Amid addiction, it is not uncommon to become someone you no longer recognize. You may find yourself engaging in activities and behaviors that you would usually never participate in. You may not have stolen or physically hurt someone, but instead, you might have done something as simple as lying. As someone struggling with addiction, you might find yourself being dishonest with not only those around you but yourself as well. This is the paradox of dishonesty: you think it is just lying to others about money, your drug or alcohol use, or other things related to your addiction, but it also includes lying to yourself about the severity of your substance use. Honesty is essential in recovery. You learn how to be open with others and have the courage to show up as your genuine, authentic self. Through honesty, you can heal in a way that you never imagined.
Dishonesty as a Relapse Trigger
Those struggling with addiction often find themselves in a world of dishonesty. Dishonesty can be threatening to your recovery, as it can bring about memories and place you back into a cycle of bad habits, including lying, keeping secrets from others, and living in denial. In addiction, lying serves as a coping method to protect oneself from the pain that may come from telling the truth. However, you cannot live in a world of dishonesty if you wish to heal. The best way to fight against it is, to tell the truth when you can, as soon as possible. This way, you can avoid the guilty conscience that often comes with lying, which can be a strong trigger for relapse.
How Dishonesty Impacts Your Life
Dishonesty is one of the biggest destroyers of relationships, as it shows those close to you that they can no longer trust you. When you were in active addiction, you most likely found yourself prioritizing the substance over your loved ones, which often resulted in you lying to them to spare their feelings or keep you out of trouble. This puts a wrench in relationships, as your friends and family no longer want to be close to you. They can no longer trust you to be open and honest with them. In your recovery, you can begin the journey of repairing these relationships as you make the ones you care about a priority over drugs and alcohol. Focus on telling the truth and being genuine with those you love. Now, you can have a solid foundation to rebuild the relationships upon.
How Can I Work on Honesty in Recovery?
Perhaps one of the hardest parts of recovery is learning how to be honest with yourself. You have to learn to look in the mirror, accept the person staring back at you, and be honest about what is going on inside your head. Once you can accept the truth, you can begin improving your life. After all, you cannot solve a problem that you won’t acknowledge is there.
Acknowledge and Be Open About Your Feelings
To work on dishonesty, you have to face it. A great way to do this is to track how you feel, which pushes you to acknowledge your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Consider keeping a journal or discussing your feelings with your therapist to start. From there, as you feel more comfortable, you can begin to share more openly with others, such as in group therapy or through other mediums such as art, sports, or exercise.
Admit When You Slip Up
If you make a mistake, remember that it is not the end of the world. Learning to be open about your mistakes and knowing that you grow stronger from them is a big step in recovery. When you make a mistake or catch yourself being dishonest, speak up, and reach out. This way, you can acknowledge what you did wrong, talk about it, and learn from your mistakes going forward.
Tell the Truth and Open Up
For those closest to you, they may be hesitant to trust you again after addiction; don’t hold this against them. Instead, work on being truthful and proving that you are committed to your recovery and earning back trust. This way, they can see that you are serious and more willing to rebuild the relationship.
Addiction and dishonesty often go hand in hand -- they allow each other to exist. Addiction needs dishonesty to thrive, and dishonesty needs addiction as a justifier. Dishonesty is dangerous to recovery, as it serves as a trigger to falling back into old habits. Not only does dishonesty pose a risk to your sobriety, but it can continue to wreak havoc on the relationships with those closest to you and yourself. Working on honesty in recovery is not always easy, but it is necessary to continue on your path to healing. At Northstar Transitions, we advocate for honesty in our clients’ lives; we see the value it has in their recovery. We encourage all of our clients to be open, and if they are struggling, we work with them to take baby steps in the right direction. If you or someone you know is struggling with dishonesty in recovery, don’t hesitate to reach out. Call us today at (303) 558-6400 to get back on the path to healing.