“The First Step is a matter of honesty and openness—in the shadows of aloneness we can trip and bury ourselves in shame.”
“First Step To Recovery”
After acknowledging I was an addict and beginning recovery, I believed my years of dishonesty were over. Yet after a slip, my pride of reputation and fear of failure prevented me from telling the truth. Over the next year, I lied about my sobriety and acted out in secret. The more I acted out in secret, the harder I worked to save face. And I tried everything except honesty to make up for lying: working the steps, speaking at meetings, sponsoring, and attending retreats and conventions. I sought solace in others’ approval, but the problem was (and always has been) that deep down I don’t approve of myself.
As my shame from acting out and lying heightened, I ultimately feared failing at life more than losing my reputation. Thanks to my dishonesty in program, I discovered what rigorous honesty means: telling the truth to my sponsor no matter the consequences; honoring the trust and love of others; not twisting reality to gain affection and approval. And I learned that rigorous honesty is not an achievement but a daily practice.
When I came clean, I was not kicked out of the program or abandoned by my sponsor and friends in the fellowship. It was painful to share my dishonesty, but today I can hold my head up in meetings because my slate is clean.
I’d rather be courageous about my lies than cowardly about the truth.