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Your Recovery Depends Upon Your Honesty
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports: “In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older—9.4 percent of the population—had used an illicit drug in the past month. This number is up from 8.3 percent in 2002.” Of those, many are addicts, and of those addicts, relatively few will seek treatment. If you are one of the people deciding to seek treatment, you are making the right choice. Contact Centers.com at 800-721-8114 to find resources and treatment centers.
Success will depend upon a number of factors and honesty is a big one.
If you have sought rehabilitation in the form of any 12 step program or are considering one, you know that the concept of “rigorous honesty” is a foundation of those programs. But, on a more global scale, honesty is the underpinning of every rehabilitation program because lying and denial are the underpinnings of addiction.
The NIDA defines addiction as “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” Because the brain’s pleasure center is triggered by drug use, the brain comes to depend upon drugs to feel good. Over time, this becomes a compulsion that cannot be controlled. In order to facilitate the compulsion, lying becomes a way of life.
In addition to compulsion, conflict plays a role in the importance of lying for an addict. As drug use climbs the hierarchy of an addict’s interests, you become distanced from previous core relationships and activities.
Distance causes conflict. Family members wonder where you are, where you have been, how you are spending their time and their money. Bosses and co-workers question absences and less than average job performance. Dealing with conflicts is hard for everyone. But, for you the stress may be a trigger for additional drug use.
How do you cover compulsion and avoid conflict? Lying.
Honesty, in general, is the foundation of addiction treatment, but as rigorous honesty is particularly ties to 12 step programs, it’s important to explore that concept. You can see the role of honesty throughout the 12 steps:
- Step 1: honest with oneself
- Steps 4 and 5: honesty with a higher power and others (family, health care providers, therapists, peers)
- Steps 8 and 9: active steps toward honesty
- Steps 10-12: daily honesty practice
The focus of rigorous honesty is on telling the truth when it would be more comfortable to lie and communicating thoughts and feelings when there may be consequences. It means avoiding lying by way of cheating or stealing. It also involves honesty with yourself. You need to be able to honestly asses your strengths, weakness, and triggers. Without being able to do this, you can’t begin to recover.
In fact, you may not even be aware of the ways in which you have been dishonest.
- When you say “yes” when you meant “no” you are being dishonest.
- When you fail to define and enforce a boundary, you are being dishonest.
- When you choose to continue in a negative relationship or a relationship with no chance of a healthy future, you are being dishonest.
- When you stand idly by as cruelty is being perpetrated, you are being dishonest.
- When you allow a person to direct your behavior, you are being dishonest.
- When you allow resentments to fester in your heart rather than speaking up, you are being dishonest.
- When you tell people you are okay (to yourself and/or to others) when you are not, you are being dishonest.
If you are wondering how to enforce and motivate your own honesty, try:
- Admitting dishonesty as soon as it occurs
- Practicing it as often as possible as a way of building up the practice
- Keeping a journal to help you watch patterns and note instances of dishonesty
- Remind yourself frequently of the value of honesty
- Never play down the scope of dishonesty
If you are ready to practice honesty and would like more tips on being honest and succeeding in recovery, contact Centers.com at 800-721-8114.