How to handle lies and words vs. actions


Does anyone have advice on how to handle lies? I know it’s a huge part of addicted behavior, but sometimes it just drives me nuts. My S/O has recently relapsed after four months Of sobriety. I’m so proud of that work he put in, but it’s been a rough few weeks. He’s been really struggling, lost his job, and is almost back to where he was in December before he entered rehab. It literally took very little time before he was there again. Since then he’s already had to detox once on his own. This past weekend he was Blacked out drunk and then ended up detoxing and getting extremely ill from Monday-Tuesday. Today, after finding out the job is gone, he started back up drinking again after two days. Whenever he’s drinking, he always tells me he’s not. So if I say, “Have you been drinking?” He always looks me dead in the face and says no, even though I know he is. I know I’m not supposed to take it personally, but it’s hard. How do I handle this? Do I even ask him if he’s been drinking if I suspect it? How do I respond? One of my boundaries is I don’t want to be around him when he’s drinking, because it can go from Good to bad in minutes. Because of the nature of his addiction, this means I barely see him when he’s drinking. It’s really hard, because I miss him so much. But it’s better for my safety and well being. How do I navigate this boundary when he’s lying? Lately, Ive just been calling him on his lies and telling him I’ll talk/see him when he’s sobered up. I’m sure that hurts, but I have to do what’s best for me too.

Here’s the other catch. When I ask him what his plan is, he keeps saying he’s going back to AA and he wants to get back to his nightly meetings. He’s even been drunk spouting off AA slogans to me, and talking to his AA guys drunk. It’s bizarre. His actions are completely opposite of what he’s spouting off. So I feel like I’m playing these back and forth games of listening to him go on and on about things he’s not even really wanting or willing to do at the moment. Almost like he’s just saying what I want to hear, and then does the complete opposite. Or maybe he really wants it, but legit can’t again. Even after only a few weeks, he’s right back to full blown addiction. What should I say when he says these things? How can I better encourage him to get back into treatment? Do I just leave him alone to his devices until he comes around? He claims he doesn’t need treatment and just needs to get back to AA. I’ve heard this before many times. Usually it takes dire times before he’ll go back to treatment or to an out patient program. I just wish he wouldn’t wait until it’s that bad.


Hi @Jess,

It sucks to be lied to, for sure. But it’s his choice to lie about it, and that’s important to know.

If you zoom out and look at the facts, you can see that he’s choosing how to live his life. We can’t make anyone go to treatment or AA, and if we try, we just suffer more.

The best way to handle the lies is to just be honest about how you feel when he lies, and when he drinks. No need to ask him if he’s drinking if you already know the answer. You can simply say, “I love you, and when you’re drinking I feel uncomfortable, so I’m going to go now.” And then follow through.

Being open about your emotions makes a much stronger impact than trying to encourage him to change. You can tell him you feel sad, disappointed, rejected, etc. That’s really all you need to say, and then always follow through on your boundary.

And use the time apart to do something loving for yourself. Give yourself whatever you need to keep moving forward with a fulfilling, happy life. That’s the best gift you could give him anyway: a happy, fulfilled partner :two_hearts:


In case you didn’t already see this one, this was a helpful thread on this topic last year: How do you deal with lying in the moment?.

In short, you aren’t alone :heart:


Thank you…it’s been tough. Especially after 4 months of sobriety. It was so lovely to have my best friend back. Sometimes I just need to hear reminders from people who understand. :heart:


I’m glad to hear you’re taking time for yourself and hanging in there. I know this is a really hard time, but it sounds like you’re doing everything you can and you are absolutely right that whether or not something bad happens, it’s not because of anything you did or didn’t do. Living your life is modeling healthy behaviors and I think our loved ones need to see that. I hope you have a wonderful weekend! My family lives in the UP, it’s a beautiful place!


Thank you @Tlee22. I think I’ve read that one but I’ll definitely read it again. He’s very bad off right now. But I’m holding strong. I’m Living life and taking care of myself. I’m supposed to go Up North (we live in Michigan) tomorrow. If I go I’ll be leaving him in a pretty bad state, but I think I’m going to go. I’m scared because what if something happens? But I suppose there’s Nothing I can do until he’s ready to go back inpatient and I think some time in nature will do me some good. I’m doing better then I thought I would. I’ve had some tears, but overall I’m more aware that the ways he acts isn’t him. It’s his alcoholism. I’ve been doing better about staying away and blocking him when he gets nasty. We’ve even had some conversations about seeking treatment soon. But in the meantime I’m taking care of myself. I’m powerless over alcohol and I’m remembering the three C’s. I didn’t cause it. I can’t control it. And I can’t cure it. I’m so thankful for all of my support systems. I truly believe there’s always hope even at the worst of times. :heart:


Hi Jess. I’ve been where you are and I’ve been where you SO is. I’ve been the liar and I’ve been lied to by my SO. My then BF and I were addicted to opiates for 7 years. After years of being lied to by him and lying to my own family, I realized the only thing I could do was surrender. I was no longer going to believe one word from my boyfriend and I was not going to speak one more word to my loved ones. No more promises or apologies. Just action. I had to see with my own eyes that my BF was serious about getting clean and sober and I needed my family to see that I was serious about my recovery.
It took about 4 months for me to see that my BF was getting clean for the right reasons…not to simply appease me. It took my family a bit longer to start trusting me. It was frustrating but I got through it with the help of other people in the recovery community. I know it seems like BS that he’s spouting off AA slogans and talking to guys from AA but for me, once I spent some time in AA, it was always in my head. Years ago, during a relapse, I would hear the sayings in my head and it made drinking and using a lot more shameful for me, which eventuallycaused me to quit again. Your SO is in exactly the right place. It would be perfect if everyone who walked through the doors of AA was ready to stop drinking right then and there, but it’s not always the case. Its a good thing that he’s keeping close to the program. We never know what will cause us to stop for good. 80% of people don’t quit on the 1st try. Most of us in recovery have had at least one relapse. All of that being said, you must do what’s best for you. Ultimately, you have to decide what type of relationship and life you want but “nothing changes if nothing changes”. I wish you strength in this situation. If you need anything feel free to reach out. If you haven’t looked into Al-Anon, it may be helpful. They are likely having meetings online during this crazy time. :pray:


@Tlee22 I agree. He’s already been talking about how much he misses normal life. He hates being like this. His alcoholism is to the point where he can no longer be around people, go places, or do anything. It pretty much takes a hold of him and he just sleeps, stumbles to the liquor store, gets sick, gets angry, blacks out, and does nothing…on repeat. It’s very sad. I think me staying away, setting boundaries, and living life let’s him know that it’s not normal at all. It’s definitely encouraging him to want to change. He wants me to come over today to call some treatment centers. I’ve been wording everything in a way where it’s been all his idea (with some guidance). So it’s a step. Sometimes it takes a couple calls before it actually happens but it’s progress that he even wants to try.

My uncle’s property is way up in the lower peninsula, but yes Northern Michigan and the UP are beautiful. You have a lovely holiday weekend too. :heart:


just read one of your replies and you sound great! I get so angry when I hear about people who are hurt by alcoholism or addiction. It can take great people from us. I’ll pray for you both


@Knowit100 Thank you so much for your response. He’s in the end stages of alcoholism. He’s either going to die or get better. There’s no middle ground. And I know his chances always seem so slim, but there’s always hope. He stayed sober for 3 months last year. And 4.5 months this year. I believe there’s always hope and one day he will say enough is enough.

He did make the conscious effort on Monday night to stop after three straight weeks of drinking. He’s heading back to rehab on Sunday, maybe earlier if they can get him in. He had a pretty rough detox at home. Not the worst I’ve seen but pretty bad. I actually ran errands with him today and watched tv with him tonight. It was nice to have him almost back.

I agree. I really do believe all that he’s learned in recovery and in AA is always in his head now. He never enjoys drinking anymore. He said he hates every second of it. Even his first walk to the store is awful he says. But something takes over him In those moments. He said it’s like he’s a shark seeking it out in any way he can. But AA means the world to him. He misses his guys and the fellowship. He said he really wants to get back to where he was before. But for right now it’s literally one second at a time.