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emotional honesty
March 22, 2021

Emotional Honesty in Addiction Recovery

After years of being dishonest with yourself and others in active addiction, it can be challenging to relearn how to be truthful. However, emotional honesty is a foundational skill of recovering from a substance abuse disorder. 

When you start following the 12 steps of AA, you’ll soon learn each step has roots in taking personal responsibility and being truthful and willing to own your mistakes. What are some of the advantages of developing emotional honesty in addiction recovery?

1. Learn to Be More Authentic

When you have been relying on drugs and alcohol to suppress complex emotions, you might be uncomfortable sharing your feelings with others. However, when you are dishonest about your emotions or habitually sweep them under the rug, you can become chronically stressed, which might lead to an array of health problems.   

You’ll struggle to make progress in group and individual therapy if you try to bottle up your emotions or hide how you feel. Having the freedom to express yourself without worrying that others might judge you will provide you with significant relief as you work through your addiction treatment. 

2. Break the Cycle of Secrecy and Mend Broken Relationships

Dishonesty is ultimately an unhealthy coping strategy. The belief that you need to lie or act differently around various people is maladaptive. Secrecy is one chief reason addiction tears relationships apart and destroys trust. After all, nobody likes discovering that their loved one is deliberately misleading them. Practicing emotional honesty in recovery allows the healing process to begin as you acknowledge the pain you caused and make amends to people you hurt.  

3. Avoid a Relapse

When you rely on lying to avoid conflict and shield yourself from consequences, it can become an ingrained habit. If you catch yourself falling back into patterns of dishonesty, take a step back and analyze your behavior, then apologize to the person you lied to – even if that was yourself. Failing to express remorse for deceiving others is dangerous because it can make you feel anger and guilt, which may be relapse triggers. 

What happens if you find yourself on the verge of a relapse? First, don’t be afraid to reach out to your therapist or sponsor and sincerely ask for help. If you’re experiencing intense cravings or urges to return to substance use, you may also want to re-enroll yourself in treatment to address any unresolved conflicts or challenges. 

4. Get to Know Yourself Better

If you’re working on improving your emotional honesty in addiction recovery, a smart strategy is to keep a journal. Keep track of the various ups and downs you experience and your response to adversity. Analyze previous entries to see whether you can identify patterns in your behavior. Do specific circumstances make you lie reflexively? If so, what makes dishonesty your first reaction?

5. Restore Your Self-Worth

Addiction can cause people to feel worthless and lost. Replacing these distressing emotions with positive ones will renew your self-confidence and liberate you from the painful burden of living in hopelessness and uncertainty. Your newfound freedom can inspire you to continue making healthy progress in your recovery and lifting up the people you meet along the way. 

6. Discover Joy in the Everyday

In recovery, avoidance of negative or hurtful feelings may also stunt your ability to experience happiness and joy. Embarking on a new life that doesn’t revolve around alcohol or drugs can be frightening if you don’t know what to expect. In sobriety, it’s essential to find and embrace genuine sources of pleasure and find humor in daily situations.

Experience Qualified Addiction Recovery in Florida

Achieving long-term sobriety might seem like an insurmountable challenge, but choosing the right addiction treatment facility can smooth your road to recovery and equip you with healthy coping skills to manage an addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorder you might be living with. 

At Beach House, we’ve earned a national reputation as one of the country’s best places to start your recovery journey. We use evidence-based treatment methods to give all our clients the best chances of breaking the cycle of addiction and living a substance-free life. Request confidential help today.

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