Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Truths

Alright, last week we talked about one of the Four Absolutes, Purity. We had some interesting feedback and a nice chat, thanks for participating!

This time around as promised, I'll share my thoughts on Honesty. I can say that I wasn't terribly honest when I arrived in AA. I was lying to myself about my drinking, my drug use and how I lived my life in general. As a result, I was a drunk, stoned, irresponsible, miserable mess. Oh, and I was angry. So, I suppose that pretty well covers my honesty with others, lol.

As I came around to meetings, I began to hear things like "Stop lying to yourself." "The time you wasted at work was time stolen from your employer." "The time your spent indulging in your addictions and taking away from your family was theft." This didn't even address the stolen money and other material things. Oddly, as the fog lifted I was somewhat shocked to learn to what depths my dishonesty had permeated. I was in such a fog that I had no clue I'd been lying or acting dishonestly in so many aspects of my life (ironically, a part of, or function of my own dishonesty... we believe our own bullshit!)

AA taught me that my desire to drink was a mental obsession, a physical allergy and a spiritual illness. Part of the emotional and mental obsession is my dishonesty. I've learned that I can talk myself into just about anything, if I "let the tapes roll" long enough in my mind. I am a rationalizer (liar) and salesman (again, liar) by nature, by default. So now in recovery, knowing this about myself, I have to look at what I say and do very carefully through the lens of God's will for me. I have to take care to check my motives for doing things because I know it doesn't take much for subtle dishonesty to enter my thinking. Subtle dishonesty turns into less-less than-subtle, sobriety threatening dishonesty.

For me, dishonesty will eventually lead me back to active addiciton and alcoholism. Part of why I drank was to fill the "hole in my soul" caused by hurting, lying, lonliness, etc. So, if I can keep myself honest, I have a much better shot at staying sober and growing in recovery. I am not talking about the easy honesty, when someone gives me something that isn't mine and I return it. I am talking about blood and guts honesty about how I live my life. "Do I really know why I am trying to become friends with a partcular person? Am I using them? Am I hanging round this particular gal because she is attractive? Am I sharing at meetings because I really need to get something of my hest or am I talking to hear myself talk? Am I sharing with a newcomer to help them or to make myself appear wiser?"

These are the things that I thing of when I hear the word honesty. I know I could never possibly be perfectly honest in alll things, all the time. That's why honesty is listed among the Absolutes. Only God is absolutely honest. I can strive for that perfection and I should. But I have to be prepared for reality and my shortcomings. I have to accept myself and work to improve. For me, honesty is a sobriety threatening character issue. I must be vigilant for dishonesty or eventually return to that awful life of active alcoholism and addiction.

Give us your thoughts on honesty folks :-) Next time around, we'll hit unselfishness!


Enchanted Oak said...

This is a good discussion of why honesty benefits us, in that dishonesty is a threat to our sobriety. I heard when I was new that "you are as sick as your secrets" and it made a big impression. I was sick and tired of being sick.
A further thought is that our honesty helps others. When we tell the truth about ourselves, others are touched and inspired to be truthful themselves. We offer them the opportunity to feel safe in sharing their own secrets. Every time I confess that I'm struggling with something, someone comes up to me and says, I struggle with that too...thanks for letting me know I'm not alone.
Honesty about ourselves helps reinforce the fact that no one is perfect and we don't have to do anything alone, including living with the crazy thinking that characterizes the alcoholic.
Good reminder, Scott.

drybottomgirl said...

Honesty is what I think makes a lot of people run from this program. Honesty makes me face all the garbage I've been running from and it also makes me see my part in it. Honesty serves up humility. I can make myself believe anything too, and I can munipulate my mind into rationalizing almost any behavior. Like you so well stated, this is a dangerous thing to do. However if I'm truly honest I will difuse that weapon before it's ever used. God already knows all that we've done, it's admitting it to ourselves and being honest that is the hardest part....

Eric Alder said...

Being honest isn't always easy, especially after one has become prone to lying. Lying can be just as habitual as other stuff.

Lying is just a form of cheating - cheating people out of the truth, including yourself - and, as I wrote just yesterday, the worst person to cheat is yourself.

But there's hope in the fact that, like lying, telling the truth can also become a habit - only it's a much healthier habit.

Of course, that doesn't mean one should just blurt-out whatever comes to mind. Discretion is necessary, because sometimes stratght-forward truths can be hurtful. (i.e. A doctor walks in and announces, "Your child is dead.")

Discretion can be difficult at times, but it (gradually) leads to the truth, and that's what we should be aiming for.

Overall, it's far easier to be truthful in life, if for no other reason than not always having to remember what lies one has told. (The truth is always easier to remember) There's a German proverb that says, "A clear conscience is a soft pillow."

So, tell the truth and you can (finally)get some rest!

Syd said...

I desired to be honest with my sponsor and was. I told him everything--more than others ever knew. I still work on being authentic every day. Some days are better than others. But I do see a lot of evasiveness in sponsees. I like the idea of being rigorously honest. Thanks for writing on the Absolutes.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Well there's honesty by the bucket load here for sure.And great courage too.Very best wishes to you.