humans, we all compare ourselves to others, but addicts take it to an entirely new level. They will compare themselves to those who are much worse off (at least in their minds), to excuse their own behaviors. One of the biggest lies that alcoholics tell is that their drinking isn’t as bad as that person who got a DUI/DWI. Comparing themselves makes them feel superior and undermines the true danger of their addiction.
7. “I’m just enjoying life.”
Many of them get into the living-for-the-moment mindset. The idea that life is going to end someday is true, but that doesn’t excuse risky behavior. While we all want to make the best of our days, most of us are well aware that spending hours high or drunk isn’t an ideal way to live. For an addict, drug use or excessive drinking is a thrill that can’t be found anywhere else.
8. “Treatment sucks/isn’t for me.”
They are unaware of the healing power that can come from recovery support groups. Mention AA or NA to an addict, and you’re likely to hear all sorts of negativity. They aren’t interested in these groups because they fear that they will control their lives, especially when it comes to their addiction.
9. “I can handle it.”
Many addicts truthfully believe that they can deal with abuse and addictive behaviors on their own, but what addicts aren’t ready to handle are the side effects of drug use. Rarely are they prepared for painful alcohol withdrawal symptoms or drug rehab. They turn a blind eye to the dangers of their habits for the sake of a temporary high.
10. “I can’t get better.”
Self-defeating thoughts are common for them. With relapse rates between 40 and 60 percent, it’s no surprise that most addicts have tried to quit but eventually failed. Others believe that hitting rock bottom is the only way for them to achieve a sober lifestyle.
What Can You Do?
More often than not, addict behaviors and relationships don’t mesh. Your loved one’s actions will cause all sorts of tension and stress, which can break the bond you once had. You’re likely to be frustrated and angry, but also sad and hurt. You want the best for your loved one, but don’t know how to continue with the relationship. Maybe you’ve mentioned rehab in the past but were met with anger and hostility.
Knowing how to tell when a drug addict is lying is the first step toward better understanding your loved one. Unless you’ve been engulfed by addiction or drug abuse, it’s hard to understand why an addict thinks or acts the way they do. It’s obvious when an addict is lying, but the only way to stop this behavior is to seek help.
When dealing with an addict, there are certain things you can do to lessen the strain.
Avoid Being an Enabler
When you know that your loved one is lying to you, don’t turn a blind eye or pretend to believe them. This only further encourages them to be deceptive and to sink deeper into addiction. Be brave and tell your loved one that you know they’re lying. Once the lies stop working, they may be more willing to be honest and seek help.
Don’t Take It Personally
Knowing that someone is outright lying to you is difficult to accept. It’s painful, and it can make you feel as if your loved one doesn’t care about or respect you anymore. Just remember that an addict lies to benefit themselves, not to hurt you. Avoid getting upset and lashing out at addicts, even though their actions do hurt.
One of the best things you can do is to be supportive. Shaming your loved one will only fuel their addictive behaviors. Create an environment where they feel loved and supported. Help build their confidence and encourage them that treatment is a viable option. Remind them how good life was before addiction, as this can help fill the void where addiction now lies.
Addiction Is a Disease
As a friend, understand the fact that addiction is a recognized disease that millions of people suffer from. Unless you’ve been an addict, you’ve never worn those shoes. To best help your loved one:
- Avoid making them feel shameful or guilty.
- Don’t compare them to anyone else.
- Avoid confrontation.
- Seek professional help.
The fact is that each year, millions of addicts seek treatment for addiction and abuse. Breaking free from the chains of addiction takes time and a lot of support. Anyone can achieve a sober lifestyle, but it starts with a helping hand.
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