Honesty is a virtue that humans are taught from the time they learn to speak. For those in recovery, the importance of honesty is immeasurable. Addicts need to be honest with themselves and others to begin any semblance of healing. It is often suggested that people who are not honest in their relationships with their friends, family, and support community are more at risk of relapse. Dishonesty can be a common relapse trigger because when people lie, they become worried about what will happen once the truth comes out. Honesty in recovery is important because it allows individuals to confront their addiction head-on, and deal with the underlying issues that led to the addiction in the first place.
The reasoning behind the lying is often so the individual can hide from the consequences of their own actions. This, in turn, brings on feelings of shame and too much guilt, causing the person to isolate themselves. Isolation can lead to depression and anxiety, which when mixed with feelings of guilt and shame can cause mental and emotional relapse that can lead to substance use disorder. It’s a vicious cycle that can be prevented by being honest from the start.
Stuck in Addiction
Recovery can feel impossible if one is not willing to be open and honest with themselves and the people around them. This is because those that lie are often living in denial, hiding away from the difficult challenges that lie ahead. Self-deception is a common defense mechanism used by addicts to avoid confronting their issues. The recovery process cannot progress this way, as you cannot take the appropriate steps to fix your problems if you refuse to be honest with yourself or the people around you about your addiction. If an individual fails to establish honesty as a personal quality, they may be at a higher risk of relapse.
Lying is often used to justify someone’s continued addiction. Being unable to manage your life without the aid of drugs or alcohol makes recovery impossible as you fall back into old habits. You must face difficulties as they come to you, practicing honesty every single day to make it second nature. To help this process, try keeping a journal to monitor your behavior, recording any instances of dishonesty in your life so you are aware and can change this behavior.
The Mind of an Addict
Lying to others is often a natural coping mechanism developed by addicts in the midst of their addiction. This implies that the individual is returning to ineffective coping strategies that were previously used to deal with life’s challenges. Lies are told so the person can keep living in a state of denial and avoid admitting that they have an active addiction. They lie to family members, friends, and anyone else to obtain what they are wanting in the moment they crave it.
Without dishonesty, addicts would have to come face-to-face with the anger, emotional hurt, and pain they have caused because of their substance abuse. Lying helps them camouflage their bad habits so they can try to maintain a clean image around those close to them and still continue using.
Honesty & Shame
Most people who are suffering or have suffered from alcohol or drug abuse are often hiding trauma inside their subconscious. Feelings of remorse, regret, and guilt stagnate in their minds since they are likely to be embarrassed about what has happened.
Being honest means actively acknowledging and recognizing the truths you would probably not like to think about. It also means being vulnerable and opening up to others to discuss your weakness without restraint. This can be an incredibly uncomfortable process, especially when you must admit to things you have buried deep inside of you.
Being able to trust that honesty will set you free from trauma, shame, and guilt is the first step to progress. After this, you will be able to practice telling the truth and see the effect it has on your life.
It is known that you cannot heal if you are hiding from the reality that you are in. Ignoring its effects on you, your loved ones, and your life as a whole is catastrophic. In a successful recovery, being honest with yourself means facing the underlying causes of your addiction. Learning to be completely honest does not happen overnight. You must practice it until it becomes second nature, even when it may be easier to lie.
It’s also important to note that humans are never honest 100% of the time, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you do slip and catch yourself lying. Humans make mistakes, but the power of realizing them and taking responsibility will help you grow. Rather than being hard on yourself, use the situation as motivation to progress in your recovery and maintain positive thoughts.
Falling Back into Old Habits
Falling back into old habits and behaviors can seem rewarding at the moment. However, relapsing will cause you to feel the same guilt and shame as you did before recovery. This is because hiding behind lies causes damage to your personal relationships, yourself, and your overall recovery. Dishonesty destroys relationships honesty builds them.
Lying causes your loved ones to once again walk on eggshells around you. They no longer trust you because of the lies you have told. Rebuilding relationships becomes harder, especially if you are not showing the initiative to stay honest with those you love and care for.
Without honesty, there is no recovery. Being dishonest again causes recovery to slow because the person is unable to confront themselves about the harmful situation they are in and why. You cannot begin to heal without admitting there’s a problem in the first place.
Treatment centers for addiction such as sober living homes can help you learn to be trusting and vulnerable, which makes it easier to be honest with people as you progress in your recovery. Here at Camelback Recovery, the best mental health and addiction treatment center, we can help you begin your path to honesty and recovery. To learn more, call us today at (602) 466-9880.