Manipulation, Deception, Lies and Your Alcoholic


Mesmerized by the fast talk of the carnival vendor, I found myself trying to win a stuffed toy I could have purchased for MUCH less.

I later found out many of those attractions are rigged to make it extremely hard to win.

I guess you could say I was manipulated and deceived by what I thought would be easy to do.

I wonder in what ways your alcoholic’s behavior is similar to the carnival vendor.

Here are a few ways your alcoholic may manipulate, deceive or even lie to you.


In the early stages of alcoholism the manipulation is quite subtle.

The desire to drink is strong and opportunities are many.

As the illness progresses the manipulation increases.

Your alcoholic becomes more discriminating about who to hang around.

The common ingredient is ALCOHOL.

If there’s no alcohol there isn’t going to be a good time.

Non drinkers are soon excluded from the list of friends or family to visit.

Many situations are twisted around to make them a reason to drink.

It could be too rainy or too hot out; a friend said the wrong thing or didn’t talk to him.

There’s always a reason to drink even when there’s no occasion.

This is indeed manipulation of you and the situation.


Your alcoholic has a vested interest in deceiving you.

If you actually keep tract of how much is spent on alcohol you’ll probably not be happy about it.

So, you are told only part of what is true about how much alcohol your alcoholic drinks.

Bottles may be returned without you knowing just to keep you from realizing just how much he’s drinking.

There are times when your alcoholic no doubt doesn’t remember what actually happened.

However, on many if not most occasions the truth’s harder for your alcoholic to face than deception.

Keeping the truth from you is a way of preserving his habit.


You can debate with me over whether your alcoholic lies to your or whether he just doesn’t know what the truth is.

In practical terms it doesn’t make much difference.

I don’t blame your alcoholic for the lies. They are part of the addiction. It’s almost like they can’t help it.

Here are a few lies that are very common:

  • I can quit anytime, I just don’t want to
  • Your alcoholic has a physical craving for alcohol. If he stops there will be withdrawal symptoms. These are what keeps him using.

  • I only had two beers
  • When this one is used I always ask “were those 40oz?”
    It’s more like I only remember the last two.

  • It helps me function better
  • Alcohol keeps your alcoholic uninhibited but can’t end up better than functioning with unimpaired judgement.

  • I work hard I deserve a drink
  • This is like a diabetic saying I work hard I deserve to eat a whole pie by myself. Of course, that’s absurd.

  • It doesn’t hurt anyone to have a few drinks
  • You’re a testimony to the fact many people are hurt by the few drinks, because they lead to a few more and a few more.

    I would suggest alcoholism effects the whole family and often from generation to generation.

What can you do about the manipulation, deception and lies?

First, don’t be naive about your situation. Even if your alcoholic is in denial, you don’t have to be.

Learn what the truth is and stick with it.

Second, find out how to stop enabling. Practice it until your enabling days are over.

Third, refuse go along with a manipulation; Keep your eyes open to the truth and keep learning; and when your alcoholic speaks lies, don’t accept them. Speak truth in return.

It feels good to walk right by the carnival vendor knowing full well the intent to manipulate and deceive me. The difference today, I’m wise to it and I know the truth.

In what ways have you been manipulated,deceived or lied to by your alcoholic? Share with us in the comment section below.


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Here’s What 20 Other People Thought...

  1. kat

    The ways are exactly as you have spoken, his biggest excuse is to go to an event with his motorcycle, and then he ask for my blessings so it makes it legal, he is always and forever thinking he wants a divorce because he cannot drink
    I hate the feeling of being a third person, and being hated,especially when i gave my life to taking care of him

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      At least Kat, you know what the truth is now.

      • D

        Kat, I fel the same way about giving your life(I’m married). Its been a lonely ride.

      • FreeMyAddict Team

        Things don’t turn out the way we expect when involved with an alcoholic. Often it takes years to find yourself again.

  2. D

    This article was awesome. So so true

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Thanks, I’m glad you’re able to relate to it.

  3. Robin

    my story will have you all shaking your heads or rolling on the floor laughing…I recently told a realtor to drop us because my alcoholic was planning to take a mini vacation with the house down payment I had saved. its still got a scared one hundred dollars in it. Time will tell. Our compromise has been a slush fund he gets after the bills are taken care of.this fund buys a six pack a day for mon -thur and two 30 packs for fri-sun with initial two 30’s and two cartons of cigarettes {four carton habit right now per 2 wk}this is my chosen nightmare. He doesn’t try to manipulate me cause he would rather have me on his side than standing against him. He generally starts out by saying “I know your gonna say no …but”. he is so desperate for friends that he try’s to give em beer and cigarettes and I run them off cause I let them know I am not supporting their habits and neither is my Alcoholic …So the good time buddy’s do hold out too long in my presence. Deception and lies is his MO.But he isn’t finding anything new and I am on to everything so far.He never handles the money, holds a full time job and accepts the budget he gets for two weeks. this works for us …Something has to. I am not interested in leaving him because of his alcohol. unconditional love is not easy but this is what I try to give him. Ya’ll might call me sicker than Him. I live this rodeo with him one day at a time and pray daily. for now it is what it is. thank you Robin

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      At least he hasn’t taken your sense of humor. I’m sure that helps. It really does take courage and character to hang in there with someone who has an illness like alcoholism. Thanks for your comment.

  4. My 51 year old alcoholic husband left me and moved in with his mother. She is the perfect enabler. She dotes on him as if he was a four year old. It’s sickening to watch them together. She acts as if she is his wife and I am the “other women.” She even offered to help him find a cheap lawyer to divorce me. He has used every excuse in the book as to why his drinking is ok. The other day he drove a 18 wheeler to my house so drunk that he could not stand up straight. I just want my life back. My dad was a violent alcoholic and I swore that I would never marry someone like him but I did. Terry is emotionally abusive. I have seen a lawyer to start my divorce and I am in counseling. I need advice for me and this site has helped me greatly. Thank you

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      It sounds to me like your husband is on a path toward destruction. I hope FreeMyAddict gives you the support you need during these difficult times. Remember we offer Free Group Coaching when you become a Community Connect member. or there are other options for Coaching Available. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Sad

    Lies and deception is the life of a spouse to alcohol. Yes I mean alcohol even though it is my husband who is the alcoholic. It is the alcohol controlling/manipulating/…. my husband and he allows it. I do see how he is addicted and it is a sickness, but he also chooses that path and has allowed it to the point of me suffering for all his choices,wrong doings, lies/deceipt, destructive path, abuse. After so long of trying to help the alcoholic… and having to face that his abuse has made me rundown/exhausted,…. and for me to be safe/alive/healthy I have to be on my own.

    Yet still the alcohol/alcoholic has affected me being able to do just that. His lies and enabling/dysfunctional family help him further hurt me. He seeks those who will be gullable and further lie to help him. How is it the one doing the harm continuously has those who lie/cheat/steal/abuse in his behalf? My only wrong doing is loving a man I never knew to be an alcoholic and for caring when I found out and tried for years to help or do things to keep us going,paying bills,…. Yes it is a sickness but it is also a choice and lifestyle wanted by the alcoholic.

    Maybe one day I will be totally free of such sickness and things going on in my life to be truly free to have my own life as I wish it. At the back of my mind I wonder how far the alcoholic will go. I have a lawyer to start helping me get my life back but still the lies and deceipt and games played by the alcoholic, his warped dysfunctional enabling family has spread around to affect any semblance of peace I can muster. It seems to be an ongoing problem and one that I believe will be in my life until I move elsewhere so the alcohol/alcoholic/alcoholic family can no longer reach me.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      The emotional pain you feel is very familiar to most if not all of FreeMyAddict readers. I’m glad you’re in a place to look out for your best interests. Whether you stay or leave, you need to be okay. The illness of alcoholism effects the whole family and it becomes a pathology with it’s own rules. Keep visiting FreeMyAddict and let us be support for you during this time. Thanks for your comment.

  6. Just Woke Up

    I “Just Woke Up” literally & figuratively. Last night after returning from vacation I was ultimately faced with the ultimate reality. I caught my bf drinking in the garage only moments after being home.

    It’s now occurred to me what has occurred and what the truths really are. This is some wake up call & I’m just numb from the reality. Thanks for this article, I resemble & recognize the read…

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I’m glad you the article was a benefit to you. Eventually the numbness wears off. Be careful you don’t get lulled into believing what you’ve come to know as truth isn’t real. Many family and friends of those who are addicted to alcohol or other drugs discount what they see to believe what they want to be true. The result… Emotional Pain.

      You’ve learned some truth. Use it to grow in your understanding of your bf’s problem with alcohol. Speak truth to him without reservation. It’s the best hope for his recovery.

  7. Karla

    I’m engaged to an alcoholic. I asked him to do three things today since he’s a teacher and had the day off. Instead of having any of these things done, he was passed out on the couch when I got home from my 9 hour day at work. I told him that this was it for me and that the wedding is off. I love him, but I’m exhausted.

    I should add that he suffers from withdrawal seizures and because of this, he can’t drive. I’ve got to tote him around so that he can go to work. He wrecked his car a while back because he had a withdrawal seizure while driving. He binge drinks and now it’s gone from just beer to him hiding vodka. Of course, he denies drinking it.

    Under the influence, he’s spat in my face, called me names, insulted my family and dog and even kicked in my dog’s cage (though he swears the dog wasn’t in it at the time). It’s another story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When he’s not drinking, he’s sweet and attentive. I moved 600 miles away from home to help him realize a dream of his and so now I’m alone. I’m too scared to tell my parents about him because I don’t want them to think poorly of him.

    There’s always a reason to drink. Some stressful event. Sober, he says I don’t deserve this (his drinking) but the very next day, he’s at it again. Do I just cut him off?

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      You make a prudent decision to hold off on the wedding. You’re already seeing significant signs of alcoholism. Your fiance needs to seek detoxification from alcohol. He’s likely unable to get off it on his own. Detox should be followed up with treatment for the addiction. I’m sure he isn’t readily accepting the idea he has a problem… but he DOES.

      I’m available for coaching for you Mastery Coaching.

      As a Certified Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor I’m also able to work with your fiance if he’d like. These services are rendered through Skype.

      You need to be very direct with your fiance and speak truth to him. There’s no need to hide what’s happening. Truth set everyone free.

  8. Julie

    2nd marriage and last! 1st marriage ended after two years of Al-Anon. Counselor asked me three questions in a 15 minute session: “Do you think he will change?” “No” “Do you think you can change him?” “No” “Can you live with him the way he is?” “No”. Counselor responded “There is no reason for you to come back to see me”.

    Al-Anon will not let you discuss ‘your alcoholic’ – ‘focus only on yourself’. I understand ‘happiness is a decision’. While practicing this self help method, I found myself being a ‘pretender’, acting that everything was fine when it wasn’t. Same three questions apply. I didn’t realize how controlling and cunning he was initially (You would think I would have seen the signs). So after many years, the demon alcohol reared it’s ugly head when I stopped pretending. I started speaking truths, speaking ‘only’ when he is sober. Then came the emotional and verbal abuse and a slight display of temper although not yet physical which would be the final decision maker. But his struggle with losing control of me is extremely abusive (he does not see it this way).

    Although I have come to understand this concept of ‘being the best that you can be’, it doesn’t help day to day living with the truth. He is in complete denial and twists everything around that I am the problem. I know the struggle is his, it truly does feel like your falling off a cliff when you let go.

    I could selfishly get out of the relationship but after 23 years of building a life around our home, no longer physically strong to work three jobs to start all over, I love our hobbit house and cherish the granddaughters. I can’t help but wonder if you make the selfish decision for your own peace or if faith will help you make the right decision for the overall best interest of ‘everyone’.

    His family has turned me into the bad guy because I no longer ‘play’ the games that everything is ok. I realize it is easier for them to focus on me as the bad guy instead of facing the truth that their family member is in serious trouble. I dread the day the granddaughters witness this awful disease and being a protector, I want to shield them from it.

    I have turned to volunteer work (giving toward something rewarding which has turned into my lifeline), he can’t stand it! ‘I should be working, I should be home cleaning the house, I should be at the bars with him, even a cockroach is my fault…

    I hope sharing some of these (self help method) experiences help those out there and I look forward to input. It’s so glad to have found a site I can share truths with without dumping on ‘my’ family/friends. The carnival concept helps keep it in perspective.

    Day by Day, Julie ~

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Julie, Thanks so much for your input. Al-Anon is a great organization and it helps people deal with their issues separate from those of the alcoholic. That being said there are times a person needs to vent about the frustrations, hurt and anger resulting from the day to day struggles living with an alcoholic. I appreciate your candor in your comments.
      While some people say just leave, your point is one I know many share. If you’ve put so many years into building a life together which includes home and family, why should YOU give it up because He’s ILL? I say you shouldn’t have to.
      You have done some remarkable things: You’ve found a purpose beyond being the scapegoat for your alcoholic (volunteering), You’ve recognized your alcoholic’s family will side with him regardless of the alcohol (what’s new?) and you’ve found sharing to be a meaningful part of being okay (freemyaddict is about exactly this idea).
      Please continue to visit us and comment freely.

  9. Burian

    My alcoholic wife left me after fourteen years of marriage taking our children with her. She is having affairs and treating the children with the same neglect she gave me. I am fighting for custody. She is a compulsive liar. People believe her story that I was abusive!? Police investigated and I was never charged of course. I suffered like a second class husband for fourteen years. Our children are suffering and I am their only strength. She uses them for Government funding. She days she Hates me. I am crushed. I gave my life for her, wound up so stressed I lost myself and yelled at her for drinking away our life savings. She is on her own and her personality changed from a good person to an adulterer who only cares about herself. I love her but she is gone. I am struggling to get the children. She is smoking, drinking and surrounding herself with people who drink and the all support divorce. Pray for my children and my wife. I have died inside and it will be years before I can breathe again. I hate the lies! Your website really does help. I do not feel alone.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I hear and understand you carry emotional pain and concern for your children. Alcoholics make poor decisions based on impaired thinking. Prayer is sometimes the best resource in these times.

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