Lies, Lies, and More Lies: Addiction, Law Enforcement, and Making a Bad Situation Worse
But the lies didn’t stop there. Police reported that when they brought the woman to jail, they found out that she had given them a fake name. Then, they found even more drugs on her person, including a bag of marijuana and a Lortab.
In addition to her reckless driving, the woman has been charged with bringing contraband into a secure facility as well as possession of a controlled substance.
The fact is that though this may seem like a surreal choice – How long did she really think she was going to get away with these lies before being found out? – lying and addiction go hand in hand. Lying is a natural response to situations for people who are trying to avoid the consequences of their choices. It is also apparently connected to self-esteem. That is, some researchers say that we lie when we feel our self-esteem is threatened in order to continue looking good to ourselves and others.
Unfortunately, even if lying makes the individual feel better in the short-term, positive self-esteem does not fare well in the long-term when those lies are discovered and the initial issue is only compounded with distrust and disrespect.
In recovery, there is a heavy focus on honesty – and for good reason. When we are honest, we are not hiding things and we can feel more confident in how we relate to other people, which in turn makes us feel more capable of making positive decisions, including avoiding relapse.
Here’s what you need to know as you make honesty an active part of your life and recovery:
- Notice dishonesty even in the little things. Did you overstate your interest in a book, movie, or band because someone you are talking to is interested? Do you say you have already completed a task when you haven’t? Do you agree to do things in the future you have no interest or intention in doing? Take note. No act of dishonesty in recovery is too small.
- Honesty does not have to be hurtful. Consider a situation in which someone asks you if you like something they made or are otherwise deeply invested in, and you truly do not like it at all. You can be honest without being hurtful, saying something along the lines of, “It’s not really to my taste but it’s definitely well done,” or “The time and effort you put into that really shows.”
- Don’t be afraid to be honest about dishonesty. In recovery, you may find that you lie in response to a question or in the course of conversation with someone without even thinking about it – then realize your mistake. Do not be afraid to backtrack and fix what you said, saying the truthful thing and correcting the dishonest comment you made. It is far better for you to “make it weird” with someone you are talking to than to live with the guilt or discomfort of knowing that you lied and/or feeling like you have to maintain a lie.
- Honesty is far easier once you get used to it. When you are honest about how you feel, what you like, and what you want, you will find that it makes things far simpler in your life. You no longer have to worry about getting “caught” in a lie or having to maintain dishonest statements so people see you in a certain light. Being yourself is so much easier than pretending to be someone you are not. When you are less focused on presenting yourself in a certain way to other people, you have more time and energy to focus on achieving your goals in recovery.
Is honesty a key issue in your recovery? How do you handle it when you realize you have been dishonest or when you feel the urge to lie?