Making my way through life, when I was drinking, was pretty easy. If things didn’t work in my favour or I didn’t like a situation, I simply took it upon myself to craft, create, manipulate or change the circumstances (behavior, people, etc.) to do what I wanted. It’s funny now, looking back, that I couldn’t identify myself as a selfish person, even for the first 6 months of my sobriety.

But I was – absolutely, thoroughly selfish. At the end of each day, my actions and my words were to serve the situation which best suited me. That wasn’t because I didn’t care about anyone else around me or because I thought that I deserved more happiness than anyone else – it’s because I was struggling to live, each day. I was dying inside and each day I was grasping to hang onto the edge of sanity. I was just reaching out to cling onto whatever tendrils of happiness I could muster up in my mess of a life. Within that struggle I couldn’t see past the cloud of my own unhappiness, I had no room to truly love another person or to give anything away – because, point blank, I had nothing.

I love this newfound meaning of the word bankrupt, because that is what I was, absolutely. I had nothing left to give to myself, so of course I had nothing to offer others. In the midst of all this self-fueled struggle to keep going, I discovered there was another friend I could rely on to help ease the troubles I encountered so often: the lie. I’m sure, like most people, I discovered the lie at an early age. I lied before I started drinking, that’s for sure. When I was 15 and sneaking out of my house to meet boys in the middle of the night, I lied. When I stole my mom’s cigarettes when she left the room, when I didn’t show up to classes, when I started to indulge in drinking… I lied plenty before I ever drank alcoholically. Those intentions definitely go back to the way I was raised, and so many other contributing factors, but that’s a whole other discussion. It was within my 16th year of life and my first year of drinking that I discovered the true power of the lie. I was able to get what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted, so long as I could use my elaborate imagination to craft the reality that I wanted. This sick understanding permeated my young adulthood. I don’t think I was pathological – as a matter of fact, if you had asked me at the time, I would have insisted on my authenticity. That is how pervasive lying became to me, so quickly. As fast as I began to lie to get what I wanted, I was just as quickly unaware that I was even doing it.

I made mistakes, I hurt people, I let people down and a myriad of other consequences followed my dishonesty throughout my adolescence, but none so deeply affected my life as the lies that I told myself. The concrete, dishonest, misdirecting, avoiding and deviant lies were blatant – I knew I was telling those. The lies of avoidance, distraction, denial and escape were the ones that I emphasized to myself every day, especially once I started drinking. Those were the ones that I began to believe.

And for me, drinking allowed these lies to grow roots and plant themselves directly into the core of who I was until recently, when I began to discover what they were and the consequences they have on my life. I can’t say that I am a completely honest person today, but I certainly do try. I try my best, and I catch myself (finally) when those tiny, white, seemingly-harmless-but-not-so-much kind of lies come tumbling out of my mouth. I don’t settle for dishonesty today, because it has never (not once!) helped me or truly gotten me the life that I wanted.

Today, I am honest about who I am and what makes me, me. I am honest about my past, I am not ashamed of it. I am honest about my present self, about what I want and need. I am honest about my capabilities, and truly feel like a better, more complete, authentic version of myself because of it. It’s more often than not the more difficult road, and the one less traveled, but it’s definitely the more scenic route.

I am honest with myself and others.
I honestly try to be, every day.

What do you do to stay honest? What does honesty mean to you?




One Comment Add yours

  1. Paul S says:

    Love this! I can relate completely.

    The biggest lies I told were the ones I told myself – the stories of persecution, of victimhood, of being better than and yet less than, of being able to handle my drinking, of being someone I wasn’t…I spun warped yarns which knit together a perverted sense of my place in this world. And that just cascades outwards and affected my external life. I lied to drink and I drank because I felt guilty about my lies.

    Honesty to me is now more about being honest with myself. Sure there is the cash register honesty, and that in many ways is the easiest one. I slip at times, but overall, I go to bed with a clean conscious. I examine the times I do like (paging: ego and pride) and try to learn from them. I will never be perfect. But the honesty towards myself is the one that I really have to double down on. Denial is a powerful thing, and I have to really pay close attention to clues which keep me in a haze of lies.

    Great post – loved reading it. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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