By Michael Arndt, Alumni Coordinator, CAST Centers
Follow Michael on Instagram: @michaelcastcenters
Before I got sober, my life pretty much revolved around lying. I led a double life that required keeping a lot of secrets and telling a lot of lies. It is an uncomfortable topic for us to discuss, and though almost everyone lies, if you ask them, they will vehemently deny it. There is a lot of shame around our relationship with dishonesty. We are taught that it makes someone a bad person if they lie.
My experience has taught me tha is almost never the case. Often, people lie because they are in pain, shame, or fear. I think we can all have compassion for a person who is experiencing these emotions — they are difficult and we have all been there.
I am not advocating dishonesty, but advocating instead for compassion for those who struggle with it. There are those too who are so hurt, ashamed or fearful of reality that they have no accurate perception of it and therefore cannot speak to it; It is often not even conscious.
As we all know, being as honest and vulnerable as we can in recovery is a crucial piece to getting well. We cannot change that which we do not acknowledge. The more tightly we hang on to our pain, the more it will hurt us. It is helpful, if you are struggling with it, to take a step back from it and gain some perspective on it. Ask yourself, what is the reason that compels me to be dishonest? Am I attempting to control a narrative because I am scared of being seen for who I really am? Am I so hurt at the prospect of rejection that I would rather be dishonest and inauthentic?
There are some valuable lessons surrounding discomfort with the truth. These areas in our lives and in ourselves are worthy of nonjudgmental exploration and can expand our growth and sense of self.