Honesty is as valuable a currency as any. One of the most respected character traits to any decent human being, honesty isn’t only about not telling lies. True honesty is about being transparent, communicative, and real with yourself and others. Honesty, specifically in recovery, conveys openness and transparency. Honesty in recovery can also be rewarding, affirming to oneself and others that a person is who they say they are; they don’t just talk about it, they care about it.
Dishonesty In Recovery: What’s The Worst That Could Happen?
What’s the worst that can happen when you’re dishonest with yourself? To answer that, it must first be clear as to why lying happens in the first place. Oftentimes, people get into the habit of lying because they fear what wrath they may have to endure if they tell the truth. This, however, is nothing more than another way to cope with reality. Lying doesn’t change the truth, it just hides it.
When you neglect the truth, feelings of guilt could eventually ensue, but that’s not the worst of it. Eventually, one’s habit of suppressing the truth could put one sobriety at risk. It’s not easy, to be honest, but it pays off in ways that money can’t buy or substances can’t satisfy. One way to remain honest with oneself is to keep a journal. Writing down feelings and objective truths could go a long way in practicing honesty in recovery.
In addition to this, dishonesty also makes people feel trapped, just as it does to those who are consistently living with a substance use disorder. In the same way, dishonesty can follow a person to recovery. Facing the different obstacles in recovery is common; if someone is experiencing denial, they’ll likely lack the motivation and encouragement to keep going. It’s easier to pretend that giants don’t exist rather than facing them head-on.
When a person finally comes to terms with the reality of their situation, they’re able to take the right steps to solve their problems. Taking circumstances at face value is important; otherwise, you’ll spend time making a mountain out of a molehill. This is why honesty in recovery is imperative; you’re only where you are, and you can only get farther when you choose to acknowledge the reality of where you’re at.
How Do Dishonesty Ruin Relationships?
Honesty is a key component of relationship building. Oftentimes, what’s more hurtful than the truth is lying about it. Dishonesty can break the dynamic of trust in any relationship. By way of another example adjacent to familial and loving relationships, it can be difficult for a therapist to detect progress amid dishonesty. All of that being said, if dishonesty is a habit that continues in both professional and personal life, it will be difficult to progress in anything.
To take these thoughts a step further, being dishonest communicates to a person that deception was of higher value than a particular loved one. Honesty must remain a key value, especially throughout recovery. Once this happens, you can focus on rebuilding relationships that were once full of life and love.
How Do I Practice Honesty in Recovery?
Holding one’s reality up to a light to reveal the truths and challenges of a particular circumstance is not an easy thing to do. This is especially true when jumping the hurdle of substance use disorder. There’s no denying that it is difficult to face the truth of one’s reality, but sometimes the best things for a person are the most difficult pills to swallow. Being honest with oneself and others is the first step to an everlasting recovery.
It’s difficult to stay honest in recovery, especially when there’s a possibility of relapse. The last thing anybody wants is for others to be disappointed in them (though there are more reasons someone may be dishonest throughout their recovery). Many individuals may wonder how it is that they can continue to practice honesty. Here are some steps that may be worth taking:
- Acknowledging your emotions
- Committing to counseling
- Being honest with others
- Communicating your struggles
Acknowledge Your Emotions
Acknowledging emotions is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes a subconscious mind will suppress the reality of one’s emotions (often referred to as denial). It is common for those who are trying very hard to acknowledge the reality of their situation to feel shame, guilt, and sadness. Addiction oftentimes makes people feel as though they are lesser than, unworthy, or hopeless. Though this couldn’t be farther from the truth for anyone, it appears more real than anything.
Many individuals in early recovery encounter these emotions. However, once these feelings are acknowledged, they must be addressed. Here are some ways to do just that:
- Journal your feelings
- Openly discuss your emotions in therapy
- Practice self-care (exercise, yoga, art, horseback riding, etc.)
Commit to Counseling
There is a sense of freedom that those who are pursuing recovery from addiction experience. For some people, if they’re not careful, this freedom can lead to a lack of motivation. Amid this freedom, it can become easy to feel as though treatment is no longer necessary. This, however, could not be farther from the truth. It is imperative to see every aspect of one’s recovery through to the end to have the best chance at a recovery that lasts forever.
One of the parts of recovery that people will suffer from not having any longer is therapy/counseling. Being that counseling is one of the more imperative aspects of addiction treatment, no longer having that outlet could be dangerous. Remaining in recovery for as long as possible and being present in therapy sessions is one of the best disciplines anybody can practice in recovery.
Be Honest With Others
Denial is all too common when facing awkward circumstances. Some of these awkward circumstances following treatment may come when interacting with those closest to you. Throughout the time you spent getting treatment, your family or loved ones may have developed a sense of heartache. Addressing this heartache is difficult and awkward. It can be easier to just ignore it as if it doesn’t exist, but this will only complicate things in the long run.
It is imperative to be honest with those you love the most, be they family, friends, spouses, or children. They will appreciate your honesty and transparency; it’s brave and courageous. It is imperative to avoid denying the result of your addiction to their lives. It’s also incredibly unselfish and could go a long way in earning their trust.
Honesty and transparency will bridge the gap between your past and future. If you’ve already decided to go ahead and step out on faith for recovery, why not take it one step further, trusting those you love the most? There is nothing bad that will come out of this; only good things will result from honesty. Not to say it won’t hurt, but it will yield fruitful results.
Communicate Your Struggles
When it comes to addiction treatment and the harsh reality of relapse, the struggle is real. It can be immensely difficult to accept that, but it’s the truth. The hardest part about it is that relapse isn’t just confined to having alcohol or doing drugs again; there are different stages of relapse. These include mental relapse and emotional relapse. It’s imperative that if someone is struggling with even the initial stages of relapse that they’re honest and seek help.
It is imperative that if someone is suffering from relapse, they tell someone. It may be embarrassing or even disappointing, but being honest about this kind of struggle could save a life. There is no need to feel guilty over the harsh realities someone is facing. A person can’t get any better if they’re not honest first. As a result, re-enrolling in treatment may be a possibility; if it’s the difference between a successful recovery and falling back into old habits, however, it’ll be well worth it.
In addition to all of this, addiction could manifest itself in other ways post-treatment. Some individuals still struggle with other types of addiction such as gambling or codependency. Others struggle with more than just this; they could also suffer from severe mental health disorders. These issues can all be roadblocks in the recovery process if not acknowledged honestly.
It is imperative that if someone is experiencing these particular hurdles that they seek out immediate assistance. This could mean reaching out to a therapist or even a loved one. Keeping all of these strategies in mind could make or break one’s long-term recovery success.
Find Peace in Recovering Honestly at Addiction Intervention
Honesty is not easy in any regard, especially when it comes to substance use disorder recovery. Sharing the truth about your struggles is difficult. What if you’re judged by others? What if they look at you differently? The truth is, none of these things are under anybody else’s control. The best thing to do is to do your part. The quicker this is done, the more beneficial it will be for your road to recovery.
At Addiction Intervention, our goal is to meet clients where they’re at so that they have the best recovery experience possible. Individualized treatment is at the forefront of what we do, and we never want to underestimate the power of evaluating people honestly and openly. If you or a loved one would like to find out more, contact us today.