We are all human and at times we will lie to ourselves and others. While this does not excuse the behavior, it is a reality of life. Unfortunately, we also tend to lie to ourselves, especially in addiction and in early recovery. Some of the lies and self-deceptions are obvious, some are not. One of the most common self-deceptions in recovery is that the addict has trust issues. While this may be true in some part, it is most likely that the one in recovery has issues trusting themselves and their own judgment. This means that those in recovery have to work on learning to trust themselves and understand that trusting others will come in time. There are ways to build trust, but first we must understand how we fool ourselves and develop self-deception.
Those in active addiction and typically in the beginning stages of recovery use rationalization, justification, and minimization to deal with what is happening. These may be used to make sense of addiction. Saying things like I only use because of my past or because my parents were addicts or even because I am in pain are all excuses. Even if there is truth in the statement, these are not reasons to stay with an addiction.
One must learn that though self-deception is not usually a conscious effort it can be changed. One way to remember self-deception is with the acronym DENIAL. DENIAL stands for Don’t Even Know I’m Always Lying (to myself). When we make the conscious effort to change it is as simple as paying attention to our thoughts and statements. In fact, saying things out loud can often force us to realize how little the things we are thinking making sense. Candor is key to success in recovery. This is not just for yourself but also candor and rigorous honesty with others. Addiction is wrought with lies and half-truths, recovery is a chance to come clean and start over. Learning to be candid and practice honesty in all situations is tough at first, but it does get easier.
As you grow in recovery you can pay it forward and help others, this will help you become even stronger. In the early stages of recovery it may be hard to be honest with yourself and others. But it is very important. This is not to hurt you or others. But to help you live your life out loud and keep you honest in recovery. In active addiction we are surrounded and hidden in lies. Many deny having a problem but most also lie to obtain money, drugs, or alcohol to keep the habit fed. This all has to stop in recovery.
Also during recovery we can take the opportunity to come clean with others so life can move forward without the lies and secrets that kept the habit going. There is a chance that people in your life will not accept the truth well, but this journey is about you, not others. Learn to be true to yourself and honest with others, it will increase your chances of staying in recovery long term. Are you willing to be honest to start your life over?
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