None of us was born a liar. As we were growing up it just began to manifest. For many of us it grew out of a fear that we weren’t enough. To compensate for this, we decided to embellish a fact about ourselves or an event. It seemed that others were more impressed by our embellishments than by the truth. It appeared to us that the key to people liking us more and validating us was through the path of exaggeration. It probably wasn’t even a conscious decision. Once we began to lie, it seemed to take on a life of its own. We needed to create lies on top of lies to substantiate our previous falsehoods. After a while it became second habit for us to lie. It just made our lives so much more interesting.
When we introduced our drug of choice into the picture, our lying really took off. We needed to somehow justify all of the problems we were causing because of our alcohol and drug use. By the end of our addiction journey we actually had convinced ourselves that everything we said was the absolute truth; even in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.
In sobriety, with a lot of work, we have learned to be honest in all of our dealings. We are fine just the way we are and have become much more comfortable with telling the truth.
Personal Reflection: Do I still tend to exaggerate?
Prior to entering the program, lying was a problem for many of us. We would lie to ourselves constantly. Not being able to admit to that we were addicted to drugs, or alcohol or food fueled our lying. We would tell ourselves, “I don’t drink or drug or binge on food that often”. After a while, on some level we began to believe the lies we told ourselves. Our lying to others was an outgrowth of our self deception. We actually began to believe the lies we told to others about our substance usage. We also knowingly lied to avoid the disapproval of others or the repercussions of our actions. At some point, we knew that we were deluding ourselves and others. It became more and more difficult to maintain the level of continuity which only exists when we are speaking the truth.
In sobriety, we learned that the program placed a very high premium on the truth. We discovered that it required less effort to tell the truth than to lie. Yes, sometimes it was initially difficult to open up and share honestly. Once we took a chance and spoke the truth, everything got a lot easier. We didn’t have to waste our time trying to remember what our last lie was. Somehow, the truth was easily remembered days weeks and months after an initial conversation.
Personal Reflection: How do I know if I’m lying to myself or others?
Denial comes in many flavors. For the addict, it often took the form of lying. We lied in order to minimize an action or its associated results. One of the most frequent lies was how much we used each day. “But honey, I don’t understand why you’re so upset. I only had a couple”. Then there was the lie to escape the consequences of an action. “Honest officer I didn’t know I was going 50 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone”. We told these lies so frequently that we began to believe them. When caught in our lies, we vehemently denied that we were not telling the truth. Our voices were often raised for good measure.Some of us also liked to inflate our actions and accomplishments to hide our own inadequacies and failings. This often increased over time as our sense of grandiosity expanded.
When we finally entered the program, we came face to face with a concept that had alluded us while we were active. We discovered the serenity of telling the truth and never having to look back or cover ourselves ever again.
Personal Reflection: Are we truly honest in all of our daily dealings?