Alcoholics and addicts of all varieties are truly great liars. I was greatly reminded of that just about a week ago when a potential sponsee pulled a fast one on me that I fell hook, line, and sinker for.
After all the years I’ve been around the rooms of recovery and all the lies I’ve been told from people that were still living deep in their disease of addiction, I can honestly say it’s been a good while since someone actually lied to me where I didn’t know it was a lie. That’s why I was so surprised when it happened the other day and this is how it all started.
I had met this guy at the local place I volunteer at. He had been one of the clients at the meeting I put on Wednesday evenings and had engaged quite a bit throughout it, asking plenty of questions, including asking for my number. Having given my number out countless times in the past, I didn’t place much stock into him even using it. Ironically, I was wrong, as I received a call the very next day after he had checked out of the crisis center.
He immediately asked for a sponsor, of which I agreed to meet with him that Sunday afternoon. He then proceeded to call me the next two days, checking in to help him remain clean and sober for another day. When Sunday morning came, I received a text asking for confirmation of where we were meeting and I responded with the details. Two hours prior to our start time, he called me, asking again for confirmation of where we were meeting, indicating he hadn’t gotten my text.
After having talked with him at length on the previous three days, I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he really hadn’t gotten my text with the details. I gave them to him again and then he asked a strange question, which at the time I didn’t think anything of. He told me his girlfriend was probably going to come with him, as she too was struggling with some alcohol addiction issues, but had some level of agoraphobia and needed to see the configuration of our meeting for her to attend. I told him that would be breaking tradition and again accepted he was telling me the truth.
When 5pm hit, I was waiting at a Starbucks where we were to meet. 5pm turned into 5:15, then 5:30, with none of my calls to him getting answered. At 5:50, my phone finally rang. He sounded normal and profusely apologized that his car wasn’t working. He said he had been trying for the past few hours to get it working and finally gave up. He apologized again and asked if we could meet up sometime during the week to attend another meeting. After telling him the only availability I had was the following Sunday at the same time, he agreed to try again then, but in the meantime was going to go check out another meeting I had suggested. And then I asked him to call me the next time he might be late for one of our meetings.
I moved on with my evening after that, attending my home group, during which my phone rang twice from a number I didn’t recognize. When I called it back after my meeting ended, it was this guy’s wife. She asked me if her husband had come to my meeting, which I thought odd, given how he had briefly mentioned that his car trouble had involved his wife trying to help him get it started.
When she told me that he had left in his car at 3pm and had just returned home, I, of course, knew then he had lied to me. She continued by letting me know that he said the meeting was great and how good of a lead it was. What’s funny is how my meeting is an open discussion and not a lead. It also then occurred to me why he wanted that picture of the configuration at the meeting. He was going to use it to convince his wife that he attended!
Here’s the sad reality I will re-mention….
Alcoholics and addicts of all varieties are truly great liars. They do everything right for a short bit of time, creating smoke and mirrors for everyone close to them to believe they are finally on the right track. But inevitably, at some point, for many, the disease beckons them back in to where they then create even greater smoke and mirrors, through lies and deception, so that no one knows they’re back in their disease. Lies then become greater. More lies are told to cover up the previous lies. Until all those around them don’t even know what to believe anymore, like this panicked wife calling me and eventually putting me on a three-way call out of anger, which was extremely uncomfortable to say the least.
So, while I have no idea whether this guy’s wife really was agoraphobic or not, I was actually thankful to have been on the receiving end of all this guy’s lies. If for anything, it reminded me that addicts are sick to the very core and will lie in the most amazing ways where even they tend to believe them, just to escape the truth that they are sick and screwed up.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Artur Dawson