How about ‘I don’t have a problem’?
Angela: Well, honesty is an interesting topic because it’s rooted in morality; and morality is individualized. What one person considers honest, another may not. As much as I’m giving an objective viewpoint, it’s still subjective based on my own morals, values, and recovery. I don’t know if I can call ‘I don’t have a problem’ a lie, because when you’re in that level of addiction, it is your truth. No more so than being in an abusive relationship, and thinking things are going to be different tomorrow. We believe what we want to believe in order to do what we want to do.
How do you think small fibs and white lies turn into problems with recovery?
Angela: Those who struggle with alcoholism or addiction are often ritualistic. I think that white lies can potentially compromise recovery because, as human beings, our repeated behaviors become patterns. When a behavior becomes a pattern, it starts to feel normal. The pattern of telling small white lies can become comfortable and lead to telling bigger lies. I believe that this routine of dishonesty can contribute to an increased disconnection from one’s true self and thus increase the likelihood of a relapse. Addiction requires dishonesty. Recovery requires honesty.
What should an individual in recovery do if they catch themselves continuing to be dishonest?
Angela: I congratulate any individual who can be aware enough to admit that they’re being dishonest. We can all be dishonest, on some level. A lie is a protective shield that one stands behind. Beneath the shield is often a disconnection from ourselves, or a desire for chaos and drama. It’s not about the lie, it’s about why you’re lying. I would encourage anyone being dishonest to ask themselves: ‘Why do I feel that I have to lie? What is it about myself that I cannot own?’ I’d also recommend finding someone you have the courage to be vulnerable with, and that you talk about the lie. It is empowering to stand in your truth.