The Power of Being Honest

One of the most difficult choices to make in recovery is to be completely honest. However, being truly honest with everyone in our lives, most especially ourselves, can be one of the most rewarding and empowering choices we make.

Being Honest with a Higher Power

One of the most tangible benefits of turning ourselves over to a power greater than ourselves is that divine power is not a tangible being that we have to confront face to face. That can make it easier for us to pour out our souls and be totally honest with God or whatever power we have found.

To believe in God or another spiritual power is to believe in the concepts of forgiveness and a complete lack of judgment. Prior to surrendering our lives to divinity, it is very unlikely that we have felt what being on the receiving end of true and unconditional love is like. That can give us so much power, and being honest in our spiritual journey can bring so much healing as well.

Being Honest with Others

Facing our loved ones, especially those we may have hurt before we started our recovery journey, can be incredibly difficult. We are already struggling with bridging the gap between forgiveness and self-acceptance and our past behaviors. Now we have to be honest with others, who may judge us, become very angry with us, or worse, not be willing to forgive us for our past. Whoever said, “Honesty is the best policy” probably never battled addiction.

However, being honest with others truly is the best policy for our recovery. To truly allow healing, we need to own up to the mistakes we have made and allow for natural consequences. No matter how the other people react, even if they no longer want to be in our lives, our conscience is clean and the healing can begin. And laying ourselves bare before another human being allows us to find, without any question, the people in our lives who truly love us and will support our recovery.

Being Honest in Our Recovery

Recovery only happens with complete surrender, and surrender means we don’t get to choose which parts of our lives we are honest about anymore. Complete surrender means complete honesty. No matter how hard it is for us to speak about, no matter how much we want to gloss over things we did that were embarrassing or harmful to others, our recovery will only be as complete as our honesty.

Being honest with our sponsors is important on so many levels. One of the most important reasons is that it builds trust in our relationships. Being honest can feel like we are jumping off of a bridge, however, in actuality, it helps to form that bridge between two people. Our sponsors are not going to judge us. Our sponsors have been right where we are now. Our sponsor wants us to be successful, possibly even more than we want ourselves to be successful.

Being Honest with Ourselves

Looking into the face of a loved one and being completely honest can paralyze a person into inactivity. But looking into the mirror and being completely honest with ourselves is one of the most difficult things anyone can do in this life. We are the one person that we can never escape from. Our truths are the truths that only we have lived. Despite the fact that we already know those truths, deep down inside of us, where we stuffed them and hid them and numbed the pain with our addictions, looking in the mirror and truly being honest is one of the most powerful gifts we can give ourselves.

Around those things we did before we got sober, we may have added judgments, stigma, negative self-talk, self-loathing and more. When we truly unwrap our truths and face ourselves, we remove all of those other things. Now we can see who we really are as a person. We can look at what we have done, and we can make the choice to accept them for the scars that they are on our souls. We can learn from them, we can grow from them, and perhaps when we are strong enough again, we can use our truths to help others face their truths.

Looking in the mirror with complete honesty can be a massive stumbling block on our road to recovery. But removing our masks and looking at the person we really are, scars and all, we get to choose who we will be today. Then tomorrow. And every day of our recovery from now on. Only we will know when we have truly been honest with everyone in our lives. And only we will receive all of the powers of healing and growth that come from being totally honest. So talk to your higher power. Call that family member. Call your sponsor. Look in the mirror today, and call us at (805) 719-7954 to speak to one of our admissions experts. Tomorrow’s you will thank you.

Facing Fear of Recovery

Most people don’t like change, let’s face it. But when our bodies have come to depend on drugs or alcohol socially, emotionally, mentally, and physically, then at some point, our jobs, our families, health, our freedom, and even our very our lives may be on the line. Not to mention the lives of others. But recovery is scary. It means change. And our bodies don’t want to change, either. With everything on the line, though, we need to face our fears and step into the life-saving grace of recovery.

Fear of Change

We are creatures of habit. And when we have a drug or alcohol habit, that tends to make us fear change even more. We might have to change pretty much everything in our lives: where we socialize, how we socialize, even our friends and acquaintances. It’s possible that we may even have to make changes with our family members while we are changing. That would be scary enough on our own. But add to it the fact that we would be giving up the one crutch we have been hiding behind – our substance(s).

Depending on how long we have been using, we may not even be able to remember how to live each day without a drink and/or drug. Although that is scary, we have the opportunity to improve our lives for good. Change can mean better, changing our lives for our good and for the people in our lives. Or even changing the people who will be in our lives when we seek the help we need to make permanent improvements going forward.

Fear of Being Healthy

There is usually a reason that people begin using substances, and it is typically because they are not happy with the lives they have. If we were emotionally healthy in the first place, why would we have begun drinking and using, to begin with? But deep down inside of us, sometimes we are scared of being healthy.

Being emotionally healthy means being accountable. It means being present. It means being there for other people and having honest, meaningful relationships with the people in our lives. Many of us have never had that, and it is really scary. But if we set our fears aside, we might see that being emotionally healthy is a reward that pays endless dividends.

There is a saying that “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” and not only can we come out on the other side of our addiction, we can be stronger to make a difference for others. By bravely taking the journey of recovery, we can be a light unto other people who have struggled just like us. We can go from fear to empowerment and change not only our lives but the lives of other people as well.

Fear of Being Worthy

Worthiness can be scary. It doesn’t really make sense on the surface, but so many of us have lived lives of pain, abuse, trauma and more, and we have come to believe that we are not worthy. That nagging little voice in our head tells us that we don’t deserve to be healthy, we are not worthy of a rewarding life.

But that little voice is wrong. It comes from the same place as our addiction. It is masking our true voice, which tells us that we are worthy. No matter what we’ve done, no matter how long we have lived this tortured life, we deserve to stand up and find our own power, our true selves. We are worth recovering our lives and we are worth the love and forgiveness of the people who love us, too. If we listen to our true voice, we will know that we deserve life.

Fear of Life

Sometimes we get so twisted in our thinking that we lose sight of what we want most: Life. We have been in pain for so long and we are so accustomed to suffering that we actually fear truly living. Others may simply be reacting to their quality of life, assuming it won’t ever get any better for them. There are a lot of really hard things that happen in life, some of them a result of our own actions, others through no fault of our own whatsoever. Life can be scary, and it can also be very scary to embrace a life without pain.

It is okay to feel alive. It’s okay to allow ourselves to feel pain because we will also be able to feel true joy. We want to not only survive but to thrive. To be alive and to feel and to breathe in the fresh air and feel everything again. It can be scary, but it is also worth it. Our lives matter, and our recovery matters.

Conquer your fears and make the call today. Change can save your health and save your life. You are worthy and you deserve to feel alive again. Be fearless. To speak to one of our admissions experts, call (805) 719-7954.

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

We used substances because of the pain. Then in our addiction, we inflicted pain on the people we love most in our lives. That made us try to numb the pain more. It is a vicious cycle that is created, and maybe it felt like it would never end. Until we were brave. Even braver than we have ever been. We took the steps to enter recovery. That was the first step toward our healing from the pain.

The power that heals the pain is forgiveness. In our cycles of addiction, there are three levels of forgiveness that we should strive for. Each level will bring more healing, not just to us, but also to those we love.

Ask for Forgiveness from Those We Have Harmed

There is a reason that this is part of the 12-Step process. We must acknowledge all those that we brought harm to when we were using our substances, writing them down. We must not only ask for forgiveness but also do our best to make amends wherever possible. In doing this, we show our Higher Power, those we have harmed, and ourselves that we are truly sorry and are committed to making things right as much as possible.

This process can be very powerful for those that we have harmed. Perhaps they have heard us apologize a thousand times, only to keep doing whatever we did to harm them. Now we are apologizing, showing them physical retribution where possible, and truly asking for their forgiveness. They may not believe us, but this time it really is different.

Those we have harmed may not forgive us. That is their own emotional process, and we need to respect that asking for forgiveness does not mean that we will get it. But the power of this level of asking for forgiveness lies within us. We have done our best to clear our conscience and to demonstrate our sorrow and repentance. We have asked for forgiveness, and for us, that is the empowering part. We only have control over ourselves.

Forgive Those Who Harmed Us

Many of us had people in our lives who harmed us, even before we started drinking or using drugs. For many of us, it was this pain that made us want to use substances. It hurts. It is difficult not to blame or hold grudges, especially for childhood traumas or violence against us.

However, this painful burden will be ours to carry until we choose to forgive and let it go. The person who harmed us probably doesn’t even know about our suffering. Maybe they harmed us because they were abusing substances. We might want to hurt them back, cause them pain in return for ours. Or at least maybe get some justice.

Only justice doesn’t solve anything. Many people who get justice report that the pain is still there. Perhaps there is some solace in knowing the person is in prison or whatever, but our pain will still be there until we take matters into our own hands: forgive.

Forgiveness doesn’t always come overnight. We were hurt, sometimes very, very badly. Often, we did not even do anything wrong, we were just victims. That hurts. But as we move forward in our recovery, and as we ask others to forgive us, we can heal, and at some point, whether it be a simple realization or something we actively work on very hard for a long time, we can forgive those who hurt us. We will know when we have forgiven them because our burden will be gone, and our pain lessened or even gone. This is so powerful.

Forgive Ourselves

This level of forgiveness is the hardest. As human beings, we often judge ourselves the most harshly. We can bring ourselves to forgive others, but forgiving ourselves is a whole new level. We hold onto our mistakes more than we hold onto happy memories. We cling to our past as if it is going to protect us or something, when in fact, clinging to our past is often keeping us from being happy.

Recovery provides us with a chance to look deep in the mirror of our souls and learn new ways of looking at ourselves. The process is incredibly difficult, but at some point, we can look at ourselves in that mirror and say “I forgive.” We have to let go of the pain, let go of the blame and guilt, and let go of our past actions. When we have asked for forgiveness from others, there is no more need to hold onto our errors. We can forgive and forget and wipe our slate clean. Because recovery is hard enough without carrying all of our guilt around.

Forgiveness carries the power to heal us from the vicious cycle of pain in active addiction. It makes our burdens lighter, it helps repair relationships and helps us learn to love ourselves again. We can start our forgiveness process when we choose to give ourselves the gift of Making the call today helps lighten our burdens tomorrow. To speak to one of our admissions experts, call (805) 719-7954.