Thursday, January 19, 2012

Common Denominators - Lying.

In Al-Anon, I've learned that dishonesty takes many forms. I lived 28 years believing I was an honest person because I didn't try to cheat on my income tax, or shoplift, although that may have been motivated more by a fear of the consequences than from any high moral ground, since in my personal life, I lied continually. I lied to the alcoholic about my true feelings. I lied to friends that I was "fine
I was a craven people-pleaser. I lied to myself through the use of denial.

It was a long hard haul uphill to be able to get to a place of acceptance about my dishonesty, forgive myself for it, and try a different way to live. As so many of us may do, I swung to the other extreme, and began speaking up when I should have said nothing, because my motivation wasn't good. Slowly, I settled into my comfort zone - when giving my opinion wouldn't be appropriate, I will either remain silent, or make one of those noises that mean, "Yes, I'm listening, please continue." If pressed to give an opinion when I don't wish to, I will say that I "don't have an opinion worth sharing."

I try to be honest with myself about what I'm doing - my motives.

I don't pretend to the alcoholic that I like what I do not like, or accept that which I find unacceptable. When I feel the necessity, I can say what I think, or feel, in a way that does not challenge or invite an argument, but is a simple statement of fact about me.

 Until about 3 years ago, the latter was not the case. I had good recovery in some areas, but I had a massive denial going about my relationship with my alcoholic spouse. During the many years we've been married, I had gradually allowed my boundaries to be shoved a long way back. I had accepted a lot of "jokes" that were nothing of the kind. I'd fallen into some old habits, and I was unhappy and frustrated. When the time came, and my Higher Power revealed this to me, I was stunned. I had entered this relationship when I was still quite new to Al-Anon, new enough to believe that sobriety was the same as recovery, and denial took over when I started to realise that the two are not synonymous.

Since we can't change what we don't acknowledge, facing reality is the first step on the path to change.
My rededication to honesty in my marriage caused a lot of hassle and stress, as the other person tried to force things to go back to what they had been, through a fair bit of acting out and manipulation. That was rough, but with the help of my sponsor, and my program friends, I made it through without capitulating, and things have been vastly better between us. He's very involved in AA, now, and that's a good thing.

None of that would have happened, had I not been willing to be honest with myself.


  1. I have always called that accomodating. Accomodating until my personality completely disappears. Then I get mad because I have become a shadow of myself. For years I couldn't see that it was me not them giving in.

    They have a right to get mad because I changed the rules and they have to adjust. But it has been worth the conflict to find myself and not live in compromise 24/7.

    This totally goes against everything I was taught growing up but feels great. Who thought honesty would be so hard.

  2. Being able to be Honest with myself has alot to do with working the steps. Looking at my character defects, some I found hard to let go of they blocked other emotions. Living the role as a victim made me right and them wrong....and kept the disease alive.
    It gets so hungry. I wanted others to take care of me if I took care of them...dishonest toward myself that I have needs.

  3. Fantastic post! I really needed this. I hate how hard it is for me to be heard. I take full responsibility for this. I think historically that I've been such a huge reactor and no one stood up to me. Now that I'm learning how to act right, I think I have a fear if I say anything it will be the "old" Cindy. Thanks for your tips, awesome.

  4. This is a good post to remind me that my boundaries get pushed back sometimes to a narrow little strip around me. I am honest but sometimes too straightforward in communicating. Simple statements about what I think that are kind and considerate generally work.