One of the most important aspects of a happy and fulfilled recovery is to get honest. I say ‘get’ honest rather than ‘be’ honest because most of us are coming from some way behind the starting line when we enter into recovery. We have pretty much all of us become good or not so good liars. At least concerning our drinking or using. It becomes an expert hobby remembering all the lies we have told and often telling more lies to cover up the original ones. Some of us are not even conscious that we are doing it, giving a new meaning to denial (Don’t Even (K)now I Am Lying).
One of my friends now recalls how, when he wanted time off work, he would say a relative had died. but made the mistake of saying that one of his relatives had died more than once and was caught out! In our minds, however extreme these lies were, they were necessary and justified. My most frequent absence related lies to my employer were half truths – I was unwell, had a headache, stomach upset etc. That might have been true though the bit saying I had a ‘bug’ was not true – the only problem I had was over indulging in alcohol and / or a need to drink more.
Dishonesty is part of our past and we cannot change that. We can change things from here on in, though and, as I said before, it is necessary to do this to stay sober. Being honest, even when it is very difficult and comes at a cost, is the right thing to do for moral reasons – and also because if we lie, the guilt will eat away at us and threaten our sobriety.
Avoid Being Selfish, Dishonest & Manipulative
We also need to avoid being selfish, dishonest and manipulative. So it is a good idea to ask what you are trying to get out of a situation before you make a suggestion to someone: by doing them a favour, do you have an ulterior motive? Are you hoping for something in return such as a future favour, or access to someone they know?
How Honest Should You be About Your Addiction
There is a question of just how honest you should be about your addiction. Generally it is a good idea to be honest, especially with your friends and social companions. As then you can explain why you cannot drink or do drugs any more. It can remove any social pressure to do this. Being honest with an employer can be a different matter as this can affect your career.
I would say, though, that you should give a version of the truth, even if you do not use the word alcoholic or addict. Your doctor can use an umbrella term for any sickness note while you get into recovery such as ‘stress adjustment disorder’ which covers it – and we have all been stressed at the end of our drinking and need to adjust to our new life, so this is not dishonest as such. It is worth telling your employer or anyone else that you no longer drink as it does not suit you / you have an allergy to alcohol etc or have been advised not to – all truths of a sort.
Honesty truly is the best policy.
If you or a loved one have a drink or drug related problem. Please call 01462 851414 for confidential help and advice