Honesty is a characteristic of respected and genuine individuals. It’s not only essential to be truthful with your peers, but it’s imperative to be honest with yourself. Authenticism is naturally accompanied by empowerment. Generally, these traits are vital in recovery. As it turns out, honesty in treatment is one of the most important components of recovery and relapse prevention.
The positive change you may be seeking starts with one simple thing: admitting there is a problem. There is a reason why the first step of the 12 steps of recovery is, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Reason One: Dishonesty Is a Relapse Trigger
Dishonesty plays a prominent role in the development of addiction. It’s not uncommon for people suffering from addiction to shy away from accountability. If you find yourself battling to justify your actions, it’s possible you are being dishonest with yourself. Honesty is imperative during and after the recovery process.
Dishonesty is a habit and cycle that becomes harder to break as the lies compound themselves. It often causes trust issues with family members, friends, and coworkers. Therapy programs within treatment work to break these unhealthy habits. To avoid dishonesty as a relapse trigger, therapists often work with their clients to make healthy cognitive shifts in their emotions, behaviors, and thought processes.
People struggling with addiction tend to lie about their habits to avoid facing the consequences of their actions. Lying is considered a coping mechanism, but an awful one at that. A significant tool consistent in successful treatment is the ability to acknowledge your dishonesty.
Reason Two: Dishonesty Makes You Feel Trapped
Individuals in the grips of a severe addiction may believe that recovery is not possible. This is dishonesty expressing itself in an awful way. Denial makes it difficult to accept that treatment is an option, making it difficult to believe it is necessary.
Many people struggling with addiction feel trapped by their substance. At this point, the individual must come to terms with their actions, be honest with themself, and accept that their behavior is causing problems. Unfortunately, addiction is a family disease, and the struggling individual is not the only person affected. The first step of breaking the grips of addiction and denial is honesty with oneself.
The trapping feeling that arises from addiction has much to do with hiding from the challenge of recovery. Even though it may seem overbearing, recognizing these challenges is the first step in moving forward — to a life of recovery. Honesty takes practice and the best time to start is right now.
Reason Three: Dishonesty Destroys Relationships
Honesty is the foundational aspect of any relationship. Therefore, dishonesty is damaging to relationships. Luckily, practicing honesty in recovery may help to build those damaged relationships. If you show that you are working to be a better and more truthful person, people tend to be more forgiving.
Now that you’ve shifted your priority from substances and addiction to truth and recovery, you will see improvements in every aspect of your life. This includes the relationships with your loved ones, and most importantly, your relationship with yourself.
The Dangers of Dishonesty in Recovery
Dishonesty makes recovery difficult for several reasons. Ineffective coping strategies, such as dishonesty or denial, are direct relapse triggers. When people resort back to lying in general, it may be a sign that they are in danger of relapse.
It is important to stay proactive and keep making progress in treatment. When people start to become stuck in recovery, old bad habits may arise. This is the most common reason people relapse. Honesty with oneself can keep you motivated to stay on track in treatment.
While in recovery, if an individual’s dishonest habits reoccur, it may hinder the process of relationship rebuilding with their family. Your family and friends know you well, and they can likely notice changes in your behavior before you even do.
When starting 12-step programs, any dishonest behavior is likely not to be tolerated. Individuals choosing to behave dishonestly will not benefit from the program.
Guilt is a complex emotion. Dishonest behavior will likely cause you guilt in recovery. Suffering from too much guilt will not allow for happiness and make it even more challenging to maintain a successful recovery.
Dishonesty feeds into addiction. The cycle of dishonesty and denial keeps many people trapped in addiction. People in treatment must understand and consistently recognize the value of sobriety.
People in treatment have often suffered trauma and difficult circumstances. Honesty is a healing characteristic. To heal, one must be honest with themself and the people around them.
Therapeutic sessions in treatment are the foundational roots of recovery. Individuals must be honest during these sessions for the therapist to best assist them.
Why Are People Dishonest in Recovery?
If honesty and recovery go hand in hand, why are people dishonest in recovery? There are several reasons, but let’s go over some of the most prominent. People tend to be dishonest in recovery because they fear the consequences of their actions. Lying will temporarily protect them from these consequences. In this case, the situation will likely get worse and worse until it culminates in disaster.
Another reason why people lie in recovery is simply that it’s a habit. It is relatively easy to start lying habitually – where dishonesty becomes an automatic response. Temptation is often a culprit for lying. Deception sometimes produces short-term positive outcomes economically and socially. In this case, lying becomes a weapon for filling desires. Eventually, though, these lies catch up with the individual.
After consistently lying, addicts tend to lie without even realizing it. Addiction often causes people to live in delusion. This deluded state of mind can be mended through treatment but is always a threat that has a possibility of recurring.
People may lie in recovery to protect their peers. This is known as enabling behavior. Enabling behavior is often present in families of people suffering from addiction. People may think they are protecting their peers by lying for them, but they do not have their best interests in mind.
How to Increase Honesty in Recovery
Honesty in recovery is invaluable. It’s considered a moral characteristic and is a practiced skill. Here are a few ways to practice honesty:
- Breaking away from dishonesty means admitting to it as soon as possible. In 12-step programs, participants work to take personal responsibility and admit the times they were wrong. Owning up to dishonesty is a process, but it makes it more difficult to be dishonest in the future.
- To put it simply: practice honesty. It is like a muscle; the more you work at being honest, the easier it becomes.
- Keeping a journal is a good practice for honesty and recovery. Journals are an excellent way to track your behavior. The process of journaling gives people the opportunity to view their thoughts and actions in a new light. It makes it easier to see where you may have been caught up in delusion or dishonesty.
- Give yourself a clear understanding of what honesty means. If you do not feel like you can do that on your own, different recovery therapies can help. If you want to build a life based on honesty, you must understand it first.
- White lies are lies, too. Many people downplay white lies, but white lies sometimes lead down a path of dishonesty. There is no need to hide from the truth. Honesty in recovery means complete honesty.
Be Truthful With Yourself
Honesty in recovery and avoiding relapse is not only an attempt to just stop using substances. Relapse is not just an idea that refers only to a stop in substance use. There are different stages of relapse, including both mental and emotional aspects. Mental and emotional relapse leads to physical relapse, which is giving in to and using substances.
If you are experiencing mental and emotional relapse symptoms, it is vital to discuss these challenges with a therapist or counselor in treatment. There is no need to feel shame or guilt about your struggle. Even if a physical relapse does occur, consider re-enrolling in treatment.
Being Honest May Be a Challenge
Honesty is not always the easiest path to take. Addiction is incredibly complex and challenging to deal with, so it may be easy to be dishonest regarding addiction. However, honesty in recovery will help you live a meaningful life, and it will help you establish or reestablish trust with friends and family.
A good thing about honesty is that it is and always will be an option. In treatment, dishonest behavior is shifted into constructive, healthy, and truthful behavior. Taking part in a treatment program or support group is a great place to start your new, healthy lifestyle.
Stay Honest With Rock Recovery
Rock Recovery offers programs that are fun and adventurous. Our approach is unique and precise. We aim to cater to each individual and their particular circumstances and needs. Our world-class programs may be the push you need to transform your life. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, please contact us today.