Lies have been a frequent companion in my journey through life. Both those that I frequently told others when I was in the throes of my addictions and those that I told myself.

Dishonesty is a hallmark trait of Alcoholics and addicts, which is why Honesty is the principle of AA’s First Step, and why “How It Works,” the summary of our spiritual program of recovery on page 68 of the AA Big Book, calls for “grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.”

To become and remain stable and spiritually fit (one day at a time), I had to stop using lying, deceit, lies of omission, presenting a false front, and rationalizing/justifying as “coping skills.”

And I had to start striving to eradicate the lies drilled into my head by parents who were sick like me, and by our materialistic, shallow, “me” culture.

I remember in 1993 when I was first diagnosed with a Serious Mental Illness (Bipolar Disorder), my (excellent and life-saving) therapist and I composed a list of all the self-defeating and shaming things that I believed about myself. We labelled it ‘Jason’s parents lies.’ Then we set to work employing CBT and reality-based thinking to counter and replace those lies with a grounded, healthy self-image.

It has taken years of hard work to replace those lies and that shame, and sometimes they still pop back to the surface and rear their ugly heads. But, thanks be to my Higher Power and my hard work, I have CBT, shame anchors, a support network, spiritual and recovery readings, affirmations, prayer, and a host of other ways to counter them.

I am grateful to my Higher Power that His grace (and my 8 years of sweat and diligence in AA) have given me the wherewithal to face and tell the truth. And the courage to make amends to those whom my abject dishonesty harmed.

Rigorous honesty has become a “manner of living” for me. So lies believed and lies told no longer manufacture a false inner reality or a deceitful external reality that harms others.

I have learned to “believe responsibly.”

Image Credit: MyKa McKinney

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