Addiction is an unforgiving disease that will take everything if you don’t get honest with it. Honesty in recovery can help save your life. Recovery from substance use or unhealthy drinking can be difficult. Even though substance use disorder (SUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are considered diseases, perhaps one of the most challenging parts of recovery from these conditions might be the “disease of dishonesty.”
Honesty is something that all people struggle with, to some degree, at some point in their lives. But it can sabotage recovery. The disease of dishonesty has two main manifestations: dishonesty with oneself and dishonesty with other people. All people with AUD or SUD need to be honest about themselves and their drug use or alcohol consumption and honest about themselves with others who care about them.
What is Honesty in Recovery?
Some people drink or use substances because they don’t know how best to cope with life’s challenges. They may feel that drinking or getting high will help them face things that concern them that are not fair, overwhelming work assignments, financial troubles, the death of a loved one, and any other number of reasons. Another group of individuals may try to avoid their problems like ignored calls and texts, feeling under-appreciated and insufficient, and any additional stresses and pressures of life. But when people are in recovery, they should maintain honesty because honestly facing circumstances and consequences will only work in favor of sober living.
Coping with Emotions
Coping with emotions in recovery is difficult because you are trying to undo the negative impact of drugs or alcohol while also living everyday life. Feelings of shame, guilt, or hopelessness can be overwhelming while you are trying to maintain your sobriety. For example, you may have experienced addiction while living in a chaotic environment, so it is important to find coping mechanisms that allow soothing and stabilization of the emotions.
In recovery, you are improving your life, which isn’t easy and can be overwhelming for some people. It’s also about coping with the feelings and different emotions that come up. Substances can make you feel better temporarily, but they also have the potential to damage your life even more than before because of how addictive they are.
The Reciprocal Nature of Honesty
People need to be honest with each other for a relationship to work. If someone is not straightforward, it can lead to resentment and mistrust in the relationship. Honesty can also help people feel good about themselves. The reciprocal nature of openness is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship. Therefore, you must be honest about your substance use for your support team to help you.
The disease of dishonesty is rampant in our society today. Continued substance use affects the brain’s reward system. With the rewarding rush of dopamine that comes from substances, a user is more likely to crave them whenever they are present or when they are not. Drugs can only make you feel better temporarily. Honesty about oneself and substance use is essential if a person hopes to establish a healthier relationship with alcohol or drugs—one of abstinence.
Honesty is an integral part of life because it’s the foundation for many relationships and interactions. It helps people be truthful with themselves, which can be challenging to do. It also helps people be real with other people, which can also sometimes be very hard.
One of the most important examples is when someone has done something wrong but lies because they want to keep the relationship. Honesty is key to honest conversations about what happened and getting back on track with the connection or with sober living.
Dishonesty Triggers Relapse
Relapse can damage a person’s self-esteem. When a person in treatment and recovery is dishonest, they are not living up to their personal standards, which can lead them on a downward spiral and trigger relapse. A person may think they are dishonest for their benefit, but dishonesty can lead to further substance use, and it takes away from an individual’s self-worth.
Honesty Maintenance is Vital in Recovery
Honesty maintenance is the process of being honest with yourself about who you are, what your values are, and how they affect your decisions. This maintenance requires periodically examining whether your values are still relevant to your life, recognizing when they have changed, and making adjustments accordingly. It also requires being honest with yourself about how you treat others in the light of these values.
The maintenance of honesty is essential to recovery because it helps rebuild trust with loved ones, friends, and family. It also gives the person a sense of relief that they are not hiding anything from themselves or others. It also helps a person reclaim their sense of self and live in the present moment with peace, joy, and serenity.
Many people find honesty maintenance difficult because it requires them to be introspective. They may not like what they see when they look inside themselves, or they may feel their values are not in sync anymore. A substance use expert or mental health counselor can help you with this necessary maintenance to increase your chances of successful sober living.