This is the first of a three-part article on honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness. Learn about effective ways to communicate with your support system, including peers in recovery, supportive family members, 12-step sponsor, life mentors, spiritual leader, or recovery coach.
When someone is in active addiction, there is very little healthy communication. There is, however, a lot of unhealthy communication—which includes lying, manipulating, refusing to listen—basically doing the same destructive things over and over again.
Healthy communication means being honest, being open to hearing someone else’s point of view, and being willing to change bad habits in order to improve your relationships. H.O.W. communication skills strengthen your recovery.
It can be hard to out-think your addiction—it is, after all, a disease which affects your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. To get past the distortion that addiction causes in our thinking and behavior, we must first get honest. Being honest with your peers and with your sponsor is the best way to get the feedback you can use to save your life. If you aren’t telling your peers about your cravings and/or obsessions, or aren’t talking about how hard it has been for you to find a job or repair your relationships, how can anyone help you? It is your responsibility to tell people the truth about what is going on with you so that they have a chance to help.
“You’re only as sick as your secrets.”
– AA Saying
Unfortunately, in active addiction, you probably found that deception became a habit—including lying to yourself. Honesty doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something you practice and practice until it becomes more and more natural. Think of honesty as opening your eyes to the truth and start by keeping it simple. Try these steps to becoming more honest:
Communicating honestly takes practice, especially if you’ve been lying for a long time. It is worth it though. It’s certainly a lot easier to keep track of what lies you are telling everyone! Consider accepting these to-do list items to work on your honesty for 30 days, and don’t be afraid to ask for help:
Here’s a link to a short article on secrets and honesty.
Read more CeDAR Education Articles about Peer Support including H.O.W Communication: Open-Mindedness.