Honesty in Recovery

Honesty in Recovery

Honesty is important in maintaining relationships, employment and in life. People who are honest are more likely to experience a healthy, long term recovery than those who hide information from loved ones or try to pretend all is well when it is really falling apart. Find out why honesty is so crucial and how to enhance this characteristic in recovery.


One of the most respected moral characteristics is honesty. A respected individual who behaves with honesty experiences a positive reputation. Some types of dishonesty may be more acceptable than others yet many people will claim all types of of dishonesty are bad. People who work to rebuild following addiction must not only be honest with other people but practice self honesty. Relapse can become a bigger risk factor when honesty is missing from a person’s life.


Individuals with addiction to drugs or alcohol practice dishonesty as substance abuse brings conflict into relationships with people. People with addiction must lie in order to avoid such conflicts. The life of a person with addiction tends to involve telling oneself lies to cover previous lies, compounding the damaging effects lies have on a person with addiction’s life. Self-deception and denial can keep a person from experiencing the fullness of recovery. Some of the following reasons for being dishonest may occur:

  • Fear of consequences for actions (lying is a protective mechanism)
  • Lying is a habit and becomes automatic
  • Dishonesty may produce desirable outcomes socially and economically
  • Temptation begins to use as a tool to fulfill desires
  • Persons with addiction tend to lie even without realizing what’s happening
  • Some lies may protect others and feel harmless

A person who lies can endanger recovery as dishonesty may trigger a relapse as a ineffective coping mechanisms creep back into a person’s life.

Increasing Honesty

A successful life away from addiction, drugs or alcohol is developed through practicing honesty everyday. Some of the following keys are helpful when seeking to increase the capacity for honesty in recovery:

  • Honesty is part of a 12 step process of taking personal inventory when a person is wrong. Admitting wrongs done can make it easier to admit dishonesty in the future.
  • Developing honesty is like building muscles in the gym. It takes practice and the more it’s done, the easier it becomes.
  • Keeping a journal is helpful to track behavior and provides a snapshot of a person’s day-to-day activities to find examples of dishonest behavior. Journaling may also reduce the risk of being caught in self-delusion as things appear more clearly when written down.

Honesty is a trait people look for in others when seeking to build relationships both personally and professionally. It is a skill that will not go overlooked and helps build a person’s character to be more strong and fruitful for the long road of recovery.