Skip to main content

Honesty In Recovery: Why is It Important?

Guilt and shame are common themes during recovery. Of course, it’s embarrassing to admit to oneself that there is a problem. Also, people might feel ashamed at the fact that they ended up in the situation in the first place. No matter how someone arrives at an alcohol or substance use disorder, there is no shame in caring about honesty in recovery.

It’s difficult to admit to the extent of a problem, especially when it is self-inflicted. Those struggling with honesty and recovery must remember that alcohol and substance use disorders are health disorders. As the old adage goes, the first step is admitting that there is a problem. The second step is maintaining that commitment to honesty throughout recovery. Without integrity, a person struggling with addiction might slip back into self-destructive behaviors.

Not only do recovering individuals need to accept the truth of the situation, but they also need to make sure not to lie to those around them about it. Shame largely comes from the feeling of being judged. The fact is that recovery is only possible by being honest to oneself and the people that are trying to help. Shame is temporary, but sobriety can last a lifetime

Why Is Honesty In Recovery a Necessary?

Maintaining honesty in recovery is important for individuals who are working to overcome substance abuse. Sometimes, it is more important for the recovering individual than it is for those around the person. While it’s true that recovering addicts must be honest with others, they must be honest with themselves first and foremost. There are several reasons why honesty and recovery should go hand-in-hand:

It Gets Easier Over Time 

Lying is a bad habit. People often do it in an attempt to make their lives easier. Anything done habitually becomes a normalcy. The same can be said about lying; The more people lie, the easier it is to do it and the more likely they are to do it. Plus, lying enough can make a person believe their own lies.

Honesty in recovery is crucial to getting through an addiction. It’s better to admit the extent of addiction instead of lying about it. Over time, telling the truth becomes habitual. The more a person exercises honesty in recovery, the easier it gets. 

Everyone Deserves Love and Respect 

Another truth is that everyone deserves love and respect, which includes people in recovery. Taking the plunge to dive into radical honesty and recovery is a form of self-love. It’s easier to wallow in self-hate and tell lies to oneself about how he or she will never be able to overcome their addiction. 

Many people struggling with an addiction feel hate toward themselves. They lie about the fact that they could decide to get treatment and get help. They lie to themselves about what they’re capable of. Recovering individuals must admit that they’re worthy of getting better and just need to take action to do so. 

People Owe It To Themselves 

Being honest during recovery isn’t an easy task. In fact, it takes a lot of work and self-awareness. However, every person struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder owes it to themselves to be shamelessly honest. The reason why is because they have already put their body and mind through so much with substance abuse. 

People with an addiction must recognize the constant harm they do to themselves when resorting to drugs and alcohol. The body and mind have gotten them this far in life, so why not give them the love they deserve? Making the decision to admit the full extent of the problem is what people owe to themselves. 

It Can Lead to Quicker Recovery 

Putting off treatment and not being honest to oneself is dangerous. It can lead to a worse addiction, which can turn into deeper health problems. Many people die every year from drug overdoses. Some of these people ended up in this situation because they weren’t honest about how bad their addiction was. 

The moment people suffering from addiction decide that they have a problem they need to take care of, it puts them closer to recovery. Plus, it keeps them healthier than if they were to continue to abuse drugs and alcohol. A moment of clarity and honesty is a moment closer to recovery. 

Why Is Honesty in Recovery Important to Friends and Family?

Again, individuals must be honest with those around them as they work through recovery. Addiction doesn’t just affect the struggling individual; it also impacts a person’s family and friends. This makes honesty and openness even more important as individuals recover from addiction. 

People Need a Support Network 

Everyone needs a support network. While the trained staff at an addiction treatment facility acts as a support network, there is nothing more powerful than the support of friends and family. Honesty and recovery are much easier when recovering individuals make the active decision to be honest with loved ones about their health. 

That said, people going through recovery don’t need to shout it to the world about their relationship with drugs and alcohol (unless they want to). Yet, telling a few close friends and family members makes them a part of a strong support network to lean on when going through a dark period. 

Being Dishonest Can Ruin Relationships 

Alternatively, being dishonest during recovery can ruin close relationships. Addiction is known as a family disease. It hurts everyone around someone who has a destructive relationship with drugs and alcohol. Strong bonds are maintained through trust. Boundaries are too. 

The moment that trust is broken by lying about recovery or the extent of addiction is when a friend or family member may decide the relationship isn’t worth it. In the end, everyone needs to maintain their physical and mental wellbeing. Committing to being there for a person struggling with addiction when they can’t commit to change is a one-sided exchange that will leave both parties hurt. 

It Stops Family and Friends From Enabling 

Sometimes friends and family members can make a person’s addiction worse. That’s not to say that they cause it in any way. The fact is that drugs and alcohol are extremely addictive. Their chemical make-up is what is the cause of addiction. 

However, actions like giving a recovering individual money to spend and calling out for them will only lead to a deepening addiction. A part of honesty and recovery is letting loved ones know how they’re enabling a person struggling with alcohol or substance abuse. Even though it may hurt them, it would hurt them more to see a person they care about struggle even more. 

They Want to See Their Loved Ones Succeed

At the end of the day, friends and family hurt the most seeing the one they love going through an extremely dark period in their life. Not only does staying honest during recovery create a strong support network, but it’s also important because friends and family want to see their loved ones succeed.

People struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder may decide to be dishonest about it because they don’t want loved ones to worry about them. The supposed embarrassment isn’t worth the loneliness that comes with staying silent about an addiction. The sooner people struggling with addiction talk about it with loved ones, the better the chance they have to overcome alcohol and substance abuse. 

Why Is Honesty In Recovery Important to Addiction Treatment Staff? 

It’s necessary to be honest during recovery to the treatment staff at an addiction treatment facility. An addiction treatment staff is in charge of dictating what programs and medication a patient will take when they are recovering. Lying about the extent of an alcohol or substance use disorder can set back treatment and make it less effective. 

It Helps Treatment Be More Successful Overall 

Being honest with the team about mental health is equally as important. Mental illness and addiction are common. Staying silent about the extent of either will make treatment less effective and can even be dangerous for patients in recovery. If they struggle with both, a medical professional on the treatment team can recommend co-occurring disorders, or dual diagnosis, treatment. 

They Can Change Treatment If Necessary 

Just like any medical condition, treatment often needs to be adjusted. This may mean adding additional addiction therapies to a program or adjusting the dosage of medication. Addiction treatment specialists can only properly help patients who are truly exercising honesty and recovery. 

If a person in recovery feels that his or her program isn’t working the way it should, they shouldn’t be dishonest about that. Treatment may not work at first but can work completely with minor adjustments. 

They’re Not There To Judge 

Those suffering from addiction may lie about how they are doing because they are afraid the addiction treatment staff will judge them. What such people must keep in mind is that the staff at these types of facilities have seen it all. Also, addiction treatment specialists understand that an alcohol or substance use disorder is a medical condition.

On top of these reasons, addiction treatment staff largely work at these facilities because they want every patient to succeed. The more honest patients are with them, the more they can help the patients. Anything they suggest always comes from a place of care, not judgment.  

Don’t Underestimate How Freeing Honesty In Recovery Can Be 

At first, honesty in recovery is difficult. When a person is struggling with an addiction, it’s common for them to tell lies. Just like any habit, telling the truth to oneself and others is a muscle that must be constantly flexed. Honesty and recovery get easier over time with the right help. Harmony Place helps patients find their truth and peace with it. Contact us now to learn more.