In our last infosheet: Addiction – the truth behind the lies, we explored the reasons why people suffering from addiction lie. For many addicts, as the addiction gets worse, lying becomes deeply ingrained in their way of life and it actually becomes incredibly difficult to tell the truth. And, if they have been getting away with weaving a web of lies and nobody has called them out on it, it only seems logical to think that lying is just simply easier than telling the truth. That is why it is very important to deal with the lies in an appropriate manner. Here are a few tips on how to deal with them in a way that’s beneficial to both you and your loved one:
1. Don’t take it personally
When a loved one lies to you, it can feel as though they no longer love or respect you, and this can cause a great amount of emotional pain. You must remember, however, that an addict mainly lies for their own benefit – to keep the reality of their situation from surfacing. And in fact, an addict often believes that by lying to a loved one, it is causing them less pain with a ‘what you don’t know won’t hurt you’ type of attitude. Instead of getting upset and yelling at them or reacting negatively towards them, take it with a grain of salt and focus your energy on helping them get out of their situation instead.
2. Stop enabling
If you know that your loved one is lying to you, pretending to believe them, or turning a blind eye will only encourage their behaviour and allow them to sink deeper into their addiction. Whether they think you actually believe them, or they know you’re turning a blind eye, you’re essentially telling them that their behaviour is okay. Instead, you need to let them know that you know the truth. When the lies are no longer working, it will help force them into honesty and (hopefully) in to asking for the help they need.
3. Point out the truths
When negative incidents occur, such as arrests, medical issues, loss of job, or anything that is visible to you (and not just to the person struggling with addiction) it is helpful for you to point it out. Do your best to sound non-judgemental and definitely not condescending. However, it is important for your loved one to realise that their actions are having negative impacts, and that others can see that and are also being affected by them.
4. Boost their confidence
When an addict feels shame, it fuels their addiction. Therefore, you can help them by creating a supportive environment where they feel they can be open and honest with you. You can also build their confidence and encourage them to create goals again by literally listing for them the things that would be better if they got treatment for their addiction. Most addicts feel a sense of emptiness when they imagine their life without their substance, so help fill that void with reminders of how good life was before the activities that you used to enjoy together or those that they enjoyed doing alone .
5. Get them some help
If it’s clear to you that your loved one is suffering from addiction, it is important to get them help right away. It does no good for you or them if you continue to be in denial yourself. You can start by contacting your family doctor for guidance in finding the most appropriate treatment, and get them into a rehabilitation programme as soon as possible. The sooner the addict gets help, the better their chances of recovery.
The Cabin Chiang Mai offers treatment for both substance and process or behavioural addictions with a programme that is highly personalised and culturally sensitive.