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One of the eleven signs and symptoms of alcohol use disorder is lying to others about how much you are drinking. Deceit is a very common trait in addiction, but it is also prevalent in recovery. You may be struggling with sobriety, but don’t want your loved ones to know this. Are you lying about your sobriety to guard them against worrying, or trying to save face?
Why Do People In Recovery Lie About Sobriety?
When you entered recovery, you probably placed high expectations on yourself, and your loved ones rooted for you, too. If you find yourself struggling, you may have resorted to lying to others about your sobriety. The idea of letting anyone down, or facing the fact that your recovery is in jeopardy, is very upsetting.
There are several reasons why you may be lying about your sobriety. These include:
- You are in denial. After doing the work of detox and rehab, you might convince yourself that you can have an occasional drink. By lying to yourself you are able to remain in denial.
- You are deflecting judgment of others. You can’t stand the idea of friends and family members casting judgment about your drinking. You lie to protect yourself from their disappointment or disdain.
- You lie to manipulate others. If you receive support or financial help from family members you may not want to disrupt that. You lie about your sobriety to be able to continue enjoying that support.
- You are avoiding accountability. If you lie to your sponsor or your recovery community, you avoid holding yourself accountable for slipping up. You lie in order to keep up the façade of sobriety while sidestepping accountability to the group and yourself.
Common Challenges Faced in Alcohol Recovery
Addiction recovery involves hard work. It is a daily, if not hourly struggle, at least during that first difficult year. In fact, statistics show that up to 60% will relapse within a month of completing treatment.
Why is it so hard to remain sober in early recovery? Consider these common challenges:
- You have a relapsing disease. The battle of addiction is ongoing and is very hard to beat. You learn ways to manage the disease, and that takes a lot of concerted effort. If you let up on recovery efforts, the disease can rear up again.
- You find yourself romanticizing the old drinking days. After a certain amount of time in recovery, it is common to become wistful about the good old days. You long to have a beer at the baseball game or a glass of wine at dinner, which spurs memories. Of course, these memories are deceiving.
- You gaslight yourself. You may convince yourself that you don’t need to attend meetings or see the therapist anymore. If you lie to yourself enough, the protections you built around sobriety seem unnecessary, which sets you up for relapse.
- You hang around the old crowd. It is a must in recovery to cull the people from your life that you associate with drinking or using drugs. Addiction has memory muscle, and being around these people will spark old habits.
- You are under too much stress. Stress is the number one cause of relapse, hands down. While in active addiction, the alcohol or weed helped you manage stress and anxiety. In recovery, you must find methods to help reduce stress, such as yoga or meditation.
6 Ways to Reinforce Your Sobriety
Even with the challenges, it is possible to stay strong in recovery. Try these handy tips for building more support for sobriety:
- Get healthy. When actively seeking health and wellness through daily exercise and eating healthy foods, you are less likely to relapse. Commit to revamping your diet and create some new fitness goals in recovery to help strengthen recovery.
- Practice CBT. In treatment, you learned how to identify negative self-talk that led to maladaptive coping behaviors like substance use. Make an effort to practice those CBT skills on a daily basis.
- Be of service. Seeking out ways to volunteer your time and skills in the community is gratifying, while also strengthening your recovery. Look for a cause you believe in and offer your services.
- Nurture your spiritual side. Look for ways to regularly focus on your spirituality. Look for ways to reflect or practice your faith, such as journaling, practicing meditation, joining a church, or spiritual reading.
- Take up a new hobby. Boredom is a common culprit in recovery. To help battle boredom, try taking up a new hobby to occupy your time and attention. Try a new sport, join a club, learn a musical instrument, or redecorate the living room.
- See your therapist. One of the best aftercare actions to include is outpatient therapy. Having regular therapy sessions provides ongoing support when you encounter those bumps in the road.
What Are the Warning Signs of Relapse?
It is important to be aware of the warning signs that often precede a relapse. Recognizing these can prompt you to double up your sobriety efforts:
- Pulling away. Before a relapse, the person may avoid contact with their recovery group or sponsor and stop going to meetings.
- Falling into bad habits again. Even after being so focused on improving fitness and health, the person may start to neglect their healthy lifestyle habits.
- Neglecting appearance. The person may let their appearance go or ignore basic hygiene habits prior to relapse.
- Avoid friends and family. When someone is thinking about drinking or using again, they will avoid accountability. This results in isolating behaviors.
- Worsening mental health. Signs of anxiety or depression may emerge before a relapse.
Should You Return to Rehab?
You may yourself heading down the road to relapse or even falling down and then lying about your sobriety. If this is the case, it is time to consider going back to rehab, even if just a 3-month outpatient program. Doing so will help you nip the problem in the bud before any serious damage is done to harm your recovery. Reach out for support today!
Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder
Elevation Behavioral Health is a residential treatment program that also offers outpatient services to help reinforce sobriety. Get the ongoing support your need. Reach out to our team today at (888) 561-0868.