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Why Is Honesty During Recovery Important?

Apr 29, 2021 | Addiction Treatment

We all know that honesty is a very respected characteristic. If someone highly respected is discovered to be dishonest, it can ruin their reputation. Nevertheless, some types of dishonesty are more acceptable than others. The fibs and “little white lies” that we all tell from time to time are viewed as harmless and occasionally as kind.

But still, individuals who are trying to recover and rebuild their life after addiction need to be particularly careful about being honest. They need to be truthful with other people and especially with themselves.

Honesty Is One Of The Most Important Qualities During Addiction Recovery

Honesty is the most important principle for anyone in recovery. If a person who has problems with alcohol or other substances can be sincerely honest, recovery is assured. If the individual with substance use disorder (SUD) of any kind can admit, claim, or just plain tell the truth about what is going on, it forms the basis for everything to come. During recovery from substance abuse, honesty is crucial because:


Lying is a common trigger for relapse. Addicts often lie and lying during recovery is a sign that the person is going back to old coping mechanisms for coping with their life.


When recovering addicts stop being honest with themselves and other people, they can become “stuck” in their recovery. By being unwilling to face the challenges ahead of them, they start to hide in denial where no progress can be made. This is another common reason for relapse.


Not being honest with friends and family can ruin and progress that has been made to restore and rebuild relationships.

Self-Help Programs

Twelve-step and other self-help programs require relentless honesty. If a member is dishonest with the group, they won’t get any benefit from the program.


By maintaining honesty during recovery, it means the person doesn’t have to also deal with feelings of guilt for being dishonest. Feelings of guilt during recovery can make it difficult to find real happiness in sobriety and potentially cause a relapse.


It was the addict’s lack of honesty with themself that kept them trapped in addiction. Honesty helps make it possible to avoid letting self-deception take over their life again. If it does they may doubt the value of sobriety and the need for abstinence.

  • Healing

Honesty reinforces the healing of the person and those who are close to them. Dishonesty prevents the healing process.


Honesty is crucial to any type of therapy. If an individual is attending therapy in recovery, it is essential, to be honest in the therapy sessions, otherwise, there will be little benefit.

How You Can Increase Honesty in Recovery

Honesty is the key to a successful life free of addiction. As a result, it’s important to develop this characteristic. Recovery and honesty go hand in hand. Some ways to practice and increase honesty include:

  • One solution to breaking away from dishonesty is to admit when it has happened as soon as possible afterward. It’s difficult to admit lying, but it makes it more difficult to be dishonest going forward.
  • Similar to building muscles, the more you develop your honesty, the more honest you become.
  • Keeping a journal is another good way to keep track of your behavior. By journaling, you have a way to look back on the day and find any examples of dishonesty. Also, it reduces the chance of being caught up in self-delusion.
  • A person in recovery needs to have a clear understanding of the importance of honesty, and the pitfalls of dishonesty in recovery. People who don’t value honesty will not put much intention into living life honestly.
  • As mentioned previously, there are times when telling a lie might be the lesser of two evils. Everyone plays down the importance of a “little white lie.” However, it’s not a good plan during recovery to view any type of dishonesty as acceptable. Always aim for total honesty, even if you are unlikely to achieve it.

The Connection Between Honesty and Well-Being

There is a connection between honesty and well-being.  Honesty has beneficial effects on our feelings of contentment, security, and happiness. A study was conducted that found that people who intentionally work to lie less typically experienced fewer problems with physical and mental health. One obvious reason that honesty is beneficial is that people who tell the truth don’t have to worry about, or deal with, the stress that often comes with lying.

When you lie, you have to remember your lies to prevent them from being found out and proved to be lies. In many cases, you have to tell more lies to cover the original lie. This results in an increasingly complicated set of lies that become increasingly hard to remember. It’s best to realize that although being honest can be difficult initially, it can prevent you from having to deal with the stress and anxiety of lying. Which is more rewarding in the long run.

Pitfalls of Dishonesty in Recovery

Not consciously practicing honesty as an important personal quality could lead to:

  • Higher risk for relapse
  • Life in recovery is not as fulfilling
  • Dry drunk syndrome (behaviors that are usually seen with alcohol use that carry over into recovery)

3 Tips for Making Honesty Easier

Most people think honesty is simply the act of telling the truth. But it’s deeper and more complex than that. What may be true for one person may not be true for another. And at times, it may be hard to tell only the truth. 

Almost everyone tells a lie occasionally and, unusually, a person strives for honesty in every situation. But if the person feels like lying has become a habit or they feel like they can’t help lying, some things can be done to become more honest such as:

  1. Be aware of the times you are more likely to resort to dishonesty. Recognize that all people experience moments of dishonesty and then try to acknowledge your examples of deception instead of feeling ashamed or embarrassed.
  1. Recognize situations and surroundings where dishonesty is more likely to occur. Those situations can then be avoided or dealt with carefully. Circumstances where deceit is more likely to occur include:
  • In cases where there is a conflict of interest
  • Situations where the rules aren’t clearly stated
  1. During therapy, you have an opportunity to work on honesty, but some people misrepresent the truth in therapy. This commonly happens when an individual wants to avoid painful consequences or feelings of shame and guilt. In reality, therapy provides a safe place for people to share their inner thoughts without being judged and can help a person understand why they have been dishonest in the past.

How To Cope With Emotions During Recovery

Coping with emotions during recovery is one of the more difficult things to handle and could risk a person’s recovery and cause a relapse. Being open and honest about your emotions can help ward off uncomfortable feelings. The emotions that are most likely to cause problems for people in recovery are:

Loneliness and Boredom

Humans are social beings. And because of this, loneliness is a difficult emotion to deal with. When an individual stops using substances, it often means leaving their social group who were also involved with substance use. Leaving these social relationships can cause feelings of loneliness and boredom when they are gone. Boredom or the feeling that you have nothing to do is also a dangerous emotion. It’s also often a reason why people return to substance use.

Joy and Happiness

Somber emotions are not the only ones that can bring on a relapse. During recovery positive emotions also have that power. Stress can come from being happy about a first date, taking a trip, or a promotion at work. “Just one drink” to celebrate can undo a recovery.


Anger is the most dangerous of all emotions. When people are angry they aren’t thinking clearly. Due to this, it is easier for people to take part in behavior that they will regret later which leads to feelings of guilt.

Guilt and Fear

Guilt is extremely self-destructive and benefits no one. Since it’s impossible to change the past, the best path is to focus on the future. Unfortunately, the most common fears that people have in recovery come from worrying about things that have not happened and may not happen in the future. Self-destructive ideas related to anger, guilt, and fear of the future provide an easy path to relapse.

Breaking the Bonds of Addiction

Addiction does not respect people, money, or power. It doesn’t care if it destroys people, families, or entire communities. It doesn’t care if it cripples or kills. It only wants complete devotion.

When addicts become honest and admit what is in their hearts, they become empowered. They are no longer confined to their little worlds of lies. Honesty destroys the shackles of addiction and lets the addiction know that they will not be slaves to it anymore. Honesty is a ticket to freedom from substance abuse.

Are You Looking for Honesty and Recovery?

Are you starting to take an honest look at yourself, your life, and your future? Good for you. You are laying the foundation for your freedom from addiction. CNV Detox knows that you will need help to break the bonds of addiction safely and to live an honest, fulfilling life in your future. 

We have programs that include:

  • Medical Detox: Medically supervised detox so your body can return to a more normal balance safely.
  • Residential Program: You live at our Los Angeles facility, safe and secure and away from the distractions and triggers that might cause a relapse.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): You may need medication to help you ease into total sobriety and help you focus on getting well.
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Many people with substance abuse also have a mental disorder. This is called co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. It’s vital to have both conditions treated at the same time in a dual diagnosis treatment program to spot underlying issues that could be contributors to making things worse. 

Our facility provides a home-like atmosphere where you can build strong and supportive relationships with the staff and other residents. But we can’t do anything until you contact us. Whether it’s for yourself or someone close to you, don’t wait any longer. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help you recover, and get your life back in control.


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