“I am not a liar, I don’t lie” is something I heard the other night on a reality show that I watch. I started to think about that sentence and wondered if anyone can really make that statement and have it be true. There are white lies and black lies and sins of omissions. Sometimes we lie in order to protect someone. Sometimes we lie to protect ourselves. Alcoholics and addicts are liars; they have to lie in order to get that next drink or drug. They will say or do anything to protect their right not to feel for awhile.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) suggests that to remain sober, we must practice rigorous honesty. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that some people are not capable of the kind of honesty that is needed. People with serious emotional issues may not be able to be honest. I am not suggesting that each of us make our own kind of honesty, but I know that I may lie in order not to hurt someone. Alcoholics Anonymous makes a contingency for this however. It suggests that in the case of a spouse that cheated on their husband or wife it is not always the right thing to admit it. If something we say is going to hurt more than it helps then we should keep it to ourselves.
I think that rigorous honesty is more about being honest with ourselves. We have to see where our drinking or drugs has taken us. We have to examine our behaviors and promote change. We have to be willing to do whatever it takes to remain sober. We have to take the rose colored glasses off and really look at who we are. At times this may be about allowing others to tell us what our drinking or drug using has done to them or to the family. To get and remain sober we have to stop lying to ourselves.