How can you tell when an alcoholic is lying? There lips are moving. Coping (dealing) with the lying nature of the problem drinker is better done through accepting the fact that lies are a way of life for the substance abuser. They really have a problem with being truthful about anything.
Why do they lie so much? Let’s face it, they are living in a world of denial and if we get honest enough with ourselves, we will realize that we are living in denial as well. It’s really not important to understand why they do this, just accept the fact and leave them alone when they do it.
The sooner you can accept that lying is a part of the alcoholic’s lifestyle the better you will be able to cope. Dealing with someone who is not telling the truth is frustrating because it causes us to want to argue with them about not telling the truth.
Just learn how to zip your lip.
When we stop confronting them then there will be a lot less finger pointing going on. There is great freedom to be enjoyed once we stop judging an alcoholic.
When we learn that we do not have to try and prove to them that we know they are telling us a lie, then our frustration level will go down. This will help us to also stop blaming an alcoholic for much of our stress.
What is the point of confronting an alcoholic who is lying anyway? You know they are just going to deny the truth and stand up for the false reality that they perceive to be truth. Alcoholic liars come in every shape from a teenage son, daughter, spouse, mom, dad, grandmother or grandfather.
The reason they lie so much is because alcoholics are filled with shame. Have you ever known someone who when they were a child said they wanted to be an alcoholic when the grow up? Of course not, no one sets a goal to be addicted to some type of drug or substance. The alcoholic thinks and feels as though “they” are a mistake. For that reason they will lie about countless matters.
Unfortunately, lying is a comfortable way of life for the alcoholic. The best way of coping (or, dealing) with this problem is to just accept the truth and let them tell their lies without you pretending to be the private investigator who knows what really happened.
Trust me… When you start letting go of all the things they are doing, you will start losing your temper with an alcoholic less.
Just let them live their dysfunctional life and you enjoy yours without the additional fight for the day.
Author: JC Edited by: Odum On Google +
Thank you JC for copying the link to Codependent No More: which was written in 1986 and then revised in 1992, which also has a workbook you can get separate. Another book of Melody Beattie’s is called Codependent No more and Beyond Codependency which was written in 2001.
I hope this helps.
You are welcome Le Le. I have the book “Codependent No More…”. I also have several friends in my small circle that refer to Melody Beattie’s wisdom occasionally. She has been a top seller on Amazon for a long time.
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I have just read the article about the lying alcoholic. Most of the information I have heard before except to just know it’s going to happen and just continue on with your life. I have a real problem not confronting the lying. If I don’t I feel that I’m condoning the behavior and also letting the alcoholic think they are pulling the wool over my eyes. I have recently started attending an Al-Anon group that I really like but have yet to get a sponsor. Am I suppose to accept this behavior and act as if it hasn’t happened? The alcoholic in my life is secretly drinking and using at times, but when dry still displays all the classic symptoms.
I’d appreciate any advice you could share. Thank you!
Grayson, thanks for sharing. I’d say that this portion of the article says the most, “Dealing with someone who is not telling the truth is frustrating because it causes us to want to argue with them about not telling the truth”.
The suggestion to not confront the lies is so that we can begin to have more peace of mind. Which produces more peace of mind: A) to accept that the alcoholic is often lying and let it go, or B) obsess over the lies, confront them, get into an argument and obsess over the words and actions that were exchanged in the argument?
It’s all about making changes in our behaviors in order to have more serenity in our “personal” life.
My mother is a Alchy. From 9am to bed she’s on the drink. She uses me for the hatred of excuses to drink herself to sleep. She’s built up a gang of gophers demonising me Constantly to people and even calling the police on me using trumped up allegations. It just goes on.
Thank you so much for posting this helpful article JC. In fact all of your articles and posts have been so helpful and such a comfort to me. My 43 yr old husband whom I’ve been with for 15 yrs, is a pathological liar and a horrible alcoholic. I didn’t realize that constantly lying about everything from small insignificant things to big ones was such a big part of the disease. It makes so much sense now. His lying has been going on since I met him. It really helped me to read your suggestions on how to cope and avoid confronting my alcoholic and his behavior. You’re right, every time I knew he was lying and I confronted him about it, he would go white faced and then get defensive, change his story, and we’d get into a big fight. It’s not like confronting him ever reduced his frequency and degree of lying. So what’s the point of confronting him anymore? I am actually relieved that I don’t have to confront him about it. It’s like you gave me permission to just let it go. I thought I had to police him, to be the “bad guy.” I thought by not confronting him I was being a door mat. I understand now why it’s pointless. I am so grateful to have some better tools to be able to deal with all his lying as well as so many other great suggestions about living with the alcoholic. We have two small kids at home and I am just not ready or wanting to leave at this point in my life. Life is already too complicated, busy, and stressful with our kids still being so young and trying to juggle so many things. Plus I still have love for my alcoholic and have hope and faith in myself that I can live with him and his problems peacefully, and maybe if I get really lucky, some day he will see the light and get sober. I can’t tell you how much comfort reading your articles as well as people’s comments have brought me. Thank you! Keep up the good work!
SMS, you are welcome. Glad to hear it makes sense. I feel being a doormat is when I allow someone to demean my character, not when I let go of the lies.
Don’t Be A Doormat…check out this video:
I don’t understand how can you say to just let them live their dysfunctional life and you enjoy yours without the additional fight for the day. I have tried for the last few weeks to not say anything (act like everything is okay) He just seems to think if I’m saying anything then everything is okay and we are good. But we are not! That’s living a lie and they are already doing that on a daily basis. This is so hard!
Dawn, I totally agree with you. I lived like that, in a lie, not saying anything for years, and it affected me and my children negatively. Actually it is devastating. My own personality changed. I learned to adapt to the dysfunctional conditions, but lost my own self, slowly during this time. By saying that, I mean, I became bitter, unable to communicate directly with other people, calculating my words a thousand times before talking… Normally I am a happy, honest, direct person. My kids learned not to express themselves or be abusive like the alcoholic. It takes a great effort to recover, even after the alcoholic is way gone. How is it possible that a person who says “I love you”, hurts us? What is the purpose of living under these conditions, with a partner who abuses & does not love us? This is my point of view.
Alcoholics lie, manipulate, seek pity, guilt you, anything it takes to keep the booze flowing. Nobody should have to live with that BS. Are you serious “Just let them live their dysfunctional life and you enjoy yours”, you must be an alcoholic!!
My boyfriend is a former actor and spent a lot of time giving me his “lines” about how he is an alcoholic, but he is some super special type. After 5 years and 2 children, I am proud to be moving on and secretly moving out. I am proud, but my children and I are crushed. We love him very much but there is nothing he is willing to do to overcome his addiction to his real girlfriend, the booze.
My oldest one called him an alcoholic to his face yesterday and he went nuts! I think he had an anxiety attack because he couldn’t believe our child would say that. The sad part is that he has no clue what led to the outburst from our child because he is usually drunk and on his liquid vacation.
Although I thought it was a rude thing to do, I did not berate my child. I understand where the anger is coming from and at least my child is not living the lie with him.
Matki, I would like to congratulate you for making a great step. You are saving yourself and your children from a devastating emotional disaster. You and your kids will need a great effort to recover, while the most important step is behind.
My alcoholic ex is an actor too and performed well to accomplish his selfish needs. It just gets worse over time. He had absolutely no interest in improving himself or in our feelings, or best interests. I see it as a set up stage, a manipulation to create a convenient environment for him – an environment which allows him to drink, be nasty, selfish, passive aggressive, hide his disorders or better said, drown his disorders in alcohol.
The first part of this performance/stage was filled with “love and attention”(fake, of course), only to prepare for the last part, the manipulation and destruction. There is no love in selfishness and, actually I consider it, abuse.
I took the advice from this website – run far away. I am glad I did.
Your words are warm like a hug and my heart needs to hear this. I am back in college after many years and sometimes he does his best to sabotage my life.
A friend of mine on campus is a recovering alcoholic and I was sharing my issues about my boyfriend. Even a recovering alcoholic said to get out! I was shocked.
My boyfriend doesn’t think I am leaving, he just thinks I am “spring cleaning.” LOL Like all the times he was “going to AA”–yeah, sitting outside in the parking lot.
Its very sad because I could name about 50 movies and TV shows he was in and people would be astonished at how “old” he looks now compared to a few years ago. The lies…the repeated lies. It’s just so amazing how he twists and shapes everything to his benefit. Sadly, his legacy is not his acting career, it’s his drinking.
Please can someone help me with advice, my adult son is an alcoholic, he lives with his girlfriend and 4 children, recently I had to rush him to hospital because he became very ill, I spent 3 days and nights in the hospital with him until eventually securing a place in a local detox centre, however after 7 days he signed himself out. I caught him drinking again when I went to visit and was very angry, I had been so scared he was going to die, since then he has totally turned against me, blaming me for the reason he drinks, and constantly making up lies and stories about his childhood that are simply not true, he is portraying himself as a neglected child who was, beaten, left to fend for himself and also apparently adopted out when he was 10 years old. The lies he is telling are totally getting out of hand, he is constantly sending me abusive messages and I am at my wits end and have no idea who to turn to for help. Is this kind of lying a part of how an alcoholic behaves to those who love and try to support them? I am aware they lie and make up stories to cover their drinking habits but all this seems very extreme. Please if anyone else has been through this or can offer any advice whatsoever I would be very grateful.
All-after just leaving my alcoholic depressed boyfriend of 9 months yesterday after catching him lying about drinking once again (he filled the vodka bottle with water after drinking half of it out of my sight and continuing to drink beer), these comments and stories and advice are so incredibly helpful to keep me (mid 30’s, watching all friends get married, have kids etc) thinking that I have made the right decision. Part of me thinks I’m overrreacting for leaving the sweet sensitive, albeit moody man, that I connected with on all levels. I gave him a second chance after he lied the first time. No more chances. I am more important and so is my mental health. I just need to read of others experience every day until it gets in my head that I made the right choice and there is someone out there that will respect me enough to not lie to me. Thank you all for sharing.
Yup, things got better for me when I stopped trying to prove that he was lying. Giving up gave me the energy I needed to make much needed changes to my work life and approach to my time with my kids. Accept the things you can not change- haha- words to live by
My husband is an alcoholic and lies to me every time is out drink .Is favored one is “I’m stuck in traffic!”or “At a meinting “I go so frustrated and mad because I know it’s not true,sometimes I drive buy the bars he goes to check if is car is there .I’m so tier of living like this.
ur saying just accept the lies with no real possibility that the other person may not be able to sit with that. i have been away on business – i work on my own a lot- before going away or anything really important he acts up – turns up drunk argumentative – says sorry the next day – leave me with angst when away- i finally pick up in myself but still exhausted and not my self however i get more lie and crap when i find out he cant get in my flat to feed my pet – arriving 10 hrs later that what he should of and couldn’t even apploigase the next day and be honest. this left me the whole working away experiance very difficult as i tried to piece together what actually happened and what to do about not.
As a 40 yr old with may life experiences – i have trust issues anyway and am about to go to counciling for abandonment issues – this morning we broke it off. u say accept the lies – i would never be able to as i cant live with that as it destroys my idea of who in fact he is and if he actually loves me.
My ex boyfriend is an alcoholic. All discussed here applies. He holds very respectful job in the place where I work supervisor over 160 people. People come to him for help and depend on him, no one knows what two-face liar he is. He talks morals, putting big picture out there, then comes home gets loaded on beer, and visits strippers and prostitutes. I quit on him multiple times and every time he begs me back. He tells me what I want to hear, swears he was loyal, it lasts for two- three days, then same alcohol girlfriend is calling and he avoids me. He told me if I accept him the way he is I can see him every day, otherwise he’s not ready. The last drop was when I had flu and was very ill, he decided to stay home and drink. He starts on his beer in the morning throughout all day without eating. He tried to get me drink with him, he was buying different types, I didn’t give in,. I understand all of you! Knowing they lie, cheat, always drunk – somehow we love them. After the entire year of unsuccessful attempts to get him out and focus on bigger goals and getting with the flu to find myself measurable and lonely I finally quit! I blocked his number after he tried to call on Friday at midnight probably drunk. I don’t feel anything towards him. BUT I arrived to it slowly. Every time I leave I would wait for him to call first, sometimes I would give in on his third attempt. After multiple of these eventually you will see his true colors and how pathetic he is. That would help you to leave him.
I’m trying to be open minded about the approaches promoted on this website, but it seems the overarching message is for people in an alcoholics life to be passive enablers, i.e don’t confront, don’t try to change them, just let them kill themselves because there’s nothing anyone can do.
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This is some pretty shitty advice! So, allow the alcoholic to lie to you, insult your intelligence constantly, use all of their money for booze while you struggle to keep all of the bills paid yourself, allow them to confront you constantly about their own crazy ideas about what you’re doing (anything and everything that their wild imaginations could possibly come up with); but never say anything to confront or question how shitty they treat you??? Yeah, seems legit… NOT!
How do you sleep at night giving such bullshit advice…you must be drunk!
I am facing many of the same issues as everyone here. My wife has been hiding her drinking from me for a number of years now. The part for me that’s strange is that I drink too, and we were drinking together after work. Why she started drinking in the morning and all times of day is a beyond me (I have been home on disability from work, and have had no desire to drink during the day). But what is even more disturbing to me is that she lies and hides her drinking from me. I really don’t understand that. I have been trying to quit all together, but in one of her sober moments we discussed it and I told her that I am ok with her drinking, just not all day and especially not hiding and lying about it. Still she does it. After trying several times to confront her I understand what some here are saying about stopping confronting her about it, because it does no good. However, I ( and our kids) can’t just live with it. When I go back to work and I’m worried that she’s going to pass out drunk and forget to feed the kids dinner (or pick them up from after school activities, or drive them to their after school activities drunk) then that IS affecting our lives. My stress is real, my worry is real, for both her and the kids.
I ignored it for years then she put a car into a telephone pole with 3 kids inside. Thank god none of them were injured and we did not get sued. I tried for 3 more years to live the lies but it is just too much and fighting, arguing and mistrust eventually she left I did not have to be the one to leave as she wanted out rather than be confronted with her disease. The good thing is she wanted out so bad I have my house and she gets to help pay for it which is only payback for the 2 DUI’s and reckless driving convictions I got to pay for (about 20K) There is a real danger in just accepting this behaviour as these kids could have been killed or seriously injured don’t play this game drive the alcoholic out into the street where they belong.
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I am an alcoholic and have made a commitment just recently to try to quit, I have lied over and over about drinking and would lie about where I was going just so I could go get a drink. I never really felt remorse for lying about it, I only wanted to be left alone and not questioned about it. It has ruined the trust she has in me and now everything I say is a lie. Alcohol has ruined my life!
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Completely crazy advice. If you don’t trust the person you’re with you should leave them, it’s not fair to you. You need to respect yourself and be respeced by the people your with.. The drunks have a choice to get help and quit drinking if they don’t move on and find somebody else. Life’s too short to be with a lying drunk.
Hello, Is tis site still up and running? I am in desperate need for some support, friendship, or just someone who can understand the nightmare I am dealing with.
He has been to rehab 3 times. he still drinks. He is in a hotel room as I type this drinking. It is breaking me, in every way. If he is approaching 51 in Dec. He has been to rehab 3 times, is there any hope for him to stop and be in recovery? I need raw honesty please….
Not sure I’d anyone reads this anymore but my spouse is an alcoholic. My son was the one who discovered him secretly drinking. I actually thought he had dementia or delayed effects from a prior medical condition. After a lot of research, attending an AlAnon meeting, prayer and more research I realized his issue was going on much longer than I’m willing to admit and likely the cause of his medical issue. There’s no live and let live here, absolutely terrible advice! This has destroyed our family and though we are still married and living together, we live very separately. The lies aren’t just about drinking, none of us want to be around him. He’s confrontational and mean and quite honestly not someone I want to introduce to coworkers and friends. Divorce is somewhere on the horizon but life isn’t easy. As I learned, they have to hit rock bottom to change and that’s a ship I don’t want to be on. Thank you.
Sorry, not sure if!! Fat thumbs.
Never allow an alcoholic to stay in your life. They do NOT CARE one damn iota if they hurt you. They jus want you to shut up and let them drink.
No way!!! Don’t walk, RUN!!!!!