As cliche as it may sound, honesty is indeed the best policy. Even in recovery.
People who are in active addiction would often find themselves lying to their loved ones and family members to protect their addiction. They may lie to their colleagues and bosses to avoid the consequences of their addiction. Throughout the course of their addiction, they may lie to different people just so they would continue using and dodge the repercussions.
According tot he National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the U.S. addiction is defined as a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use despite harmful consequences.” This means that part of their compulsion involves them lying. And with this comes betrayals, deceptions, and conflicts. It is impossible to be straight and honest when addiction is concerned.
The Role of Compulsion
Substances such as drugs and alcohol affect the part of your brain that is in charge of emotion, memory, instinct, and motivation. This part of the brain is also the rewards system, and so when people use drugs or alcohol, this part of the brain is flooded with feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.
Their brain would want to keep this memory and repeat it, and eventually, a cycle will start. Their reward cycle would spur them to keep repeating this “rewarding” behavior, chasing after the euphoria, until a compulsion develops. When this happens, addicts won’t be able to make clear decisions, nor can they easily curb their cravings. As a result, they will lie to keep using and avoid conflict and other consequences.
Ways Addicts Lie to Themselves and to Others
Honesty is thrown out the window once addiction sets in. Addicts may not be aware of this, but they may be repeatedly lying to themselves and to others.
- Telling other people you’re doing one thing but are actually doing another
- Making promises about stopping or cutting down, but still continuing to use
- Hiding drugs and paraphernalia
- Borrowing money with no plan on how to pay it back
- Telling people you’re okay or are in control when you’re not
Honesty and Recovery
In the same way that lying is part of addiction and helps perpetuate it, honesty is part of rehabilitation, recovery, and life-long sobriety.
Honesty is even a big part of the 12-Step Program, but not many realize how it is integral in the daily life of a recovering addict.In fact, let’s break down how honesty is part of the 12-Step Program and how it is integrated in life in general:
- Step 1 tackles being honest with one’s self
- Steps 4 and 5 tackles being honest with a higher power and with others
- Steps 8 and 9 involves taking active steps toward honesty
- Steps 10 to 12 involves practicing honesty whenever possible
This highlights how it is impossible to begin on the path towards recovery without being first honest with oneself. Being honest with oneself allows people to understand themselves better and seek help.
Do you know anyone who has a substance abuse problem or an addiction? Let us help. Call or text us at Bridges of Hope: 09175098826.