Why Openness & Honesty is Critical for Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol
Published: August 25, 2020
You don’t need to be addicted to any drug to learn that honesty is the best policy. Honesty is one moral character trait that everyone needs to cultivate to be successful in life. Being honest is more than what the majority believe (or want to believe); being honest means telling the truth. It is going the extra mile to show your genuine character that reflects the ‘real you’ and being open about what you say and do. Why is honesty so important when you are recovering from drugs? Because it is the cornerstone to helping you maintain sobriety, while also helping you become an open person.
The Vicious Cycle of Dishonesty in Addiction
People can easily fall into the trap of dishonesty once becoming addicted to their substance of choice. When in active addiction, their daily life and activities are mostly guided by deceit and lies, and with time, lying can become a new norm. Sadly, the cycle doesn’t stop with lying to yourself. Many addicts lie to themselves and fool themselves into thinking their life is normal and perfect. They lie to parents, friends, family, coworkers, and others in an attempt to get what they need. Even worse, they lie to everyone around them to try to mask the stigma of addiction. And what is the result? They lose control and lie to themselves in an effort to try to conserve the habit.
Unfortunately, dishonesty doesn’t last for a day or a week. It persists as long as you remain addicted. Unfortunately, many addicts will accept and tolerate their own lies because they can’t face reality. The pain of being open and truthful becomes overwhelming, and they end up living a double life… causing more harm to themselves and the people around them.
How Dishonesty can Harm Your Recovery Process
How soon you recover from substance abuse addiction depends on how soon you embrace honesty. In fact, honesty is the first step in Alcohol Anonymous (AA) where the person must ‘admit that you are powerless over alcohol, and your life had become unimaginable.’ You are merely accepting your situation and being very honest to yourself and others.
Honesty is one personal quality that will help you recover quickly rather than dishonesty which can:
Telling lies is an unhealthy coping tactic that you develop when you are addicted. You don’t want to tell the truth because you fear the consequences of your past actions. But should you lie in order to protect yourself? How long will you continue living a double life?
Seeking help and being open and honest is what you need to quicken your recovery process. Although you may struggle to accept that you are dishonest, it is worth acknowledging and accepting accountability when it happens as soon as possible. Being dishonest will not only make you feel guilty but can also contribute to falling back into abusing substances again. You need to track your behavior, and keeping a journal is one way that can help.
Make You Feel Trapped
Just like in your active addiction, dishonesty can make you feel trapped in your recovery. You need to release yourself from the ‘hook’ to maintain sobriety. Don’t fear facing challenges head-on. To make progress in your recovery, you have to openly own up to any problem and be ready to accept and take action to solve them. At first, you may find it difficult to stop abusing your favorite drug, but you focus on your honesty. Let it be your priority and practice it daily, just like you would exercise daily to build muscle.
Break Your Relationships
Rebuilding relationships is as meaningful as healing from addiction. Alcohol and substance abuse addiction might have made you lose connection with everyone around you, including family, friends, and coworkers. You need to repair the relationships that might have fallen apart for you to live well with people after you get through with addiction. Dishonesty is one thing that makes you prioritize habit over relationships. Now that you are in a recovery program, your main goal should be on honesty to lay the foundation of reconnecting with people you might not be in good terms with.
Honesty Is a Journey
You will not achieve honesty in one day during the recovery process – recovery is a journey. Be prepared to face setbacks as well as victories. One thing you should practice each day during and after recovery is honesty. Don’t give up when you fail. You are never perfect. It is okay to make mistakes but learn from them. Know where you went wrong, promise yourself not to repeat the same mistake. Appreciate yourself when you succeed. Keep the memories of your positive things and use them as motivation to better your life.