The Problem of Hiding Addiction

Mother hiding addictionThe problem of hiding any addiction, whether it is drugs, alcohol, or any other addiction, centers around one main premise: lying.

The Complexity of Lies

Some people believe that a lie can only be a lie if you tell it to someone else, but some of the most destructive lies are actually those we tell ourselves. No one starts her day believing that she is going to be an addict, so it is never her intention to become an addict. It’s when you add lies to the addictive behavior pattern that you start spiraling downward into the addiction.

Let’s look at one example of a person’s journey into addiction with a focus on how lying contributed throughout the process. A person involved in a car accident is taken to the hospital in severe pain. The doctor prescribes Percodan to help relieve the pain. As a result of the accident and the intense pain, the person never acknowledges the other feelings she is experiencing (lies of omission) such as anger towards the other driver, fear about how her pain is going to impact her life, and depression about her possibly limited mobility.

Because these other emotions are not being dealt with, they have been added to the list of things that the person feels that the Percodan is helping with. Therefore, as the pain starts to subside, the person does not reduce the amount of Percodan she is taking because the Percodan is also treating these other unresolved issues.

The person begins to view Percodan not as a temporary part of her physical rehabilitation, but rather as a necessary and integrated part of her life. She may then begin lying to others, such as a spouse or employer, who questions her about the value and wisdom of continuing to use the drug. As soon as the person’s judgment about using the drug comes into question, she becomes defensive and may resort to lying to get out of this uncomfortable encounter. “No, I don’t think I am using Percodan as a crutch.” “Yes, I am gradually reducing the amount I take.” Both lies immediately impact the person saying the lie as well as the person receiving the lie. If the spouse suspects that neither of these statements are true, he may start tracking the medication to determine how much is being used. So now the person has to add more deception to support the lie; she has to hide the medication and make excuses for the bottle not being in the medical cabinet where it was initially.

When it becomes apparent to close friends, family, or employers that the person clearly has an addiction to Percodan, another series of lies start where the person denies these addictive thoughts, distances herself from these accusing people, and ignores the fact that much of her time and energy is focused on getting and using the drug.

This example began with a justified reason for prescribing Percodan and explores the lies and associated behavior leading up to a person’s addiction to the medication. The ongoing lies and behaviors that stay with a person throughout the addiction only get more convoluted and damaging.

Richard Bach, a well-known American writer, said “The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we’re afraid.” At the core of lying is fear, and an addiction’s best friend is fear. When you take away the lie, you immediately reduce the addiction’s hold on you.

Get Help for Substance Abuse and Addiction

If you or someone you know is abusing or is addicted to drugs, it is often difficult to determine when a person’s use moves from therapeutic to addictive. However, recovery is possible, and we want to help you find the right treatment options and support. We are available 24 hours a day and our number is toll free. Your call is confidential. All you need to do is pick up the phone and call us—don’t hide your addiction for another day. Call us and find help now.