Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Honesty – In Recovery, the Only Hope

Dr. Phil was recommended to me recently by a close friend—he loves the show. Of course I’ve seen it before, but I’m not big into television really. So, whilst I worked out recently I was captivated by this episode on sex addiction. The long and the short of it was this husband of seven years was profoundly deluded, not knowing truth from lies, in his addiction—the pain and torment in his wife was difficult to reconcile. It could be reasonably reckoned as a hell-on-earth situation.

And the root problem was? This addict was plain dishonest; after years, perhaps decades, of subverted criminal behaviour his conscience had been seared. He’d come to a point where even his lies and inconsistencies seemed plausible to him—yet, everyone else was horrified. Is this an example of one who’s beyond help?

Three of the most translucent quotes on honesty from Alcoholics Anonymous tell us how critical honesty is in the process of recovery from addiction.

“Those who do not recover are people who cannot and will not completely give themselves to this simple program [AA], usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates...

“They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty...

“but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.”[1]

Honesty, honesty, honesty. Brutal honesty, when we have any sort of addiction or are dependent unhealthily, is all it takes—but, this is beyond some because it takes first a good helping of courage and for some again, it’s to venture into years of spiritual deceit. Some (like the guy on Dr. Phil) just don’t know what’s truth from the lies.

And how does the person or people on the other side of the addictive behaviour cope in the meantime? Well, about all they can do is pray. It’s up to the addict. The ball’s in their court. They must take responsibility for their own life; for their own problem; for their very own lies.

It may be a tired and worn cliché but it is nevertheless one of the most powerful truths: Honesty is the best policy—always.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

[1] Alcoholics Anonymous, The Big Book (4th Ed.) (New York City, New York: AA World Services, Inc., 2001), p. 58. Italics not in original—used herein for emphasis.

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