Why Do Addicts Lie?

Why Do Addicts Lie?

Deception becomes a habit with an individual who has addiction for many reasons. A person with addiction will lie even when it is easiest to tell the truth. Many individuals do not realize people see through the facade. Find out why persons with addictions lie and what to do about it if a loved one is lying about addiction.


Self Preservation

An individual with addiction will do whatever is necessary to maintain the addiction. The seriousness of the situation or harm being caused to the self and others is ignored both consciously and unconsciously. Lying becomes a matter of self-preservation to keep loved ones at a distance from the reality of addiction and keep people from interfering with the drug habit.



Addiction consumes a person’s world and identity. The individual becomes unrecognizable to everyone around, including the individual. The truth is quite painful to face and so the person with addiction constructs an alternate reality where drugs and alcohol are not a problem. Avoidance of the real issues helps the individual with addiction cope with a perceived reality of everything being fine when it is all falling apart.


Conflict Avoidance

When a person with addiction self implodes, family and friends will do what is necessary to help. The stress of interpersonal conflict may become overwhelming for a person with addiction. Without appropriate coping skills, persons with addiction may do or say whatever it takes to avoid disappointment by loved ones or become defensive.



Denial compels a person with addiction to ignore the true consequences of negative behavior. Denial can serve a valuable protective function but it also allows people to process information and come to terms with it in a way that becomes all encompassing. Persons with addiction may come to believe family and friends have become the enemy or that addiction is a necessary part of life.



Individuals with addiction may feel shame, embarrassment and regret. Unable to work through emotions, individuals with addiction cope in the only way that seems possible: with more drugs. To keep up appearances, a person with addiction will try to paint a more flattering picture than is the reality.


Letting Go

Isolation is a big challenge for persons with addiction which has roots in deceptive behavior. Loved ones will not be able to force a person to be honest but some of the following steps may help:

  • Recognize lying fulfills a purpose and don’t take it personally
  • Push past lies which are keeping loved one trapped in addiction
  • Stage an intervention to break through the lies and deception
  • Point out negative consequences to behavior
  • Create a supportive community to facilitate honesty
  • Encourage involvement in support groups


Lying should not be ignored but is usually a distraction from the real problem of addiction. Finding a pathway to recovery only happens once the person overcomes denial and takes the first steps towards becoming more aware of the need for help and taking time to heal.


Deception and lying are common for persons with addiction. Loved ones who recognize this behavior can help by calling The Villa for support. We can provide information and resources to help you make an informed decision about next steps for supporting your loved one’s recovery.