Substance Abuse Recovery Requires Honesty

The Importance of Honesty in Recovery

A man speaking to his peers shows the importance of honesty in substance abuse recovery

During our substance abuse, we learn to master the skills of deception and manipulation. These lies hold us back from achieving our goal of substance abuse recovery.

We continually lied to those who loved us the most, so we could have whatever we wanted. We stole priceless jewelry from our parents; we deceived our partners; we called out of work with “a migraine” again. We hauled grandma’s family heirlooms to the pawn shop to purchase liquor to hide in our home.

We used not only those people to have our own way, but we also used our own bodies. Sex turned into a tool we used to manipulate or earn money instead of a loving expression between ourselves and a committed partner. We abused our bodies to feed our addiction, further degrading our minds and spirits.

To move on, we need to approach both types of behavior: our actual addiction, and what enabled it. That is what “dual diagnosis” refers to.

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How Lies Fuel Substance Use Disorders

Not only did we tell lies to others, but we also deceived ourselves. Self-deception in thinking that we had our addiction under control ran rampant. Convinced we just hadn’t had enough to drink yet, we were certain we could stop whenever we chose to. Just not yet.

One day, we each had a revelation, a quick look at the gravity of our situations. We were harming ourselves and everyone around us. We had zero power over the drugs and alcohol, and we completed had lost control over our lives. This glimpse at the hard truth offered us enough of a morsel of regret to help us start our lives over again. Perhaps we checked ourselves into a rehab clinic, or we attended an AA meeting and exposed our weaknesses to those members who had ‘walked the walk’ before us.

However, that revelation came about, and it was the beginning of change. We chose life, and we chose to live our lives in a new and scary way. Substance abuse recovery is a change, not a “return to normal” as one might think.

Step One of Substance Abuse Recovery: Honesty

Step One of the 12-step model of recovery involves being honest in every sense of the term. It’s hard. We must admit to ourselves and our loved ones that we can’t conquer addiction alone and that our alcohol or drug patterns have become an exceedingly ugly, deadly beast. That beast is substance addiction. We must free ourselves of those deceptions that we relied on to slay that beast.

We admit to being powerless. What’s next?

You might not know this, but undoing years of bad long-term habits or behaviors takes a lot of time and determination. As alcoholics and addicts, lies became one of those horrible habits. We find that we lie about even inconsequential things—saying we ate bacon for breakfast instead of sausage, for example. There’s no logical reason for these lies. It became an ingrained habit that we must break. Indeed, we had become professionals at lying, and we’d used it as a crutch for years. This is a dangerous behavior that will cause a relapse if we don’t address it.

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Honesty as a Mandatory Requirement in Recovery

A woman drinking beer shows the need for honesty in substance abuse recovery

Yes, you’ll struggle. You must reach out to your support network for help. Don’t lie to yourself or others and convince them that you are “just fine.” I’ve seen sober people relapse and ultimately die because they didn’t know how to ask for help when they needed it the most. Substance abuse recovery is not a job for one person.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask others to help you fight. You are only human, imperfect, and an emotional being with ups and downs like everyone else. Being honest with yourself and asking for support or guidance from others will help you work through those tough spells.

In return, you should be available to others when they need help and support. Substance abuse recovery is a circle based on personal and communal healing—both emotional and spiritual healing. Keeping your struggles and fears hidden minimizes the gravity of your situation and can eventually be the thing that kills you. That’s a harsh, cold fact.

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Next, you have to maintain honesty as you set the boundaries that will protect you from getting hurt unnecessarily. Because setting boundaries is a crucial skill you must learn to preserve sobriety once and for all, honesty with yourself and others is a critical step.

Finally, you will feel better and restore your self-esteem when you’re honest with others. You destroyed your self-esteem through substance abuse, lying, and all the other acts you committed in order to feed your addiction.

Your entire recovery depends on your honesty. Being honest is critical in every aspect of your life. Undoubtedly, you will reap great benefits, and you can begin today.

Reach out now to the dedicated recovery representatives at Find Addiction Rehabs and be clear and transparent about your drinking or drug use. We’ve been there too, and we can help you find the resources you need to get sober. If you are struggling and want to get into recovery, give yourself a break and reach out now!

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