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Facing Our Own Dishonesty

 

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”  — Prov. 25:11

Facing our own dishonesty can be daunting, but maintaining absolute honesty is a basic premise of our recovery program.  12 Step programs of recovery describe it as “rigorous” honesty.  Belief that we can be honest without a solid commitment simply won’t work.

The more we grow, the more we develop our ability to make one choice at a time, to experience one feeling at a time, to tell the truth one situation at a time.  We admit to ourselves when we feel guilty, angry, fearful, and resentful – the negative feelings that are difficult to face.  Being honest is how we finally come to know what used to baffle us about our addiction.  When we create a unity between honest feeling, honest thinking, and honest action, we find that we have become honest people.  Personal honesty is a gift for which I thank the Universe every day.


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The Heavy Burden of a Life Full of Lies

One deceit needs many others, and so the whole house is built in the air and must soon come crashing down.  – Baltasar Graclan

I have recently made a new acquaintance and as I’ve begun what should be an enjoyable process of getting to know one another, I have discovered this person lies – a lot.  It’s like the entire fabric of his personality is woven with lies; lies about simple things that don’t even matter; lies that I can see could get an innocent believer into a tremendous amount of trouble if believed and acted on.  Experiencing this kind of dishonesty in my life now has caused me to reflect on my history with dishonest behavior and what the plan I have to keep myself in check each and every day.

Through my long history of lying, I know firsthand of the way lying drives us into secrecy. At first, came the “little lies” – to my partner at the time, about missing an appointment or coming home late; my time away difficult to cover up or explain.  Then came more lies to cover the lie, and then the lies to try to escape from the ugly web of lies that entangled me within my deceit. Soon, I couldn’t even look my loved one in the eye, I couldn’t risk the truth – that I had been out fucking around on him, and so I lied again and again. Sadly, the pathetic day came when I grew comfortable in my sick, isolated world of fantasy and deception. All along, those I was bullshitting knew I was lying.

My life became a house of cards; a pack of lies.  I couldn’t make an honest, open move for fear of bringing the shambles tumbling down around my ears.  Most often, I wasn’t the only one getting hurt by my behavior; my partners, family, friends and even business colleagues suffered horribly too.

I am well into my process of changing all that, but it takes time. Each and every day I need to take inventory and be fearless and honest with myself.  I have learned that each time I am honest, the lies lose their power, and finally the truth comes through. My life actually feels so much less heavy; I grew so tired of the lies I had spun around everyone in my life.  What I have gained through my openness is breakthrough into honesty and truth.


Honesty is a Vital Step

Along the Path

 Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.  – Thomas Jefferson

 

We have to find our own way to wisdom, and the road may sometimes be long and hard.  How do we start?  How far do we have to go?  How do we know when we are there? 

     I found it helpful to travel the road with others.  Some of the time was in group therapy; other time was spent in various 12 Step groups.  There, we all were given the opportunity to be honest with ourselves and to trust our inner voice.  After a time, we were able to separate fact from fantasy and come to a mature perspective on our own conduct.

 We need courage to be rigorously honest.  It is so easy to gloss over yesterday’s slip or forget that our behavior has hurt a loved one.  We may wish to begin by listing our good qualities and our bad qualities.  This helps us get a sense of proportion and provides the basis for an assessment of those actions that have harmed others and ourselves.  Then we can decide about making amends to the people we have hurt.  We must realize that some of the hurts we have caused are too deep, preventing some loved ones from ever believing us again.  Going one small baby step at a time takes away our fear that we can never do it, never get there.  Honesty, like anything else, can be learned, with patience and love.  I want to continue to learn honesty and consider it to be a vital step along the path toward wisdom and serenity.