People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often hide their problems from others. They do this because they want to continue abusing substances without having to listen to anyone or damage their reputation. They’re also usually in denial, so admitting their problem is not something they’re ready to do.
However, addicts can only hide things for so long. Over time, the addiction will spill over into all aspects of life and become more noticeable. Also, addicts become so dependent on drugs or alcohol, they no longer care who knows about their problem. Rather than trying to hide it, they do what they need to do to get their next fix.
Below are some of the games addicts play in order to hide their substance abuse problem from others.
Hide and Seek
This game involves the addict hiding their drug paraphernalia or alcohol bottles around the home. When this evidence is hidden, it makes it more difficult for the family to prove there’s a problem. But, it’s only a matter of time before this evidence is found by a family member. Even when it is found, addicts typically don’t fess up. They just pretend the paraphernalia belongs to someone else.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘bluffing’ used in poker. It’s an act of deception used to make the opponents think you have a better hand than you do, causing them to fold. But bluffing is not just for the poker table. It’s also used to manipulate family members and make them second guess themselves.
For example, you might suspect that your husband is drinking again. Instead of coming clean, he bluffs and makes you think that you’re crazy for having those thoughts. In fact, you might even feel bad about yourself for not trusting him - another manipulation tactic.
In this game, the addict uses more strategies to keep their addiction secret. These strategies also keep family members in a position where they continue to enable the addict. This allows the addict to continue abusing substances with few to no consequences.
Just like in the game of Taboo, the addict creates a situation where speaking about addiction is taboo. If a family member does decide to speak up, the addict holds them accountable for shaming the family and exposing the problem.
Trust Your Instincts. If it Feels Wrong, It Probably Is.
These are just some of the games that addicts play to hide the severity of their addiction. The best way to avoid these games is by not falling for them in the first place. If you believe there’s a problem, there probably is. Trust your instincts, don’t go along with lies because they’re convenient, and enlist help from a professional counselor or treatment center. Families do not have to be alone on this journey.
Awakenings Treatment Center provides intensive outpatient treatment in Agoura Hills, CA. We support the entire family, as we recognize that addiction is a disease that affects the family unit. Contact us today to learn more about our detox and outpatient treatment services in Agoura.