It is the one thing at which alcoholics and addicts excel. To be actively addicted means to be an expert at lying. Truth telling is a foreign concept to an addicted brain. So much so, that lying becomes not second nature but first nature. I should know. I’m a recovering alcoholic and I remember what it was like.
When I was drinking I would, of course, constantly lie about how much I had to drink. Sometimes I would lie about when I had my last drinks, where I had my last drinks, with whom I had my last drinks and what I had to drink. I use the plural drinks instead of the singular drink because there was never just one. Although, I often said so.
Sometimes I would lie about what I did while I was drinking, when I could remember. Sometimes someone would say “remember that thing you did last night?” Or, “remember what you said last night about this or that?” I would lie and say yes, even though I didn’t have a clue because I was in a blackout.
Many times I would lie to myself. I would say to myself, “I have this all under control. I can stop at any time. I can’t be an alcoholic. I am not going to do this ever again. It will be different this time.” Lies, all lies.
What is it about drugs, alcohol, addictive behaviors and lying? They are inseparable. I’ll tell you. It is shame and fear. Even the addicted brain knows it’s addicted even when your conscious self doesn’t know it or doesn’t want to believe it to be true.
In our shame we stood in fear of the truth. So, we lied to hide it all, to camouflage the truth. When I was deep into my alcoholism the constant lying was exhausting. The thing of it was, I hated liars. I hated myself for being one.
People do strange things, abnormal things, under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. They get dis-inhibited and do things they would be less likely to do when sober. They will take risks, steal, cheat, commit acts of violence, drive while impaired and lie about all of that after the fact.
Alcoholics should just go ahead and call alcohol something different like EverClearLiar, Johnny Liar Liar Pants on Fire or Twelve Year Old Lies in a Bottle. Addicts should call their drugs of choice something similar – Crystal methamLieToThee, LieTab, HeroLie’n.
One of the very first things you must embrace in any program of recovery is honesty. A solid program of recovery demands rigorous honesty. There is no place to hide in the full light of truth. Once sober, it becomes a lot easier to tell the truth than to support the lie. Once sober, you find out there is very little reason to lie any more in the first place. Honesty becomes part of the miraculous transformation that occurs in recovery.
The truth doesn’t set the alcoholic or addict free. It is the recovering alcoholic or addict that frees the truth.