Honesty is often a casualty of drug and alcohol addiction. An addict will persist in denying that he has a problem. He will lie to friends and family about his conduct and whereabouts. He will ignore or deflect obvious symptoms of his problem, for example, by blaming job problems on sources other than his alcohol and drug use or by accusing third parties for causing his problems. The most hardened alcoholics or drug addicts can wean themselves away from their substances of choice, but unless they change their ways and regain a sense of honesty in their lives, they will never truly recover from their addictions.
Honesty in Recovery
Many alcoholics and addicts have trouble regaining a sense of honesty because they have fallen into a regular habit of lying. Breaking an addiction habit is difficult enough, and it may be too difficult for an a substance abuser to make an additional change. Addicts and alcoholics might also fear the consequences of honesty. If an addict perceives that owning up to an addiction problem will result in a job loss or a destruction of relationships with family or friends, he is far less likely to be open about the problem. Addicts and alcoholics might lie in a misguided attempt to protect family members or friends who enabled their addiction.
Failing to regain a sense of honesty will imperil a substance abuser’s recovery. Research has shown that alcoholics and addicts who are not honest with themselves and others are far more likely to experience relapses. Dishonesty will often result in feelings of guilt and self-loathing, which can push a recovering addict further back toward relapsing. Long-lasting recovery will not be possible if an alcoholic or drug addict fails to admit his own faults and shortcomings that contributed to his addiction.
Honesty is the Way Back
Even individuals who do not have an addiction problem will have trouble with being honest with themselves about their faults and failures. Addiction counselors are trained to work with alcoholics and drug addicts to redevelop their internal moral compasses. Honesty will rarely, if ever, be recovered overnight. Therapists treat honesty as a trait that needs to be built and strengthened with regular daily activities.
Maintaining an honesty journal is a good way to accomplish this. Alcoholics and addicts can record those times when they have reached outside of themselves to admit their faults, and can refer back to those times when subsequent admissions might be difficult. They can also record their failures at being honest. The act of admitting a failure is an act of honesty in itself. Recording a failure in a journal that only an addict might see will be easier than admitting the failure to another party. Over time, those self-admissions will blossom into a sense of confidence that allows a recovering alcoholic or addict to make those admissions.
Recovering addicts and alcoholics will also need to adjust their sense or moral relativism to regain their sense of honesty. A sound internal moral compass will tell a person if something is right or wrong. Substance abuse and addiction will shift that compass to allow an addict to think that “white lies” and other minor honesty infractions are not bad. An addict will view the world in multiple shades of grey that muddle a black-and-white sense of right versus wrong. As an addict’s recovery moves forward, he should begin to see how that confused sense of moral relativism blinded him to the character flaws that created his addictions.
Please contact the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin, Texas, at 512-360-3600 for more information and suggestions on how you can regain a sense of honesty in your addiction recovery. Our counselors and therapists will provide confidential advice and assistance to help you with this and every other aspect of your recovery, and we can help you achieve the true sobriety that you seek.