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Why Do Alcoholics Lie and Blame Others?

Written By
Matt Gonzales
This page features
7 Cited Research Articles

Alcohol addiction is a brain disease that can lead to irrational, unbalanced and unhealthy behavior patterns. People with the disorder may become violent or engage in risky behaviors. It can also cause people to lie to feed their addiction or blame others for their drinking problem.

Alcohol addiction causes distorted thinking. Many people with the disorder lie and blame others for their actions. It is a hurtful reality that many families experience. But knowing the behavioral consequences of alcohol addiction can help people understand the disease and help loved ones seek treatment.

Denial is a common outcome of alcoholism. The disease affects neurochemistry, and alcoholics typically refuse to believe they have an alcohol use disorder. In some instances, their denial causes them to fail to recognize how their substance abuse is affecting their lives.

These individuals may become offended or enraged if someone suggests they may have a drinking problem. Denial is a defense mechanism for people suffering from addiction, and it is one factor that can keep them from seeking life-saving treatment.

Blame Is an Outcome of Denial

Many people with alcohol addiction grapple with guilt and anger, which can lead to blame. People may blame loved ones or employers for causing stress that led to their drinking problems. Or they may point the finger at a friend or co-worker for buying them a beer in the past.

A person’s denial spurs blame. For some, blaming others protects them from taking responsibility themselves. Denial, blame and dishonesty may anger loved ones, but it is important to understand that these actions are a product of the disease rather than a true representation of the person’s character.

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Lying Is a Characteristic of Alcoholism

Many people with alcohol addiction lie to hide their drinking habits or the severity of their addiction. They may say they worked late when they really spent time at a bar. Or they may say they’ve only had one beer when they’ve actually had many more.

Lying is common among people with alcoholism. For these individuals, dishonesty can be intentional or unintentional. They may lie to simultaneously maintain their drinking habits and their relationships with loved ones. They may also engage in evasion, deception and manipulation to distort the truth about their alcoholism.

Alcoholism Is Stigmatized

Many people today do not view addiction as a disease, which it is. Some believe it is a moral problem. And much of society places blame on people with alcoholism. This stigma creates shame, guilt and fear in individuals who are addicted to alcohol. As a result, many people hide their disease from the public.

People with an alcohol addiction may lie to mask shame or to avoid ridicule from their peers. In some cases, stigma causes people with alcoholism to avoid rehab. A 2007 study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse showed that 37 percent of college students avoided seeking substance abuse treatment for fear of stigma.

Fear of Change Can Lead to Lying or Blaming Others

Many people with the disorder are reluctant to seek rehab, partly because alcohol is a central part of their life. They are not ready to stop drinking. And they know that rehab could compromise their relationship with alcohol.

Individuals with alcohol problems go to great lengths to avoid change. As a result, they lie about their drinking or blame others for their problems. However, these behaviors can fracture their relationships, threaten their employment and exacerbate their addiction.

Finding Treatment Is Critical to Recovery

In many cases, the blaming and lying will not stop until the alcoholic admits to having a drinking problem. To help these individuals consider rehab, many families hold interventions. These meetings allow family members to persuade a loved one to seek help for addiction.

Shedding the stigma associated with addiction may reduce the reluctance to seek treatment. Without guilt and fear, alcoholics may not feel the need to lie or blame others for their problems. Instead, they might be more open about their drinking problems and more motivated to seek alcoholism resources.

Completing addiction treatment is a proven method for overcoming alcoholism. In rehab, people undergo detox, learn about the dangers of alcoholism and find new ways to avoid drinking. They also learn how to live healthy lives without alcohol.

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