Addiction is a disease that is dishonest in nature. Chances are that while you were in active addiction, you were not being honest with those around you. Maybe you didn’t notice you were lying or to which extent. It might have started with small, seemingly harmless lies, but before you knew it, you found yourself constantly lying to cover other lies. Trying to hide, downplay, or justify your addiction might have left you tangled in a web of dishonesty. And because lying became the norm during your active addiction, you may find it a bit challenging to break the cycle of lying that was once so engrained in your daily life.
Because honesty is such a vital part of recovery, it is important to take a step back from time to time and ask yourself, “Am I being my most honest?” If you discover that you are not, don’t get overwhelmed or discouraged. This is an opportunity for you to improve your recovery.
Honesty can be hard to master because it requires bravery and self-reflection, but it’s not impossible to accomplish. One of the first things that you can do is look into why you’re lying. Are the lies triggered by shame? Fear? Or do they happen just because?
When you’ve determined the trigger for your lies and had a chance to think about why you keep lying, you can start to address how to stop it from happening again. Think about the consequences to your lies as well. Why do you think lying benefits you when it’s been proven that there are generally greater consequences when someone finds out about the lie? The past consequences of your lies, coupled with the thought of future consequences, should help you to want to break out of the cycle of dishonesty.
One way that you can start to face your lies head on is by making yourself accountable to someone. Whether it’s a sponsor, a counselor, family member or friend, choose someone who you feel that you can 100 percent truthful with. They will not only help you practice being totally open and honest in a supportive way, but they will also be able to be an outlet if you feel that you need to lie and can help get you back on track. This will also help you not to feel so alone and feel like there is someone in your corner who always has your back.
If you do lie, try writing down what the lie was and what triggered it. Having a written record of your lies will help to put things in perspective. The introspection will help to keep you honest, both with yourself and with others.
Remember that this is a work in progress. It is nearly impossible for anyone to be 100 percent honest all the time, and you shouldn’t hold yourself to that standard either. But showing that you are working on your lies will help you to maintain trust with those around you, or rebuild it if it was broken. These benefits far outweigh whatever benefits you may have perceived while you were lying. Just keep trying your best to be honest in your recovery!