Communicating Honestly in Recovery: Simple Ways to Be Honest with Yourself and Others
There’s often a lot to think about and go through during recovery. You have lots of feelings coming to the surface and perhaps some fears about the future. You may even feel overwhelmed with everything happening around you. Yet, throughout your recovery, it is critical to remain honest. Being honest with yourself and with those who support you is a critical component to building long-term recovery success.
The Importance of Honesty
During active addiction, there’s often quite a bit of lying and refusal to communicate. People suffering from addiction find it hard to focus on or value anything other than their next dose. They often manipulate friends and loved ones in order to get the alcohol or drugs they have grown dependent on.
The problem is that the more you deceive others, the harder it is for them to trust you. That’s a hard reality to face when you enter recovery. You can see that what you did was wrong, and you want people to trust you again. But trust takes time to rebuild.
Being consistently honest in recovery is the only way to rebuild that trust. Commit to being open with others and communicating clearly. Be willing to listen to another person’s point of view.
Being Honest with Yourself
It’s not easy to admit when you need help or that something isn’t right. Communicating honestly about where you are right now is so important. It’s a component of self-care in recovery. Here are a few examples.
Going back to work
Be honest with yourself about the amount of responsibility you are putting on yourself in your professional life. Do you feel as though you’re overwhelmed or ready to toss in the towel? Before it gets to that point, be honest:
- Is this the right job for you?
- Can you ask your employer to reduce your responsibilities?
- Do you need to go to a meeting to discuss what you’re feeling and get tips?
Another time to be honest with yourself is when you’re thinking negatively on a frequent basis. Negative self-talk like this is often inaccurate and comes from a place of fear and frustration. Be honest with what you’re facing:
- Is what you are thinking really true?
- Do you have low self-esteem right now?
- What is causing this negative thought, and how can you let it go using the techniques you learned in therapy?
Struggling with relationships
Are you facing difficulties within relationships that are taking over your life? You have to be honest with yourself before being honest with others:
- Are you holding onto a relationship just to have one but feel as though it really isn’t ideal?
- Are you putting enough of yourself into that relationship?
- Are you being dishonest with yourself about the way you feel about this person?
Being Honest with Others
Honest communication extends to others, too. Even when the conversation is difficult, or you are worried about the way they will perceive what you have to say, communicating honestly is essential. Here are a few examples.
Trying to do it on your own
Asking for help isn’t easy, but the chances are good that those closest to you know you need support. If you’re not willing to be honest when someone asks, “Do you need help right now?” you are putting yourself at risk for relapse.
Honesty means opening up about your thoughts and feelings so that others can offer support. It may be easy to think you can handle it all yourself, but that’s rarely the case.
Maintaining your lifestyle
Are you being honest with your family and friends about what’s happening to you or covering up how you really feel? That’s a form of dishonesty. You may be struggling with responsibilities at home or work. You may be finding that you just cannot stand to be around certain people. You may say you’re okay with various activities when you’re just not there yet.
Another example of dishonesty comes from just not telling the truth. You’re used to having people judge you, so you don’t share what is really on your mind. You don’t want to tell someone you can’t drink or use drugs like they do. You may lie to family and friends about where you are or what you are doing.
Lying may come from not wanting to be judged for mistakes you’ve made in the past or are making right now. Perhaps you’re facing the reality of relapse, but you’re telling your family you’re okay. Chances are good, they know you are not okay and want to help.
Building Confidence in Recovery
Work hard to focus on honesty in every facet of your life. Whether you forget an appointment or are just too overwhelmed to go to it, be honest about why you didn’t show up. Value the importance of being honest in all that you do. Building that trust with others is critical to your long-term success. It’s also going to provide you with the tools to be confident in who you are and where you are in this journey.
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