Honesty is one of the most important moral characteristics in life as well as in recovery. Of course it's not possible for someone to be 100% honest in all their daily interactions - sometimes we have to white lies from time to time just to get by.
But maintaining an overall commitment to being honest in your words and actions is a big step toward becoming a better person. This is especially true for someone who is in recovery.
Someone in recovery who is building their life back from the ground up will need to pay special attention to the role of honesty in their lives. Not only is being honest with others important - being honest with yourself is also essential to the recovery process. Ensuring that honesty is established early on will make all the difference in leading a more fulfilling life sober and lowering your chances of a relapse.
This is because dishonesty is such a big part of an addiction. Anyone who has battled alcoholism or addiction will be familiar with the conflicts and chaos that such dishonesty inevitable brings into one's life. Lying to coworkers, bosses, friends, lovers, and family members goes hand in hand with addiction because such dishonesty is the only way to cover up the ugly truth.
Eventually this kind of behavior ends up destroying the lives of loved ones as well as your own well being. A person in recovery has a chance to start a new life where healing is possible both inside yourself and with others. Making a commitment to honesty is an integral part of nourishing that healing process.
Here are more details about the ways in which dishonesty can sabotage recovery:
- It brings someone back to the old coping strategies of their addiction, which increases the risk of relapse.
- It stands in the way of progress in recovery. Dishonesty or denial will cause someone to feel stuck in their recovery process.
- If you're in a 12 step program, dishonesty will keep you from reaping the full benefits of the program.
- Dishonesty creates unpleasant emotions, such as guilt and shame, that then stand in the way of leading a more emotionally healthy life.
- Dishonesty can also get in the way of treatment like therapy and keep you from making real progress.
- Dishonesty will stand in the way of any chance of real healing taking place.
If you recognize some of these traits that could be getting in the way of your recovery, know that it's not impossible or too late to get back on track. Recovery is all about second (and even third or fourth) chances.
Here are some simple ways to be more honest in recovery:
- Admitting when you have said or done something dishonest right away. Doing this will stop denial right in its tracks and may involve apologizing to someone. This also makes it harder to be dishonest in the future.
- Remember that being honest takes practice, and that you get better at it the more you do it.
- Keep a healthy self awareness by journaling. This ensures that you keep a good perspective on your words and actions to catch any dishonesty when it happens.
- Reminding yourself how important honesty is, so that you don't lose sight of the true goals of recovery.
- Aim to be as honest as possible at all times. This will prevent any confusion from occurring over any things you've done or said.