I’m a liar. There. I said it. Feels good to say it out loud. Although, not much of a surprise, considering I’m a [recovering] drug addict. A drug addict saying they’re lying, is like the Ocean saying it’s salty. It just comes with the territory.
I don’t remember where I first heard the saying, “How do you know when an addict is lying? Their lips are moving”, but it sure did hit home, under the covers of shame, and behind the mask of denial and reckless abandon, where I was having such fun living – for so many years.
When I was in third grade, I walked up to my sister after school and announced, very proudly, I was going to go steal, asking her if she’d like to join the fun.
“What? You shouldn’t do that. That’s wrong.”
I know, it’s so exciting
“So, no then?” I dismissed her warning, and wanted an answer. I wasn’t keen on the fact she turned down my awesome idea, nor did I appreciate her tone in telling me I shouldn’t do it.
Some more Addict Fun Facts: telling us we shouldn’t do anything, is like giving us a personalized invitation to go ahead and touch the wall directly under the Wet Paint sign. We love breaking rules – and when someone ups the ante by waving the, “NO! you can’t/shouldn’t/aren’t allowed to!” wand, our inner-voices cackle (ok, some of us actually make the noise), and we start an open tab at the bar in Watch-me-ville.
Like Kristen Johnston shares in her hilarious new memoir, GUTS , I also believe addiction is a brain thing. I’m not saying my eight-year old Bonnie and Clyde mentality is completely proportional to my hard-wiring (all kids think about snaking a Barbie doll and candy bar from the grocery store, right?), but the fact that I took pleasure with just the thought of deceit, speaks volumes. Seven years before I snorted my first line, I already had VIP passes to Watch-me-ville, which is all part of the convoluted blueprint nestled in my cranium.
I remember his hand touching my shoulder, and realizing his face looked familiar. He was the dude watching me slip the Barbie and candy bar in my tattered, brown-suede purse with embroidered daisies on the front and tassels hanging below.
“Little girl, you need to come with me.”
I knew I was busted, and was scared shitless.
After what seemed like an eternity, sitting in the Baltic office in the back of the grocery store, I met the two policemen who were ready to take me downtown. I was handcuffed, and placed in the back seat of the police car. I don’t remember if the cops even spoke to me, but all I kept thinking was how trapped I felt. I passed the thirty minute drive-time by trying to read their lips in the front seat, through the plastic divider.
The thing about addicts and lying (and manipulation, which is the Cadillac of lying), is that no matter how many lies we tell, or who is caught in the cross fire, it’s our own selves who fall victim to our bullshit the most. On some level, we actually believe our lies. We live in denial – we aren’t addicts, we don’t have a problem, we won’t get caught, and on and on.
I used to chop coke methodically with friends, telling myself, if I don’t do this alone, I’m not an addict. When I started snorting nail-fulls alone in my room before school, my mantra changed slightly: if I only do this on the weekends, I’m not an addict. Well, you see where this is going. The line in the sand (or, eight-ball) kept moving, and it was my own denial controlling the stick.
I’m not proud of my lying past, but have no issue owning up to it. Part of who we are today, is a direct result to owning our shit from yesterday.
I live now, in my truth – and it’s an awesome feeling not having to lie – about anything.
Especially with myself.
So here’s the part where you tell me: Have you ever lied to yourself? What was it about, and what made you change?