Why Do Alcoholics Lie? Common Reasons for Lying About Drinking
Last Updated: November 3, 2023
Individuals addicted to alcohol may lie about their drinking for a variety of reasons. Helping them seek addiction treatment can lead to lasting recovery.
Article at a Glance
- Denial is a common coping mechanism for those dealing with addiction, leading to lies about the extent of their drinking.
- To avoid conflict and maintain peace, individuals may lie about their drinking habits.
- Lying can perpetuate the addiction and isolate the person from potential support systems.
- The stigma associated with alcoholism can lead individuals to lie to protect their reputation and avoid negative perceptions.
- People may lie to avoid the consequences of their actions, such as legal issues, job loss or damaged relationships.
- In some cases, individuals may lie to obtain money for more alcohol.
- Shifting blame onto others is another form of lying that allows individuals to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
- After a period of sobriety, a person may lie to hide a relapse, preventing them from getting the support they need.
- If a loved one is suspected of lying about their drinking, it’s essential to approach the situation with compassion and encourage them to seek help.
Understanding why people who struggle with alcoholism often lie about their drinking can be challenging. Often, this is to protect the fact that they have an addiction to alcohol or to hide the severity of it. It’s important to remember that each person’s journey with alcoholism is unique. However, some common reasons can help explain this behavior.
Lying About Alcohol Misuse
People who struggle with alcoholism often lie about the extent of their drinking. They may understate the amount they consume or deny drinking altogether. This is usually an attempt to hide the severity of the addiction from others. It’s also a way for them to convince themselves that their drinking is under control.
Research shows that denial is a common coping mechanism for people dealing with alcohol addiction. It allows them to avoid confronting the reality of their situation. This denial can make it difficult for them to seek help or acknowledge the need for change.
Lying To Avoid Arguments
Another reason people lie about their drinking is to avoid conflict. They may fear that admitting to their alcohol misuse will lead to arguments with loved ones. By lying, they hope to maintain peace and avoid uncomfortable conversations.
This avoidance can create a cycle of dishonesty. The person may feel guilty for lying, leading to more drinking. This, in turn, leads to more lies to cover up their increased alcohol consumption.
Lying To Keep Their Addiction Going
People who struggle with alcoholism may lie to continue their drinking habits. They may fear that if others knew the extent of their drinking, they would be encouraged to stop. Lying allows them to maintain their current lifestyle without interference.
This behavior can be particularly harmful. It not only perpetuates the addiction but also isolates the person from those who could provide support.
Lying Because Alcoholism Is Stigmatized
The stigma associated with alcoholism can lead people to lie about their drinking. They may fear judgment or rejection from others if their struggle becomes known. By lying, they hope to protect their reputation and avoid negative perceptions.
Society often views alcoholism as a moral failing rather than a disease. This stigma can make it difficult for people to admit to their addiction and seek help.
Lying To Dodge the Consequences
People who struggle with alcoholism may lie to avoid the consequences of their actions. This could include legal issues, job loss or damaged relationships. By lying, they hope to prevent these outcomes and maintain their current situation.
However, this avoidance of consequences can exacerbate the problem. It can delay the person’s realization of how much drinking has impacted their life and the lives of those around them.
Lying To Get Money
In some cases, people may lie to obtain money for alcohol. They may make up stories or manipulate others to get the funds they need. This behavior can strain relationships and lead to financial difficulties.
This type of lying is often a sign of a severe problem. It indicates that the person’s need for alcohol has become a driving force in their life.
Lying To Blame Others
Sometimes, people who struggle with alcoholism may lie to shift blame onto others. They may deny responsibility for their actions or accuse someone else of causing their drinking. This behavior can create conflict and damage relationships.
Blaming others can be a way for the person to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. It can also prevent them from recognizing the need for change and seeking help.
Lying To Conceal a Relapse
After a period of sobriety, a person may lie to hide a relapse. They may feel ashamed or fear disappointing others. Lying allows them to maintain the appearance of recovery while continuing to drink.
Relapses are common in the recovery process. However, lying about them can prevent the person from getting the support they need to get back on track.
What To Do if Someone Lies About Their Drinking
If you suspect a loved one is lying about their drinking, it’s essential to approach the situation with compassion. Research shows that friends and family play a key role in fostering recovery and facilitating changes in drinking behaviors. Understand that lying is often a symptom of their struggle with alcoholism. Encourage them to seek help and offer your support. Remember, recovery is possible, and your loved one doesn’t have to face this challenge alone.
Flanagan, Owen. “The Shame of Addiction.” Frontiers in Psychiatry, October 8, 2013. Accessed July 11, 2023.
Volkow, Nora. “Addressing the Stigma that Surrounds Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, April 22, 2020. Accessed July 11, 2023.
McCrady, Barbara S.; Flanagan, Julianne C. “The Role of the Family in Alcohol Use[…] Recovery for Adults.” Alcohol Research, 2021. Accessed July 11, 2023.
Schuckit, Marc A.; Clarke, Dennis F.; Smith, Tom L.; Mendoza, Lee Anne. “Characteristics associated with denial of problem drinking among two generations of individuals with alcohol use disorders.” Drug Alcohol Depend., December 1 2020. Accessed July 11, 2023.