“It’s okay if I have a drink now and then. I beat my addiction and don’t have to worry about it any longer.” This statement is an example of a lie people with alcohol addiction tell themselves. It’s a form of denial, often to themselves and family. A key component of getting sober is being very honest with yourself and your family. It’s called rigorous honesty, and it is one of the foundations of the 12-step program’s success. Are you being honest with yourself?
What Does Rigorous Honesty Mean?
People with an addiction often tell themselves and others lies. It’s not always about drinking alcohol, either. A person with an addiction may lie or make promises they cannot keep to encourage loved ones to remain a part of their lives. They may lie to avoid facing rejection or reality. Some people lie because they are ashamed, afraid or trying to live a fantasy life of balancing it all.
The rigorous honesty definition wipes all of that away. In short, it’s making the commitment to be 100 percent honest all of the time. It’s not okay to tell big lies or small ones. It’s also not okay to hide information or to simply not share key information. Because the addicted mind will drive negative behaviors and thoughts like this, it’s essential to commit to a life of being very honest all of the time. This type of honesty doesn’t just come from truth-telling though, it comes from self-examination.
How Self-Examination is Needed for Rigorously Honest?
Living in true honesty means making the decision to tell the truth, even when it is much easier to lie but also, fully understanding the truth. It means sharing what’s true and accurate, but examining and coming to accept the hard-truths and admit them. In the first step of a 12-step program, drug and alcohol addicts must commit to doing a personal inventory that makes them realize that they’re powerless against their addiction. This personal inventory exposes the real version of you. Being honest about yourself like this is the first step to understanding yourself, what drives you and how you are unable to conquer addiction on your own.
Being honest with yourself is the first step, but that’s not enough. You also will learn how to be honest with a higher power in Step 4 and Step 5. Later, you’ll learn how to remain honest in Step 8 and then again in Step 9. You will learn how to practice honesty in every facet of your recovery.
Why Is Honesty So Important?
Being honest in all forms allows you to create and build authentic relationships. It allows you to face the struggles and failures you’ve had. It also enables you to create important boundaries for yourself to ensure recovery. It’s not possible to live a life of addiction without lies. It’s also not possible to fully recover if you’re not being truthful. It’s a part of life for those in recovery.
Honesty Isn’t a Cure, It’s a Stone on the Path to Recovery
It’s not always cut and dried. Learning how to be honest or how to live an honest lifestyle is a complex process with numerous ups and downs. Take into consideration where you are today for a moment. What lies are you living and telling people each day? Even if it seems impossible to overcome the situation you are in right now, there are tools to support you. Consider a few common areas of confusion.
Rigorous Honesty and Telling It Like It Is
Rigorous honesty in AA isn’t something that should hurt, especially not others. There’s no level of criticism here. It’s important to notice negative aspects of your life right now, like the dishonesty. However, it’s also important to see the good in yourself.
More so, your honesty should not mean doing more damage to other people or to yourself. It’s not beneficial to use this level of honesty to create chaos in your life or as a way of leveling the score. Most of rigorous honesty is the way you have examined your own behavior and past, and will affect your actions going forward.
Don’t Strive for Perfection
During the 12 steps, you’ll learn that mistakes will happen. While your goal is always to strive for honesty, mistakes will occur. Being 100 percent honest all of the time isn’t realistic. When you’re trying your very best and something still happens, recognize that. Work to admit what happened. Then, move back towards honesty.
You Can’t Resolve Past Pain Instantly
Another common misconception some people experience is the belief that getting honest solves past pains. Telling lies at any point in your life creates consequences. You can’t expect that people you’ve hurt over the years will forgive you because you’re being honest now. There’s no quick fix here. It takes time to earn back respect and trust. Sometimes, that’s not possible. The only way to make it possible is to walk in truth and prove yourself with consistency.
Reaching a Level of Rigorous Honesty Can Take Time
Habits take some time to learn and to break. It can take you weeks to unlearn a bad habit and overcome it. It may even take you longer than this to learn how to be rigorously honest with yourself and your family. While you want this level of honesty to become a habit, it takes work to get to that point. Don’t expect it to be as easy as flipping a switch. That’s one reason why the 12 Steps from AA are so important to follow on a long-term basis. Working the process builds that new habit of honesty.
At the Core Is Being Honest with Yourself
Rigorous honesty is most valuable when you apply it to yourself. Know who you are. Understand the value of being honest about who you are and your actions. It’s also important to recognize and work towards being who you want to be. These are the most important things you can do for yourself in the long term.
As you work the 12 steps, embrace this thought. Who do you want to be in a year or two? Who do you believe you are? Being honest with yourself at this deep of a level allows your mind and body to follow a path towards becoming whole. It’s often said that being honest will set you free. That’s possible when you create a deep level of honesty with yourself.
FHE Health Provides the Resources to Support You
Rigorous honesty can begin by admitting it’s time to get help for yourself. At FHE Health, we offer the treatment solutions you need for drug and alcohol addiction in a compassionate, supportive environment. Learn more about our services by calling our counselors now at 833-596-3502.