Me I have always had the urge to lie. When I was a kid, I told my classmates that we had a new puppy at home. I was afraid of dogs and had never asked my parents for one, but I knew pets would be fascinating to her other six-year-old. When Julie, a dull-haired French girl, came to visit, she looked skeptical when I told her my dog was in another room. explained.When she accused me of lying, I finally introduced her to Lucky, my stuffed Dalmatian, and hugged him the way I saw her mother hug my little brother. “Shhh,” I whispered to Julie. she never came again.
Most of the time I lied white. “I’m a biology major,” I once rattled to a stranger at a nail salon, despite having no interest in science at all. Other lies were bullshit. For example, I spent last Saturday night at a party with Adrian Grenier (no), had seven previous serious relationships (I’m 26 and had two ex-boyfriends) and had a crush. Like when you talk to someone. .
Some of the lies were louder and more serious, as I woke up in the emergency room Sunday night after losing consciousness at brunch and falling down a flight of stairs. At 24 and having my parents’ health insurance, I panicked at the thought of getting a bill in the mail. The truth about my passing out seemed too scary to tell them. I didn’t want them to worry. So I told them I got run over by a taxi instead.
Of all the people I lied to, I was the best at lying to myself. The study calls this act “self-deception” and explains that it involves a degree of mental dissociation. I knew fainting was dangerous, problematic, and unmanageable, but I didn’t want to stop drinking. So I developed a mental process that allows me to ignore selective memories and tell myself what I want to hear. When I woke up with vomit in my hair after drinking heavily the night before, I decided I was carsick on the taxi ride home. The reason I passed out and cried was because of work stress. When I got home with a guy I didn’t know, I pretended it was a funny story. I wanted to believe that I could control how my brain and body processed alcohol, but the truth was, I had no idea what would happen if I started drinking.
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There were nights when I tripped on sidewalks and curbs, the ground sprang up and I threw my face forward. The impact burned through my palms and knees, sending a message to my brain to get up. I always jumped right in and put everyone around me at ease. fine. I tried to shake off the pain, but once I noticed it, it became hard to ignore. Revealing the truth about my blackout was a similar shock to my system. After years in the water, I finally surfaced for air and was examining what was left of my life. I realized that I wasn’t just wearing a . I lied to myself about why I drank in the first place. I never admitted how hurt and scared I was when I was 16, 24, 26.
When I was 28 and sober, I started analyzing my lies. There were so many things: excuses I invented for missing plans when my hangover was hard, exaggerated details about my love life, my drinking really got out of hand. reality. I couldn’t bear to see my friends and family in their lowest depths, so I built a house to protect myself.
Strangely enough, if you had asked me when I was still drinking, I would have answered that I am an honest person. I didn’t do it to be cruel. It was a survival mechanism. Studies have shown that primates have evolved a propensity to lie to maximize survival, and a 2018 study found that false denial is a coping tool for managing shame and guilt. It is described that it can be useful asI was terribly uncomfortable in my own skin and longed to be someone, someone else., I used to think you would lie too. When my reality was hard, it seemed natural to change the truth. I sometimes worried that my tendency to embellish was making me a bad person, but I justified the action by telling myself that my lies were innocent. I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, I was trying to save myself.
In the process of recovery, I began to understand that lying is a tool many have acquired early in life to deal with discomfort, inadequacy, and internalized shame about their bodies. Alcoholism, as I learned, has to do with our inability to be honest with ourselves and others, not only about drinking, but also about the inner workings of our minds. can actually damage parts of the brain like the frontal lobe. It has been shown to increase the likelihood of action.
But I lied long before I had my first drink. Perhaps some children just let their imaginations run wild and make up stories. As a child, I was taught to lie by someone who had sexually assaulted me. I was taught by my parents and other adults in my life to withhold the truth.Trauma stopped me and retrained my brain to invent lies whenever the truth was too ugly. Wired. My lying habit simply escalated when I discovered alcohol a few years later.
Secrets make us sick. For years, I was in denial about my struggle with alcohol and the truth about my abuse. It didn’t start to heal until I was honest with myself. Well, if I really wanted to recover, I had to start practicing rigorous honesty in all aspects of my life.
To be honest, I’m being blunt here. I was experiencing my emotions for the first time in over a decade and was revealing huge truths to my family and my therapist. Disappointing. When a colleague asked me about my weekend on Monday morning, I said that despite spending the past 48 hours in recovery meetings and lying on the couch, I didn’t talk about fun parties. I had the urge to fabricate and make. If it wasn’t for the drama you made when you were drunk—who did you text the night before? Was everyone mad at me?—My life became calmer. And honestly, sometimes I missed it. How to escape the distractions of managing chaos.
I had too much to lose to lie again. In recovery groups, they say there is a strong link between addiction and loneliness, both in physical and emotional terms. I lied so that I could be someone else. It was a vicious circle that trapped me in shame, and I was ready to get out of it.
A therapist once told me that trauma causes separation and healing means integration. It pained me to admit the number of mornings the night before when I had woken up with absolute fear and depressed shame when I was drinking. Sometimes I felt uneasy that I cared so little about what happened to me. I also moved away from my inner child, a little girl who was taught to lie as a form of protection. I began to learn how to pay attention to the emotions and fears that make us lie and drink and comfort us all.
To be honest, there are still moments that make me want to lie. When you forget to send an email, when you haven’t seen the movie everyone is talking about yet, or when you want to avoid conflict. I’m not perfect However, I continue to make an effort to quickly admit when I have acted unfaithfully towards myself or someone else. It’s what I’ve been looking for in my bad breath.
from drinking games By Sarah Levy. Copyright © 2023 by the author and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.
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