To some degree, living with addiction requires an element of dishonesty. We may need to lie to family or friends about our use of drugs. We may lie to supervisors at work about why we are absent or why our work is slipping. We may lie in order to get the money we need to purchase our drug of choice. We may like to ourselves about the extent of our drug use or make excuses about our need to use drugs. Some research indicates that people who abuse drugs often come from the more intelligent among us. This isn’t really surprising, considering the fact that victims of addiction must keep track of an entire web of deceit. That can’t be easy to manage. You have to remember who you told what lie to.
This is one of many reasons why the person who abuses drugs is living a very difficult lifestyle. Beyond the web of lies that must be maintained, the victim of addiction must often give up other things they enjoy in order to continue their use of drugs. Addicts often end up living in unsafe, very risky situations and may engage in behaviors that leave themselves or others open to great harm. Even here, dishonestly is at work, since the addict often lies to themselves or others about how dangerous their behavior is.
Addictive behavior does not want to speak the truth, nor does it want to hear the truth. The victim of addiction can become angry and resentful when somebody speaks the truth to them about their addictive behavior. To point out to an addict what they are really doing is often to risk rejection, anger and avoidance. The attempt to break through the addict’s web of lies often results in verbal attacks on the one speaking the truth. The addict knows, on some level, that their web of lies is necessary to the maintenance of their addiction.
Honesty is indispensable to recovery. As long as you continue to lie to yourself or others, you will not be able to move forward into recovery. Addiction cannot survive in an environment of total honesty. Addiction is, at least in part, an attempt to escape from reality, so a real and full acknowledgement of one’s reality cannot coexist with addiction. The two are diametrically opposed. God calls us to live the truth in our words and in our deeds. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are to both hear and speak the truth.
The Addiction blog has posts relating to honesty in recovery. Find it at http://alcohol.addictionblog.org/honesty-and-self-deception-in-drug-or-alcohol-addiction/