The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing but the Truth…
Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.
James E. Faust
In the first paragraph of the chapter How It Works in the book *Alcoholics Anonymous, the word HONEST, or some derivative of the word, is used three times. Why would the authors of that book use that particular word multiple times to explain HOW IT WORKS? The “IT” they are referring to is recovery. On recovery coins many times you will see, “To Thine Own Self Be True” (in other words, stop bull sh*tting yourself). What does not drinking and drugging and being honest have to do with each other?
Just Say No
If your final goal is to just not drink or drug, honesty has nothing to do with abstinence. People ask me all the time, “How do you stay sober?” You just don’t pick up the first drink/drug which leads to the second, third, fourth…fifteenth ect. An old timer in recovery was asked one day how he became an old timer and his response was, “I didn’t drink and I didn’t die.”
Hmmm… Just don’t drink, huh? This sounds a little like Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign back in the 1980’s. Getting sober is easy but STAYING sober is hard (in the beginning). So, how do you not pick up the first drink? Willpower is useless. What does that leave? Recovery meetings are helpful, but that’s a band aid for a bullet wound. What’s the real solution?
A Spiritual Solution
I am going to speak from a 12 step recovery school of thought. I went to school and became a substance abuse counselor and worked in the recovery field for a while. I know some psychological solutions which help temporarily with sobriety, but I have seen nothing more effective then spirituality as a permanent source of recovery. That is from personal experience and working with lots of alcoholics and addicts over the years. Let me also say that there are many paths to recovery. Since my primary experience lies within the spiritual solution, that’s what I will talk about.
Let me put this into a tangible ratio. I’ve sponsored around 70ish people (I stopped counting). 35-40 of those people completely worked the 12 steps and had a spiritual awakening, the others didn’t. The people that worked the 12 steps are sober, the people who didn’t work the 12 steps are not sober. A few of them are dead.
So what does all of that stuff I wrote above have to do with honesty? Quite the build up, huh? 😉
honesty –> 12 steps –> spiritual awakening –> recovery
It all starts with honesty. You can’t work the 12 steps without being honest and I’ve never met a dishonest spiritually awakened person nor have a met a dishonest recovered person. I’ve met dishonest sober people, but sober doesn’t always mean recovered.
There Are Different Types of Dishonesty
- Lying, Cheating, Stealing- these are self explanatory and you know when you are doing them. Stop! This is self-sabotage. Relapse is around the corner.
- 1/2 truths and omitting the truth- If it’s not the whole truth and nothing but the truth…it’s dishonesty.
- Hypocrisy- before you condemn someone for something they’ve done, ask yourself, “Have I ever done that?”
- Denial- THIS is the tricky one! We have spent years bull sh*tting ourselves. We justify, rationalize and defend poor behaviors and it’s so ingrained that we don’t even realize that we are doing it. DENIAL= Don’t Even kNow I Am Lying. The 12 steps help strip away the self-delusions we have been living with and our eyes are wide open for the first time. This is the first step toward a spiritual experience!
Just because we are supposed to be honest in sobriety doesn’t mean we need to be brutally honest. Leave “brutal” out of it. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Is it necessary?
Example: Your friend asks you, “Do these jeans make my butt look big?” Assess the situation. Is she looking for advice or a compliment?
- Advice answer: Yes, don’t buy/wear them
- Compliment answer: I think the jeans you had on the other day were more flattering.
Both answers are the truth. Get it? 🙂
Recovery = Change
If just putting down the drink and drug was what recovery was all about then I’m not sure I would want it. I didn’t like the person I had become. All of the morals and values I had been brought up with were thrown right out the window when I became an alcoholic/addict. It took a lot of booze and drugs to try and blot out my conscience. Take away the chemicals and I was a sober, guilt-ridden individual. Who wants to live like that?! Not me.
If you are not sure if you are being dishonest. Run your thoughts and actions by a strong sober woman. Maybe a woman you’ve met at an A2WG event. We have a great group of women that attend our events with all different lengths of sobriety. It’s a great place to have fun and meet sober friends who will tell you the TRUTH.
Thank God I am no longer the same person I was. I have cleaned up my past through the 12 step process. Recovery changed me. The 12 steps changed me. My Higher Power changed me. I can honestly say I live an honest life today and know it is the truth.
Do you think anyone can be 100% honest 100% of the time? Share your thoughts and experiences.
Peace, Love & Sobriety,
*A2WG is not affiliated with AA