Alcoholics begin by lying to avoid facing the truth about their habit. They lie to bosses and family when they cannot meet their obligations because of their addiction. With time, an alcoholic lies about almost everything he or she does, to continue and conceal the addiction.
Lies of denial
Alcoholics refuse to acknowledge that they have a problem, sometimes for years. They may trivialize an ugly incident or claim that a quarrel was caused by the other party. After a drunk-driving arrest, an alcoholic may say, “I only had one or two drinks.” After a blackout (a total loss of memory), the person may say, “I was just tired, and I hadn’t eaten.”
These lies allow an alcoholic to avoid facing the facts of the situation. Most alcoholics have watched someone close to them decline from alcoholism. The lies alcoholics tell themselves stave off the fear that they are on the same road.
Alcoholism is pitied or scorned, but social drinking is highly valued in many social groups. New cocktails are fun to try, and a certain light-headedness supposedly adds to the spirit of any celebration. Social drinkers are fun, but alcoholics are to be avoided.
Therefore, alcoholics naturally lie about their problem. Concealing the way they really use alcohol, they lie to fit their idea of the way nonalcoholics drink. They stubbornly class themselves as social drinkers, even as their problem begins to overwhelm them.
Like any addiction, alcoholism becomes an alcoholic’s central pleasure. Since it is so important, he or she lies to protect it. As the person loses interest in work, play and relationships, he or she conceals his or her real pleasures. The person has new friends: drinking buddies in the bar or other people similarly addicted.
Alcoholics defend themselves and the way of life that has become essential to them with lies. They tell their boss they have the flu when they are drunk or have a hangover. They swear to their spouse and children that they don't have a problem or that they have cut back or really quit drinking this time.
An alcoholic’s decline
An alcoholic’s relationships wither as he or she gives more and more attention to alcohol. A declining alcoholic is trapped in a daily round of getting, using and recovering from a drug that is deadly. It does not help that alcohol is a legal drug. In fact, cheap and easy access may seal the alcoholic’s fate.
Alcoholics no longer respond with genuine emotion to people they once held close. Money often becomes another secret problem, and spouses and colleagues tend to leave the alcoholic on his or her own. As their health declines, their problems become harder to hide. Their explanations are flimsier, and they may even see through their own lies.
Some alcoholics end up with nothing but the alcohol that once brought them a feeling of warmth and camaraderie. Alcohol itself lies, when it promises good times. Whether in a hospital or a grungy apartment, many alcoholics die alone.