Lying and Concealment–Deception in Addiction
Lying and concealment are common among addicted people as well as their loved ones. The stigma of addiction causes a great many of us to hide our addictions to avoid rejection and alienation. Loved ones of an addicted person also feel the effects of stigma, too. It is unfortunate that addictive illnesses are considered by some to be more a morality issue than an illness. These types of misinformation and stereotypes keep many from seeking help as quickly as they should. Tragically, some never seek help for fear of being revealed as addicted or as a person who loves someone with an addiction.
The Ways We Lie about Addiction
Many people commonly lie to themselves and to others about their addictions or those of loved ones. There are many reasons for that. Some of the most prevalent are fears of judgment and rejection. There are many ways this occurs, and many situations in which it does. Here are some examples of various types of lies we might ‘tell’ about our addiction or that of someone we love:
- A lie of omission–a lie of omission occurs when we deceive others by leaving out facts. It is a passive form of lying, but nevertheless, it serves to hide the truth. An example may be that we say we are seeing a counselor because we’re depressed. Let’s say that depression may be part of the truth, but the major issue is addiction. By leaving out the information about addiction, we lie by omitting it.
- A lie of error–lying through error can simply be a mistake. You believe you are telling the truth. Addiction and codependency both can create a circumstance in which we lie this way, but typically we call that denial. When we are in denial about the truth of our lives, we can believe that a spouse isn’t alcoholic, or that we aren’t addicted to painkillers. When we assert that to others, we are not telling an intentional falsehood, but do not see the addiction.
- A fabricated lie–a fabricated lie is what most people think of when they think of lying. It is a false story concocted by its teller intentionally. An example would be telling another person that you are 5 years sober when you continue to drink. This type of lie is clear and direct. A non-truth is told while being fully aware of what is true.