If you have struggled with addiction, you most likely know the significant role that lying plays in enabling it to continue. Addiction feeds off dishonesty; this is why most individuals who struggle with addiction learn to become master manipulators. However, it is no secret that this behavior cannot continue in recovery if you hope to maintain sobriety. It is important to dive deeper and learn about the root of lying in addiction, why it’s done, and how you can be more truthful to yourself and others to stop this behavior

Addiction and Lying

Addiction needs dishonesty to survive. Lying may become a defense mechanism when someone confronts you concerning your drug or alcohol use. Instead of taking responsibility for your own actions, you might lie about where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing, where your money has gone and other aspects of your life. These lies are used to justify the addiction so it can continue. 

Often, lies can sound like this:

  1. “I still have my job; things aren’t that bad.”
  2. “I’ve never gotten a DUI or been arrested for drug use.”
  3. “I only drink in social situations.”
  4. “I can stop anytime I want.”
  5. “It’s not like I’m hurting anyone.”

You may even be lying to yourself with such comments. Lying to yourself may happen because when you’re struggling with drug or alcohol use, you are vaguely aware of the trouble it has caused in your life but don’t want to admit it. Therefore, it feels strangely better to lie to yourself and the people around you to justify what you are doing to continue fueling the addiction. Lying is seemingly more comfortable for people in this situation – the thought of recovery is scary and foreign. It can be easier to stay in the familiar even if it destroys your life. However, there will come a point when the lies don’t work anymore, and you will have to face the truth.

The Impact of Lying

Lying can have a negative impact on life as a whole. Even when you lie for your own benefit, the truth eventually comes out, and you will have to face the consequences. While the disease has its own repercussions, lying can compound them. You may find that your loved ones no longer want to spend time with you because they no longer trust you. After being lied to over an extended time, why would they want to be around you? These actions can cause your self-esteem to drop even lower, which also feeds off addiction. This cycle can cause you to sink lower into your situation until you hit your rock bottom and find that you need help.

How to Be Truthful to Yourself and Others

There are actions you will have to take to stop the cycle of lying. These are not easy, but they are beneficial for you and your recovery. Over time, being truthful to yourself and those around you will come naturally, but you will need to take baby steps and start practicing to reach that point. To begin, try these three tips:

1. Set Aside Time for Reflection

At the end of each day, try to set aside a couple of minutes to sit with yourself and reflect. Think about what you did that day and the decisions you made. What was good about the day? Was there anything you could have done better? It can help to use a journal during this time to encourage you to get those thoughts out and look back on later. A journal will also help you keep track of your progress as you continue practicing honesty in your daily life. 

2. Own Up to Your Mistakes

When you were struggling with addiction, you most likely used lies to deflect any blame onto others or external circumstances as a means of justifying your addiction. Now that you are trying to make things right and learn how to be more honest, you must begin owning up to your mistakes. If you wrong someone, admit it immediately and apologize. The more you practice this, the easier it will become.

3. Be OK with the Unknown

Addiction is often justified because it is familiar. Even when individuals are aware of the negative consequences it has on their lives, they refuse to get help partly because recovery is foreign. This thought may cause anxiety; they do not know who they are outside of drugs and alcohol. While in recovery, it is crucial to make yourself comfortable with the unknown. By learning to accept it, you can begin being honest with yourself and others. Acceptance makes you comfortable with reality and helps you understand your limitations. This way, you know where you need to grow and can be comfortable admitting to others that you don’t know everything.


Lying is a common trait amongst individuals struggling with addiction because it is used to justify their actions to continue using despite consequences in their lives. Over time, people struggling with addiction can become masters at bending the truth; it becomes a survival tactic. However, you can learn to eradicate dishonesty – and drugs and alcohol abuse – from your life with time and practice. At Authentic Recovery Center (ARC), we are committed to serving the Los Angeles area with clinical and behavioral techniques that are sure to help you maintain sobriety. We treat addictions and co-occurring disorders to ensure you have a complete recovery. Call us today to learn more about our programs at (866) 786-1376. Start your journey to healing and honesty with ARC today.