Shades of Truth: Why Honesty is Important in Recovery

woman crying in front of others


Previous research has shown us that storytelling is a way to connect with others, gain perspective on situations, and learn more about ourselves. We utilize stories all the time – to explain a situation, to relay an important message, to entertain others and to identify solutions to life’s problems. In recovery, self-disclosure is a form of storytelling that allows clients to come to terms with themselves and the reality of their lives. At times, this disclosure can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and upsetting. However, disclosure is crucial because it forces us to become more vulnerable in our surroundings – making way for enriched growth and transformation.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Groups in Addiction & Recovery emphasized that storytelling through self-disclosure is a way for clients with addiction to change their perspective of themselves – from the addict self, to the recovering self, to the aspirational self. Only when one is sober and actively engaging in treatment can they discover new causations and meanings behind their past addictive behaviors; dishonesty can hinder a person from making these realizations, thus placing their recovery at a disadvantage. When dishonesty is involved, relapse is more likely to occur. This is because lying often helps individuals continue to live in a false reality – allowing them to believe whatever they’d like because it makes everything easier and more convenient for them. Many lies that individuals with addiction tell themselves include:

  • “I don’t have that serious of a problem.”
  • “I can quit at any time.”
  • “My addiction isn’t the problem, it’s my wife, kids, job, etc.…”
  • “Everybody else does this, so it’s not an issue.”

A different 2015 study conducted by researchers from Canada found 5 main “rules” to help clients focus on what’s most important: 1) creating a life where it’s easier to not use, 2) being completely honest, 3) asking for help, 4) practicing self-care, and 5) not bending the rules. As you can see, honesty is a major component of recovery success because without it, true healing cannot take place. Dishonesty allows you to continue living your past, while honesty places you in the present and gives you the control to move forward. Make honesty your best policy moving forward, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it may be – it’s always worth it.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.