The fact is when folks are actively drinking or using they often spend countless hours concocting stories and lies to cover up the extent of their substance abuse, fooling themselves (and hopefully others around them) into thinking there is no problem. Of course, that kind of thinking is totally bogus and just about everybody knows it -- except the person with the problem.
Back in the 80s I played drums and sang in a wedding band (Impressive, right?!) and the Billy Joel song Honesty (52nd Street, 1978) was regularly on our playlist. I'm not sure why we thought a song about how dishonest people can be seemed appropriate to play at weddings, but, none the less, we played it anyway! (I also wore a ruffled tuxedo shirt and had a cheesy mustache, but I digress.) The song's lyrics include:
Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you
These words are somewhat ironic since down through the years Billy Joel has had his own struggles with alcohol, the consequences of which he has been fairly open and honest about.
When it comes to being honest about the consequences of your drug or alcohol use, here are 3 tips to help keep you on track:
- When talking about how your drug or alcohol use negatively impacted your life and the lives of those around you, get in the habit of pausing for just a moment in the course of conversations and ask yourself if what your about to say is actually the truth. I know this sounds like something you might do naturally -- but think again. When we're used to stretching the truth a little bit, over time it becomes easier and easier until we find ourselves lying without even realizing it.
- If you catch yourself starting to lie about the consequences of your use, ask yourself why you're doing that. Believe it or not, many people lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth. In other words, they lie when they don't even have to. This is not a good thing, and you might want to work with a therapist to find out what THAT'S all about.
- Learn to live out the old adage that honesty really is the best policy. And while talking about the real cost of your addiction might create a little stress in the moment, in the long term it will be well worth it.