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  • Writer's pictureMike and Glenn

Here We Lie

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Beginning of chapter 5, “How it Works” – The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

We have discussed honesty extensively in our previous writings.  We have discussed it as a topic, positioned it as a subtopic, and peppered it in as an underlying principle and practice of solid sobriety.  We mention it often because it is so vital to our new existence.  It acts as the glue that binds our being. We will continue to remind ourselves of its value in recovery.

Honesty is mentioned three times in the AA How it Works section referenced above.  It is one of the four absolutes described by the AA predecessor, the Oxford group, and one of twelve Biblical commandments. 

Integrity, truthfulness, sincerity, authenticity, accuracy, and faithfulness are synonyms with honesty.  Opposite honesty is lying, dishonesty, deception, untruthfulness, hypocrisy, and insincerity.

Our go-to when we were active in our addiction were those opposites. We had become proficient in the art of deception. We lied to ourselves and about ourselves so passionately that our lies became our truths. We misrepresented facts, omitted actualities, and used self-talk to justify deception at the highest level.  We were untruthful about the small things and fabricated the big stuff.  We positioned our hypocrisy as a principle that we were proud of. 

Deception was our dark mantra, and when caught in a lie, we lie to escape the light of truth.   We became comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Our choice of deceit delivered a weight of stress that could only be held up by drug and alcohol consumption.  We couldn’t bear the load on our own.  Heavy was the disappointment, regret, shame, confusion, fear, and stress of being outed. We drank in an attempt to escape these feelings.

Surrendering ourselves to the principle of honesty has taken all the pressure off our shoulders. There are admittedly minor pain points when pursuing and relaying truth, but the payoff is found in the clarity of one's communication with others and with oneself. The fact is that the weight of truth is lighter than the load of untruth.  Honesty is simply honesty, and there is no need to embellish. 

Honesty is tied into our sobriety, joining openness and willingness as tenets of recovery.  When we committed to the AA program, it was suggested that embracing and practicing these three attributes would lay a foundation for better living.

We found abstinence became easier when we removed the pressure points that encouraged escape.

More than that, honesty delivers authenticity,  calmness, and a sense of lightness in its clarity. Composure prevails where chaos once existed.  Genuine self-talk replaces the bullshit that used to fill the gap.  Trust is established – a luxury that had long left us.  Peace has taken possession where pain used to live. 

Today, we look for the red flags of relapse.  Little lies are indicators of a back-slide.  We know the stresses and the pressure of even the slightest deceit.  We deconstruct immediately lest they build on their own.  We stay vigilant about our motives.  We examine our manipulating tendencies.  We add the omissions where applicable.  We exchange catastrophic failure for these slight pains of effort.

We don't claim to be perfect at this. We still can't answer whether these jeans make one look fat.  The answer is usually, of course, they do.  However, we know what dishonesty did to devastate our souls and lives. Conversely, we see what honesty has done to restore us to the sanity of our youth.

The program we prescribe to (AA) demands rigorous honesty. The program we practice (AA)  delivers true sobriety, which includes peace, comfort, and hope.  It has us living a relatively stress-free existence – honestly!



Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from podcast #47  titled “Honesty - "The Bullshit Stops Now” … The session dropped  2/23/2022   .    Click here to hear the podcast. 



Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.




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