I read the SLAA 40 questions to self-diagnosis more than three years ago, if I remember well, in April 2010. I had just entered recovery.
Many of the questions in the self diagnosis test were relevant to me, they provided me with one of my first reality checks. In this post I revisit one of the questions which contains typical trademarks of compulsive behaviour: lies, secrets, shame. The questions is:
Do you feel that you don’t want anyone to know about your sexual or romantic activities? Do you feel you need to hide these activities from other friends, family, co-workers, counsellors, etc?
In my opinion the question can also be rephrased to:
Do you live in a world of secrets in regards to your sexual or emotional actions? Do you constantly lie in order to hide your actions?
I was lying. Lying so much to the extend that sometimes I believed my own lies or could not keep track of them. Lying in regards to where I was, who I was with, lying about what I was doing. Lying to cover up my actions and at times lying because in my delusion I thought this would protect people from the reality of my actions.
Even when I entered recovery it was hard for me to let go of secrets and lies. I was fearful of the consequences of truth. I was fearful that the consequences of the truth would cause pain to me and to others. I soon realised that I had to tackle my fear and start letting go of secrets and lies in order to have a chance to real change and a healthy life.
Honesty is an essential ingredient to recovery and to a fulfilled, happy life. In early recovery I needed to take the first step of honesty. Honesty with myself first in order to gain the willingness and courage to change. I needed to be honest that I had a problem that was causing pain to myself and to others. I did that and my life started changing for the better. After the honesty with self, comes the task of honesty with others. It was not easy but through the steps program, my relationship and daily life I learned the importance and healthy benefits of being open and honest with others without fear.
Some phrases on honesty from SLAA literature that stand out for me:
From Signs of Recovery: We begin to substitute honesty for self-destructive ways of expressing emotions and feelings.
SLAA Basic Text (p.96): We enjoyed solitude and were unafraid of honesty and openness with others. We could comprehend what it means to have dignity of self.
Honesty helps you walk without fear, it helps you build trust with your loved ones. Honesty is about being sincere, truthful, trustworthy, honorable, fair, genuine, loyal, having integrity, having dignity of self.
I much prefer to have these values and character traits in my life. Honesty is key to recovery and a healthy, happy life.