Truth & Lies

Leopard-Optical-Illusion
Leopard-Optical-Illusion (Photo credit: The Foo Fighter)

I think too much, and while that usually is a bad thing… today, I was thinking about how when I was active in my addiction and even shortly after I had got clean and sober, I always had this immediacy to lie.  I lied about everything.  I lied even when I did not have to lie!

My disclaimer is this:  In 1996, I suffered a stroke that led to me having a permanent brain injury.  So sometimes, I do not remember things or sometimes I blur fiction with reality. This usually happens if people ask me leading questions.  Instead of asking me:

“Did you give the cassette tape back to Rick?” (involves a yes or no answer)  You might ask me, “What did Rick say when you gave him back the cassette tape?” A question like this leaves me in a state of panic; because I do not remember giving Rick back the cassette tape.

So I start to think hard: Did I give it back?  I remember talking to him about the cassette tape, I remember having the cassette tape when I was in the store, but I do not concretely remember giving it back to Rick.  But, I must have… Why else would someone ask me what he said when I gave it back if I did not give it back?

My defense mechanism kicks in to make me not feel like a total ass and my brain misremembers me giving back the cassette tape.  After all, I was in the store with the cassette tape in my hand and I had just talked to Rick.  But my defense mechanism is wrong, therefore, I still look like an ass.

I am still working on it after 17 years.

When I was full-blown in my addiction, I was also a full-blown liar.  Since I was a liar, I trusted NO ONE.  The logic is simple.  I was dishonest, self-seeking and seedy.  Why would I think others were anything different?  I could not be trusted and therefore, did not trust.

I used the two age-old methods:  being defensive and flipping the situation. Because, honestly, neither one of these requires remembering anything.

Not a damn thing did I have to talk about to get myself out of hot water.  All I had to do was ask things like:

“What do you think?” “Is that what you think of me?”

Or… throw someone else’s garbage up in their face.

It is mean and it is wrong.  Bottom freaking line.  Here is what dishonest people may not understand… it affects YOU and OTHERS.  Being dishonest chips away at the psyche like a beaver gnaws at a tree.  This is especially true for this alcoholic.

Today I am honest at all costs.  I even have a hard time with myself if I call out of work ‘Sick’ if I am not sick enough by my standards to call out of work.  I feel guilty all day long. Not fun!

What are your terms when it comes to honesty?  Are you honest at all costs? 

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Relapse – When Does It Begin?

Photo: www.ClarityWay.com
Photo: http://www.ClarityWay.com

I was forwarded an interesting article about relapse today and it got me thinking… When does relapse begin?  The article is here if you want to check it out: 7 Habits of an Addict About to Relapse.   If you’re interested, read the article.

In my opinion, the first sign of someone in recovery about to relapse is Withdrawal or Isolation.  I notice it is at the top of the list in this piece, and rightfully so.  Withdrawing from meetings, friends, family and/or activities is a sign of bad things to come.  Often, the addict may not realize he or she just turned down a dark part of their journey.

Reaching out at this point is not on the addict’s mind.  What is on the addict’s mind is getting rid of whatever demons were left unchecked while doing step-work or trying to suffocate a new demon.   If we are not working our 12 Step Program, we tread on dangerous ground each day.

The other sign I want to touch on is being secretive.  Maybe the addict got in touch with some old friends they once partied with. Maybe they are not being honest with themselves or others about things. They start telling little while lies.  They start making excuses to go to the store… a lot. They start hiding their cellphone or running into ‘long hours at work.’  Whatever the case, deception is classic.  As someone in recovery, I still remember my deceptive ways when I tried to use people for anything I could before I got sober.

These are the three ways to keep in check:

  1. Clean House
  2. Trust God
  3. Help Others

Each day I work my program, get honest and help others, is a day I won’t pick up a drink or a drug.