How your loved one may be hiding their addiction from you might surprise you

Anyone who has a close friend, loved one, or relative that has a drug addiction can agree that addicts will go to great lengths to hide their addiction. This is an all too familiar pattern of lying that not only deceives those close to the addict, but the addict themselves. The habits of hiding and lying are a part of the disease of addiction and it can be very difficult for family members or loved ones to experience this behavior.

Addicts often hide their addiction for several reasons….

Two of the strongest reasons for hiding addictive behaviors are:
1. Self-denial and to hide
2. The severity of addiction

More than likely, none of us ever grow up thinking we can become addicted, but the sad truth is that addiction can happen in small ways and then become a slippery slope. Maybe we experiment with drugs with friends or behind close doors, not understanding the severity and consequences of addiction, and before we know it, we are using regularly. This denial of the severity of addiction can often cause a person to hide their addiction, even from themselves.

Addicts can rationalize their regular use of drugs and are good at hiding them…

Most of the time, addicts typically hide their use as a way of avoiding consequences or “putting away” their problem. Addiction can create a pattern of skilled lying to others and to oneself.  Hiding it is a way of controlling the power of addiction, but it is not until an addict is confronted by the truth in a treatment program that they can see clearly how they have been hiding from others and themselves.

Things to look out for if your loved one is addicted…

Understanding why addicts hide their addiction is important, but if a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol there are seemingly endless places they can hide their drug of choice. Some practical things to look out for if your loved one is addicted are tools of drug delivery.
Some of the most common things to watch out for are inhalation tools such as:
  • manufactured pipes or improvised or makeshift smoking devices made out of household items.
  • Snorting tools used to ingest drugs like cocaine can include straws, rolled up bills, paper tubes, and mirrors
  • Injection tools may seem obvious like needles, a lighter, spoons or a belt, but also watch out for an “injection kit” that is a small container that can be hidden easily.

Addicts can find creative places to hide items around the house…

Some of the most common places to look include:
  • Vents and ducts
  • Sock drawers or in shoes
  • The underside of tables and drawers
  • Video game consoles
  • In or under mattresses

While the hiding spots can be seemingly endless in their creativity, look for clues to how and when your loved one interacts with where they might hide drug paraphernalia. Maybe it is an item or container that never seems to move, or something they only seem to interact with in private or guard very closely. These habits are part of the disease of addiction and can help us confront loved ones with their destructive patterns.

If you need help with your loved one and have questions about their patterns of drug or alcohol use please call our help line.  We have certified addiction counselors waiting to take calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.