Coping With Lying Alcoholics-Why they lie so much

How can you tell when an alcoholic is lying? There lips are moving. Coping (dealing) with the lying nature of the problem drinker is better done through accepting the fact that lies are a way of life for the substance abuser. They really have a problem with being truthful about anything.

Why do they lie so much? Let’s face it, they are living in a world of denial and if we get honest enough with ourselves, we will realize that we are living in denial as well. It’s really not important to understand why they do this, just accept the fact and leave them alone when they do it.


The sooner you can accept that lying is a part of the alcoholic’s lifestyle the better you will be able to cope. Dealing with someone who is not telling the truth is frustrating because it causes us to want to argue with them about not telling the truth.

Just learn how to zip your lip.

When we stop confronting them then there will be a lot less finger pointing going on. There is great freedom to be enjoyed once we stop judging an alcoholic.

When we learn that we do not have to try and prove to them that we know they are telling us a lie, then our frustration level will go down. This will help us to also stop blaming an alcoholic for much of our stress.

What is the point of confronting an alcoholic who is lying anyway? You know they are just going to deny the truth and stand up for the false reality that they perceive to be truth. Alcoholic liars come in every shape from a teenage son, daughter, spouse, mom, dad, grandmother or grandfather.

The reason they lie so much is because alcoholics are filled with shame. Have you ever known someone who when they were a child said they wanted to be an alcoholic when the grow up? Of course not, no one sets a goal to be addicted to some type of drug or substance. The alcoholic thinks and feels as though “they” are a mistake. For that reason they will lie about countless matters.

Unfortunately, lying is a comfortable way of life for the alcoholic. The best way of coping (or, dealing) with this problem is to just accept the truth and let them tell their lies without you pretending to be the private investigator who knows what really happened.

Trust me… When you start letting go of all the things they are doing, you will start losing your temper with an alcoholic less.

Just let them live their dysfunctional life and you enjoy yours without the additional fight for the day.
Author: JC Edited by: Odum On

Alcohol Addiction Family

How to Stop Arguing With an Alcoholic


465 comments to Coping With Lying Alcoholics-Why they lie so much

  • Le Le

    Thank you JC for copying the link to Codependent No More: which was written in 1986 and then revised in 1992, which also has a workbook you can get separate. Another book of Melody Beattie’s is called Codependent No more and Beyond Codependency which was written in 2001.
    I hope this helps.

  • JC

    You are welcome Le Le. I have the book “Codependent No More…”. I also have several friends in my small circle that refer to Melody Beattie’s wisdom occasionally. She has been a top seller on Amazon for a long time.

  • Grayson

    I have just read the article about the lying alcoholic. Most of the information I have heard before except to just know it’s going to happen and just continue on with your life. I have a real problem not confronting the lying. If I don’t I feel that I’m condoning the behavior and also letting the alcoholic think they are pulling the wool over my eyes. I have recently started attending an Al-Anon group that I really like but have yet to get a sponsor. Am I suppose to accept this behavior and act as if it hasn’t happened? The alcoholic in my life is secretly drinking and using at times, but when dry still displays all the classic symptoms.

    I’d appreciate any advice you could share. Thank you!

  • Bill

    Grayson, thanks for sharing. I’d say that this portion of the article says the most, “Dealing with someone who is not telling the truth is frustrating because it causes us to want to argue with them about not telling the truth”.

    The suggestion to not confront the lies is so that we can begin to have more peace of mind. Which produces more peace of mind: A) to accept that the alcoholic is often lying and let it go, or B) obsess over the lies, confront them, get into an argument and obsess over the words and actions that were exchanged in the argument?

    It’s all about making changes in our behaviors in order to have more serenity in our “personal” life.

  • My mother is a Alchy. From 9am to bed she’s on the drink. She uses me for the hatred of excuses to drink herself to sleep. She’s built up a gang of gophers demonising me Constantly to people and even calling the police on me using trumped up allegations. It just goes on.

  • SMS

    Thank you so much for posting this helpful article JC. In fact all of your articles and posts have been so helpful and such a comfort to me. My 43 yr old husband whom I’ve been with for 15 yrs, is a pathological liar and a horrible alcoholic. I didn’t realize that constantly lying about everything from small insignificant things to big ones was such a big part of the disease. It makes so much sense now. His lying has been going on since I met him. It really helped me to read your suggestions on how to cope and avoid confronting my alcoholic and his behavior. You’re right, every time I knew he was lying and I confronted him about it, he would go white faced and then get defensive, change his story, and we’d get into a big fight. It’s not like confronting him ever reduced his frequency and degree of lying. So what’s the point of confronting him anymore? I am actually relieved that I don’t have to confront him about it. It’s like you gave me permission to just let it go. I thought I had to police him, to be the “bad guy.” I thought by not confronting him I was being a door mat. I understand now why it’s pointless. I am so grateful to have some better tools to be able to deal with all his lying as well as so many other great suggestions about living with the alcoholic. We have two small kids at home and I am just not ready or wanting to leave at this point in my life. Life is already too complicated, busy, and stressful with our kids still being so young and trying to juggle so many things. Plus I still have love for my alcoholic and have hope and faith in myself that I can live with him and his problems peacefully, and maybe if I get really lucky, some day he will see the light and get sober. I can’t tell you how much comfort reading your articles as well as people’s comments have brought me. Thank you! Keep up the good work!

  • JC

    SMS, you are welcome. Glad to hear it makes sense. I feel being a doormat is when I allow someone to demean my character, not when I let go of the lies.

    Don’t Be A Doormat…check out this video:
    http://alcoholicsfriend.com/2013/04/alcoholic-treating-doormat/

  • Dawn

    I don’t understand how can you say to just let them live their dysfunctional life and you enjoy yours without the additional fight for the day. I have tried for the last few weeks to not say anything (act like everything is okay) He just seems to think if I’m saying anything then everything is okay and we are good. But we are not! That’s living a lie and they are already doing that on a daily basis. This is so hard!

  • Dee

    Dawn, I totally agree with you. I lived like that, in a lie, not saying anything for years, and it affected me and my children negatively. Actually it is devastating. My own personality changed. I learned to adapt to the dysfunctional conditions, but lost my own self, slowly during this time. By saying that, I mean, I became bitter, unable to communicate directly with other people, calculating my words a thousand times before talking… Normally I am a happy, honest, direct person. My kids learned not to express themselves or be abusive like the alcoholic. It takes a great effort to recover, even after the alcoholic is way gone. How is it possible that a person who says “I love you”, hurts us? What is the purpose of living under these conditions, with a partner who abuses & does not love us? This is my point of view.

  • Brad

    Alcoholics lie, manipulate, seek pity, guilt you, anything it takes to keep the booze flowing. Nobody should have to live with that BS. Are you serious “Just let them live their dysfunctional life and you enjoy yours”, you must be an alcoholic!!

  • Matki

    My boyfriend is a former actor and spent a lot of time giving me his “lines” about how he is an alcoholic, but he is some super special type. After 5 years and 2 children, I am proud to be moving on and secretly moving out. I am proud, but my children and I are crushed. We love him very much but there is nothing he is willing to do to overcome his addiction to his real girlfriend, the booze.

    My oldest one called him an alcoholic to his face yesterday and he went nuts! I think he had an anxiety attack because he couldn’t believe our child would say that. The sad part is that he has no clue what led to the outburst from our child because he is usually drunk and on his liquid vacation.

    Although I thought it was a rude thing to do, I did not berate my child. I understand where the anger is coming from and at least my child is not living the lie with him.

  • Dee

    Matki, I would like to congratulate you for making a great step. You are saving yourself and your children from a devastating emotional disaster. You and your kids will need a great effort to recover, while the most important step is behind.

    My alcoholic ex is an actor too and performed well to accomplish his selfish needs. It just gets worse over time. He had absolutely no interest in improving himself or in our feelings, or best interests. I see it as a set up stage, a manipulation to create a convenient environment for him – an environment which allows him to drink, be nasty, selfish, passive aggressive, hide his disorders or better said, drown his disorders in alcohol.

    The first part of this performance/stage was filled with “love and attention”(fake, of course), only to prepare for the last part, the manipulation and destruction. There is no love in selfishness and, actually I consider it, abuse.

    I took the advice from this website – run far away. I am glad I did.

  • Matki

    Dee,
    Your words are warm like a hug and my heart needs to hear this. I am back in college after many years and sometimes he does his best to sabotage my life.

    A friend of mine on campus is a recovering alcoholic and I was sharing my issues about my boyfriend. Even a recovering alcoholic said to get out! I was shocked.

    My boyfriend doesn’t think I am leaving, he just thinks I am “spring cleaning.” LOL Like all the times he was “going to AA”–yeah, sitting outside in the parking lot.

    Its very sad because I could name about 50 movies and TV shows he was in and people would be astonished at how “old” he looks now compared to a few years ago. The lies…the repeated lies. It’s just so amazing how he twists and shapes everything to his benefit. Sadly, his legacy is not his acting career, it’s his drinking.

  • Please can someone help me with advice, my adult son is an alcoholic, he lives with his girlfriend and 4 children, recently I had to rush him to hospital because he became very ill, I spent 3 days and nights in the hospital with him until eventually securing a place in a local detox centre, however after 7 days he signed himself out. I caught him drinking again when I went to visit and was very angry, I had been so scared he was going to die, since then he has totally turned against me, blaming me for the reason he drinks, and constantly making up lies and stories about his childhood that are simply not true, he is portraying himself as a neglected child who was, beaten, left to fend for himself and also apparently adopted out when he was 10 years old. The lies he is telling are totally getting out of hand, he is constantly sending me abusive messages and I am at my wits end and have no idea who to turn to for help. Is this kind of lying a part of how an alcoholic behaves to those who love and try to support them? I am aware they lie and make up stories to cover their drinking habits but all this seems very extreme. Please if anyone else has been through this or can offer any advice whatsoever I would be very grateful.

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