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Honesty is an essential building block in recovery. The process of actually admitting with heart, mind, and soul that you are an addict and need help puts you on the right road towards recovery. “Keeping it real” in recovery and in life can seem like a no-brainer, but in reality can be very difficult to achieve. This article will outline the difficulties of how to be honest in recovery and steps you can take to be more in tune with yourself.

Be Honest in Recovery: The Difficulties of “Keeping it 100%”

It can be hard to be authentic in your recovery for the simple fact that in some cases, you don’t know yourself. When active in your addiction, you’ve created a persona that was the result of your addiction. Maybe you starting using drugs to bolster self-esteem, to become a social butterfly, or to overcome trauma and pain. While you may have felt better about yourself while on your substance of choice, the foundations to which you built this personality was being held up by a crutch without having to address your inner issues.

As your addiction grew worse, you slowly realized that the person you were was nowhere near what you wanted to be. As you began to pick up the piece early in recovery, the search for the real you begins. No doubt it is overwhelming and you may feel like you are in over your head. It can be a challenge to face reality without the crutch provided by the substances you once relied on. The process of discovering one’s self is part of the recovery process.

Furthermore, you may feel that you are given mixed signals in recovery. The phrase “fake it until you make it” is a common mantra in early recovery. Simply put, faking it until you make it means that you need to imitate confidence and optimism until it becomes a reality in your life. While “acting the part” early in recovery may be needed, the point to where you need to explore your authentic self becomes blurry—and further complicates your recovery.

How to be Honest in Recovery?

The first step in being honest in recovery is taking ownership of your addiction. You must take full responsibility for your action while under the influence. You must accept what addiction has done to you on a physical, psychological and spiritual basis. You must also avoid making excuses for your addiction and not engage in the blame game. Additionally, you need to have a clear recovery plan in place and be open to uncovering the root causes of addiction, to learn from your addiction and to grow as a person.

It is also important to set healthy boundaries for yourself. When you have healthy boundaries for yourself and respect others’ boundaries, you protect yourself and others from harm. Additionally, it reduces the chances of manipulation and falling for lies. How do you set healthy boundaries for yourself? Here are some tips.

  1. Recognize that you have the right to have your own feelings, emotions, and values.
  2. Think before you speak and act. Identify your emotions and don’t be afraid of them.
  3. Learn to set limits with other people in clear, concise ways.
  4. Speak up if you feel that your boundaries are being violated in any way.
  5. Assert your needs, and don’t be afraid to speak up if those needs aren’t being met.
  6. Always respect the boundaries of others.
  7. Firmly, but politely defend the boundaries that you create.

This template will involve trial and error, but don’t be discouraged. Your recovery isn’t marked by a specific time period. Give yourself permission to learn and grow.

Honesty and Recovery: Are You Ready to Discover a New You?

Recovery is more than stopping the use of drugs and alcohol. Recovery is about self-discovery and finding who you truly are on the inside and outside. It can seem like an overwhelming journey, but you aren’t alone. Nuview Treatment Center in Los Angeles offers drug outpatient treatment, features effective and proven treatment programs that empower and motivate you to succeed. From admission through to successful completion, our experienced treatment staff will be with you every step of the way.

Take back control of your life right now. Contact NuView to help support your recovery.

Read Further

Fear in Recovery: Conquering Fear and Maintaining Long-Term Sobriety

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Written By: Linda Whiteside


Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson


Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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