Being Totally Transparent
Being an honest person in recovery is essential to maintaining your sobriety. But like the old saying says, “bad habits are hard to break.” People in active addiction are master manipulators and are quite accomplished at being dishonest in order to hide their addictions from others. All addicts rely on self-deception and denial to keep using. By the time I got to the end of my addiction, I could not even open my mouth without trying to deceive others to try to hold on to the type of life that I was living. Ironically, laying in a hospital bed in intensive care, I decided to become honest for once. Maybe is was the medical evidence that made me become honest or maybe it was my Higher Power letting me know that the insanity was over, but that one day made me take the first step toward sobriety.
Looking back on my life, I learned to lie at a young age. Growing up in the late 60’s and 70’s was a different era than that of today. I was bullied for being different. Common slurs were hurled toward me on a daily basis. Fag and gay was a constant onslaught. My defense mechanism was to lie and try to deceive others. So. the dishonesty in my life began. I lied to avoid consequences and tried everything to be something I was not and to be socially acceptable during my formative years. Also, during these years, I experienced my first taste of alcohol and drugs starting at the age of 13. Little did I know that the decisions I made as a child would continue to the age of 49, when I finally decided to get honest.
There are many reasons why those in active addiction lie. One reason people are dishonest is to avoid consequences. They will lie to protect themselves from the consequences of their own actions. Those is addiction can also be dishonest out of habit. Being dishonest becomes a norm to them and it can be their automatic response in order to protect themselves. People can also be dishonest to get what they want. Dishonesty becomes a way to a means. Addicts also lie because they become delusional. They start to believe their own lies. Then lies begin to build on other lies and it becomes an endless cycle. Being dishonest is just an addicts defense mechanism to maintain some sense of existence and survival.
When we get to the point of recovery, honesty in ourselves and in our lives becomes essential. Honesty is the first step in healing. If addicts are working a twelve-step program, the first step is based in personal honesty. We are taught in recovery that the dangers of being dishonest can lead to relapse. But rigorous honesty helps you restore trust in yourself and allows you to become closer to those that surround you in your community. It also takes personal strength to admit your faults and wrongs. It takes a huge amount of personal courage to face your inadequacies and wrong doings and to make amends to those you have hurt. It takes a strong individual with a personal commitment to their program to adhere to strict honesty in their daily life.
So, on that one day in October at the age of 49, I found my inner truth. I finally became honest with myself and my loved ones and admitted that I needed help. That was my first taste of honesty in my life. After treatment and out-patient that first year, I struggled to be honest. It is ironic that I didn’t lie about big things, I lied about little things. People would ask how I was feeling and I always replied good and great! But on the inside, I was screaming that I was angry, confused, sad, etc. I had to learn that sometimes it is ok to not be ok. It took a long time to become honest with others and myself. Four and a half years later, I still have to keep myself in check to be honest on a daily basis. As we learn in the program it is progress and not perfection. Each day, I know that I am making progress and I have to make a conscious effort to know that the truth is enough!
If you would like to share you story with Heroes in Recovery, you can reach me by email at Bo@heroesinrecovery.com. Please comment and share my blog! I love hearing from others!