Honesty is one of the most important qualities in recovery, it’s what our foundation is built on. If we aren’t truthful about how our addiction affected ourselves as well as others, we probably won’t take proper action. Coming out of our denial is the most important step into a healthy recovery.
Admitting we have a problem is the first honest step taken into healing. When we start being honest with ourselves, we can start being honest with others as well. Continuing to lie to ourselves and others may lead us back out into our addiction.
It’s important to remember that being honest doesn’t mean we have to be cruel to ourselves. It’s equally important to acknowledge our positive qualities as well as the ones that need improvement. It’s alright to accept compliments and think well of ourselves.
Being “brutally honest” and causing hurt to others is not acceptable. We may have thoughts about others that can cause harm if voiced. If we hurt others, we have to make amends. Step 9 in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) says, “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others”.
When we are in active addiction, our lives are usually filled with a great deal of dishonesty. Many times we had to lie about drinking or using drugs because we didn’t want anyone to know we were addicted, or how much we used. We would lie about being sick because we were too hungover to work, or attend social events. Once one lie starts, it snowballs, and we start drowning in our secrets.
There are many risks of being dishonest in recovery. Dishonesty can lead to guilt, making it hard to achieve happiness. If loved ones find out we have been lying about something, it can destroy all the trust and progress we have made trying to rebuild relationships. It can cause relapse. Dishonesty can stop our healing in recovery.
AA helps us become accountable for our behavior. For instance, step 10 says, “Continue to take personal inventory, and when you are wrong promptly admit it.” This step helps us stay honest. The more we practice honesty, the easier it becomes. However, if one can't be honest all of the time, it's important to strive for progress, not perfection.
The first step into recovery is admitting we have a problem and waking up from our denial, this is an honest step. Continued honesty is what keeps us sober. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, Passport to Recovery offers a list of reputable 12 step addiction treatment centers that can help start the healing process.