Therefore, in order to overcome certain unhealthy behavior patterns, and rebuild relationships, a recovery addict has to learn how to be honest. Honesty is one of the most important skills a recovering addict must learn for a successful recovery.
What is Honesty?
Honesty is more than just not lying or hiding the truth. Honesty is about being open and genuine, and living an authentic life, not afraid to confront reality. In order to deal with a problem, a person has to recognize that it actually exists. Ignorance and denial perpetuates the problem, while honesty about the reality allows for a solution. By admitting the truth of something, it allows for the healing process to truly begin. In recovery, honesty has a few different functions.
The Importance of Self-Honesty
An addict's dishonesty, deceits and lies do not just target others; they often target the addict him- or herself. Addicts lie to themselves about how they feel, their problems, how a substance makes them feel, their control over the problem, and more. This self-deceit typically leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and failure, which can lead to depression. By being honest with oneself, a person can learn to rebuild his or her self-esteem and self-worth. An addict must learn to admit that it is okay to feel bad, to be hurt, and to have negative feelings. By admitting these feelings and being honest about feeling them, a person can work on overcoming them. The same goes for cravings and any relapse. By honestly admitting that something has happened, a person can work on mitigating the situation and preventing it from happening again.
Be Honest with Others
One of the most important stages in recovery is atoning and rebuilding damaged relationships. Many relationships become damaged due to the lies and deceit centered on the drug or alcohol problem. By learning to become honest with those who were hurt, the relationships can begin to be rebuilt and trust can grow. An addict must learn to be honest with other people about the past, the present and the future. Addicts must learn to talk about feelings, including any urges to abuse. Furthermore, addicts must allow space for loved ones to be honest with them, especially about the impact the alcohol or drug addiction had on them. It can take time to feel comfortable with this level of honesty in a relationship, but it will create stronger ties. An addict must learn to be vulnerable and reveal honest feelings with others, and they will respond in kind.
Learning to Be Honest
One of the biggest hurdles to living an honest, authentic life is fear. It can be hard to honestly talk about emotions and failures. It creates a vulnerability with which many people struggle, even if they do not have a problem with drugs or alcohol. If a person has spent a significant amount of time hiding from these feelings, then the fear is even stronger. Initially practicing vulnerability in a safe environment can help an addict overcome this fear and pave the way to a more honest life.
True authentic, honest living does not happen overnight; it requires practice and patience. A recovery addict needs to learn to be gracious with oneself, while also purposefully practicing being honest. It is not just about no longer lying to people, or oneself; it is about coming to terms with the reality of the situation and who the addict is as a person, and learning to be okay with openly representing the authentic self to the world.