Why Do Alcoholics Lie?

White male sitting at a bar alone gripping his drinking glass.

If a friend or loved one has recently developed an alcohol disorder, you may notice significant changes in their behavior toward you, themselves and others. Often, a substance use disorder, like alcoholism, can cause a person to alter the way they feel, act and speak to mask their condition from others.

Alcoholics often lie to others to feel better about their addiction or pacify those around them. In fact, lying, defensiveness and avoidance are the most common behavioral signs of alcoholism. If you’re noticing significant changes in someone you love, especially with how much they are lying, there may be a reason to think they’re struggling with alcoholism.

Let’s explore some of the reasons why alcoholics lie

How do you define an alcoholic?

An alcoholic is defined as someone who consumes alcohol behind their ability to control it and cannot stop drinking voluntarily with no residual side effects or withdrawals.

What are the most common signs that someone has an alcohol problem?

Symptoms of alcoholism range from mild to severe and can affect people differently.

Some of the most common signs include:

  • Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • A sudden lack of interest in previously loved activities
  • Wanting to cut down on how much you drink
  • Making unsuccessful attempts to stop drinking
  • Spending a lot of time drinking
  • Feeling an intense craving to drink alcohol
  • Failing to fulfill significant obligations in daily life
  • Continuing to drink alcohol even though you know it’s causing issues in your everyday life
  • Using alcohol in situations where it’s not safe, such as when driving
  • Developing a tolerance to alcohol, so you need more to feel its effect

Why do alcoholics lie?

In general, there is often much stigma associated with alcoholism, causing those who struggle with alcohol addiction to feel shameful, closed-off and worried about others knowing about their problem.

Most alcoholics lie to avoid the depth of their problem. They are scared that others will judge them and view them differently if they speak their truth. Others lie to maintain their relationship with alcohol to hide other mental health or social issues they may be dealing with.

Everyone’s reasoning for lying may be different, but there are common reasons that most who struggle with alcoholism use as a catalyst to spew lies to others.

Here are the top five most common reasons why alcoholics lie:

To avoid admitting their problem

Most people begin to use alcohol to mask other problems they may be facing. In many cases, they may have never learned proper coping mechanisms and use alcohol to cope with daily life struggles. They use alcohol to avoid taking ownership and fixing other problems in their life.

To live in a false reality.

The last thing someone struggling with alcoholism wants is to be labeled as an alcoholic. Most will lie about their struggles with alcohol to live in a falsified reality. The reality of the situation may be too hard to face for them, so instead, they choose to lie about it.

To preserve their addiction to alcohol.

Because alcohol is often used as a coping mechanism, some alcoholics are afraid to remove alcohol from their lives as they think their worlds will become exponentially more complicated. Instead, they lie about their struggle with alcohol to keep it around and a part of their daily lives.

To stay away from confrontation.

Sometimes confrontation about an alcohol problem can make a friend or loved one feel attacked. To avoid such conflict, alcoholics often lie. Instead, they down-talk their experiences in hopes that they won’t be told they need help for a severe addiction problem.

To not disappoint anyone.

There is a lot of shame and sadness associated with alcoholism. Feelings of disappointment can run deep, making an alcoholic avoid interaction with those they love if they know about their struggles. Instead of choosing isolation, alcoholics lie to prevent feelings of failure and disappointment from those who matter most to them.

Alcoholism treatment near you

If you or someone you know is struggling with a drinking problem, Miramar Recovery offers comprehensive alcoholism treatment tailored to your unique needs in mind with a goal of long-term recovery and stability. Don’t delay treatment; start your road to recovery now.


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