The Great Liars of Addiction and Mental Illness

Rob Clewley
4 min readFeb 28, 2021

Alcoholism and addiction promise us heaven, yet deliver nothing but misery and pain. This is what we alcoholics and addicts have known for some time, the lie that the next time will be different, and it always is — it is always worse.

There is a Christian song that I like that goes by the title, “Fear is a liar”, and the same can be said about addiction and alcoholism as well as depression and anxiety too. These things are liars and very convincing ones that want nothing good for any of us.

I know for me, when the desire for a drink comes to the surface, it is never what it appears to be. There is always a hidden agenda behind it, and it never is something that is good or helpful. The drink leads to the drug and they both lead to the return of chaos and darkness in my life and in the lives of those around me. These things I know to be true after years of experience with listening to that lie one more time, the lie of “let’s have a drink”.

The diseases of alcoholism and addiction lie to people in order to accomplish a goal, to accomplish their goals of destroying our lives little by little. The best liars convince people to believe their falsehoods by painting a rosy and pretty picture, not by showing the truth of darkness and pain that will result.

In terms of the lie of alcoholism/addiction, we are never shown the bad, the pain, and the consequences of that first drink or that first hit. We are shown the fun times, the first one and never the last one. This is how it reels us in one more time, this is the great trap.

For instance, the disease of alcoholism is good at convincing people that they are not alcoholics and can have just one drink. The mind has a way of tricking people in general that things will be different the next time, that we can control and manage our addictions, yet we never are able to. The same is true with mental illness, especially depression. The mind in these instances has a way of tricking us and telling us lies about ourselves, the world, and our own circumstances.

This is a common theme with many diseases and aspects of the mind, this is how our minds work against us. Depression lies to us and tells us untrue things about ourselves — that we are not worthy or good enough, addiction and alcoholism tell us that we aren’t alcoholics or addicts and that we do not have a problem. These are the ways that our minds deceive us and lead us to believe untrue things. The brain has ways to combat such twisted thinking patterns in “normal” people, but for those who have addiction or mental illnesses, that can be more of a challenge for those who do not have ways to fight off these thought processes.

The lies that alcoholism tells people are that they are not alcoholics and that they can safely drink alcohol. The truth is that it is never “just one” and one is too many and a thousand is never enough. The fantasy is that you can drink like a gentleman as they say, but the reality is that that one drink will never be enough and the fun will never return. The fantasy will always be the fantasy and the same is true with drugs, and when we are talking about depression, there are lies to dissect there too.

The depression tells us that we are not good enough and that we deserve to feel that way for what we have done in our past. This is also a lie, it is a way that the disease gets us to think badly of ourselves so that we fall victim to thoughts of suicide, using drugs or alcohol, or other bad things happening to us. These are the lies that we are told to get us into a bad head space and succumb to these things. These lies are meant for our demise, they are not our friends.

I decided to take some time out from my studies in school to write this article about the great lies. I was woken up in the middle of the night with that line playing in my head, “Alcoholism is a liar, addiction is a liar, depression is a liar.” These played in my head and it got me thinking about these very issues and these lies. These things our illnesses and diseases tell us are not fact based things and this is important to remember when the lies show up and attempt to throw us off.

The great lie is to question every thing we think we know about ourselves and question who we are — the key is to deny the lie and remember who we are deep inside and continue the journey that we are on. I believe that if we are able to fight these lies with facts and hold on to the truth, then we will be just fine in the end. Depression and addiction thrive on manipulation of the facts and on our insecurities and do not like the truth. Believe the truth my friends, it is the easier, softer way!



Rob Clewley

Author, activist, American. Love to write everything from politics to recovery and much more. Find me on Twitter under my name for much more!