The most common reasons people lie is to avoid hurting others or when they selfishly want something. Honesty is not always an easier path to take, especially when dealing with addiction. Any patient looking forward to recovering from addiction or mental illness needs to be truthful with themselves about their issues and admit them to others. Honesty also involves revealing one’s real character without hiding your true motives or reasons for your actions. If you fail to establish honesty, substance abuse is more likely to reoccur. Read on to gain more insights.
Dishonesty in Substance Abuse
Continued use of drugs lowers your ability to make objective decisions. The evidence of destruction due to addiction is usually visible to everyone except the addicted individuals. Most times, dishonesty involves denial that you have a problem that needs help. You begin to lie to yourself that your life is perfect.
Such a person will also lie to their friends, family, and colleagues to mask the stigma of addiction. Others lie in an attempt to get what they need. This habit might get out of control with time, and it becomes hard to contain it. Addicts believe in their lies, and they can’t face reality. Their lives involve telling one lie after another to cover the previous ones. As a result, they end up causing more harm to themselves and those around them.
Reasons Why People Lie in Recovery
Most people struggling with substance abuse tend to live a dishonest life. They know that their habits can cause conflicts with other people, and to avoid this, they choose to lie. People using drugs often feel embarrassed and guilty, which compels them to hide their issues from their loved ones to avoid confrontation or any negativity.
Others lie because they are afraid of the consequences of their actions. For instance, if someone misses work, they can call in sick to avoid firing. Some people lie even without realizing it. The more you lie, the more you become accustomed to this habit. Others think that lying produces desirable effects socially and economically, so they do it to fulfill this desire.
Honesty means acknowledging your weaknesses and opening up to discuss them. This is very uncomfortable, especially for people with hidden trauma inside their subconscious selves. Dishonesty is a natural coping mechanism. Lying helps people camouflage around their bad habits and maintain a cleaner image around their loved ones while still engaging in drug use.
Common Lies Among Addicts
Although everyone is different, there are some lies that most addicts tell. Some say that they can stop using substances whenever they want to. They tell this lie to make their loved ones feel that they are in control of the situation. In a true sense, the substances alter their brain chemistry, causing cravings. The drugs control such individuals, and they have to use them to feel normal. Such people are likely to remain addicted until they seek professional help.
Another lie is that the user needs drugs or alcohol to cope with problems. This is a deceptive reason why addicts self-medicate when they face problematic issues. They use this lie to justify substance abuse. Far from the truth, the drugs will only cause more problems. Drugs impair your judgment, so you don’t seem to find a way out in case of problems without taking them.
Other addicts will compare themselves with others to justify their behaviors using lies. No matter how minor the addiction seems, it’s only a matter of time before it gets out of hand. Others tell themselves that life would be so boring without drugs. This lie prevents them from seeking treatment.
Some think that their addiction has nothing to do with others. They feel that they are hurting no one else but themselves. The addict will feel like the family members are just overly judgmental or controlling. In reality, addiction can cause conflicts with your family members, anxiety, anger, and embarrassment.
Importance of Honesty in Recovery
Addiction is a dangerous condition that requires total commitment to recover. Being honest will protect you from slipping back to denial. How soon you will recover from an addiction will depend on how you embrace the situation. When you visit a treatment facility like Granite Recovery Centers, the first step is to embrace honesty.
You need to admit that you are powerless over the substances and list how they affect your life. When you embrace openness, you no longer live in denial, and you increase your chances of achieving sobriety. Some of the benefits of honesty in recovery include:
- Restored Trust: Most addicts tell lies and break promises, which can make their loved ones distance themselves and lose trust in them. Even after completing an intensive in-patient program to aid in recovery, this might not gain back your loved one’s trust. One great way to make people believe in you is by being honest. It’s better to be open with your mistakes rather than getting caught in a lie.
- You Will Avoid Relapse: Dishonesty is a common trigger of relapse. It’s hard to recover if you keep hiding from reality. Whenever you feel tempted to take the drugs, you shouldn’t pretend to be in control. Sometimes, the cravings may be so extreme, and you might end up relapsing. If you fail to honestly express your feelings or talk about your struggles during recovery, you let negative emotions build up, which will only drag you back to addiction.
Some people hold onto secrets that could be the reason for addiction. If you fail to address such issues during treatment, you are more likely to relapse. Though it might seem scary to share with your therapist such matters, it’s liberating in the long run. Honesty will help you face challenges as they come to prevent falling back into your old habits.
- Honesty Rebuilds Relationships: Throughout your period of active addiction, your family members experience emotional hurt, which leads to strained relationships. Honesty can help you restore the bond with your family members, friends, or therapist. Keep in mind that healthy relationships and a robust support system are paramount in recovery.
Rebuilding relationships can be more complicated if you fail to show initiative to stay open with those around you. When you embrace your situation, you can accept your mistakes quickly and offer your loved ones sincere apologies that will help restore relationships. Earning trust from people you have hurt before in your addiction may take time, but you will build stronger relationships by consistently telling the truth and meeting commitments.
- You Will Keep Progressing: Recovery is nearly impossible for people who are dishonest with themselves and the people around them. The lie alters your thoughts and actions, making you live in denial of the challenges ahead, so it becomes hard to trust the recovery process. It might seem easier to hide from a challenge rather than face it. However, this will only make recovery more complex. Such people often feel discouraged, and they lack the motivation to work on self-improvement. Openness is the only way to free yourself from such feelings.
Addiction is a progressive issue, and even after treatment, you need to work on recovery continually. An honest evaluation of your progress keeps you going and helps avoid relapse. The 12-step program also requires uncompromising openness. If you can’t disclose your issues in the group, you might not benefit from the program entirely.
- Honesty Improves Your Well-being: If you are honest, you are less likely to experience mental health problems. When you are dishonest, you will have to deal with the anxiety and stress associated with the lie. You also need to keep remembering the lie to avoid being disproved.
Although telling the truth might seem complicated, it will prevent you from feeling anxiety and stress and help improve your overall well-being. Note that lying also triggers the release of stress hormones that can cause other issues like high blood pressure.
How to Maintain Honesty
Being dishonest doesn’t mean that the person has moral failures. It’s a sign of addiction and a great contributor to frustrations. You can tell when your loved one is lying by observing their body language. Some fidget and others can’t maintain eye contact when talking.
Clearing the throat before talking is also a sign of nervousness, and it can be a cue that someone is about to lie. A person who hesitates to answer questions could also be lying. Others give a vague answer or leave out details. You can also use your instincts to determine when a person is dishonest.
Convincing an addict to be truthful can be difficult. For families that need to help their loved ones become more honest, they need to realize that the addict’s dishonesty isn’t meant as an attack on them. Most people take lies as a personal attack on their intelligence. However, with an addicted individual, they don’t lie because they think you are dumb. Instead, the addiction manipulates their reality and distracts them from the real problems, so they lie to protect themselves.
This doesn’t mean that you should accept the lies since it will only keep your loved one trapped in the addiction. Let them know that you know the truth to help them take responsibility for their actions. You should never attempt to cover up for an addict. Avoid arguing with them and create a supportive environment that encourages honesty. If you are an addict struggling with dishonesty, here are a few tips to help you out.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Being completely honest with yourself is the first step in recovering from addiction. Substance abuse causes feelings of hopelessness, self-doubt, and shame. Such feelings can cause emotional distress when ignored. Begin by accepting that you have a problem so you can come up with better coping strategies.
Write about your feelings in a journal and open up to your counselor or peers during group therapy. Whenever you face negative emotions, you can try engaging in activities like exercising or arts rather than substance use.
Seek Professional Help
After leaving a rehab facility, some people believe that they don’t need to continue treatment anymore. If you need help, you should open up to your therapist to get counseling that will keep you moving on the right path. Keeping in touch with your therapist also promotes accountability. You have a chance to share your struggles, challenges, and victories with your counselor.
Therapy allows you to work on honesty in an environment where people won’t misinterpret your intentions or judge your actions. A therapist will also help you know why you have been dishonest in the past, recognize situations that trigger dishonesty, and learn how to deal with them.
You can also join an alumni program to maintain friendships and find support. Participating in such events will help you maintain healthy communications and remain committed to your recovery goals. You have a chance to interact with peers struggling with similar problems as yours with whom you can honestly share experiences.
Be Truthful About Your Struggles
Try to be honest with your spouse, children, and family members about your situation. Let them know what you have been through and how you feel at the moment. Accept and try discussing the impacts of your addiction on their lives.
Being honest with your loved ones will help create a better communication structure and involve the family in your new life stage. If you experience emotional or mental relapse symptoms, honestly discuss such challenges with your therapist. Together, you will develop better strategies to cope with the situation and avoid temptations.
Admitting that you struggle with a mental illness or substance use disorder isn’t easy. Yet, the more honest you are during recovery, the higher the chances of overcoming addiction. If you or your loved ones struggle with substance use, give us a call at Granite Recovery Centers. Our Admissions specialists are happy to provide professional guidance and assistance or to answer any questions you may have. Once you begin the process, you then can let go of fear, embrace honesty, and works toward long-term sobriety.