Friday, July 22, 2011

Honesty

I'm speaking at a meeting tonight. Back in the middle of AA, by the way. I have a sponsor, I'm sponsoring two women, I'm attending at least four meetings every week... Life is good. More later. :-)

Here's what I plan to say tonight:

The topic I have chosen for tonight is honesty. I want to talk about it because it's something I struggle with. Prior to sobriety, lying was like breathing. My parents would say that lying was bad, but they didn't tell me why, or didn't give me a satisfactory reason. My thought was, "Tell the truth and definitely get in trouble or lie and possibly get away with it... DUH."
Later, I found out. My dishonesty brought me to my bottom. I lied to my husband about where I was and what I was doing. I lied to my boss when I said I was sick instead of too hungover to come to work. I lied to you about who I was and how I felt. I lied to myself when I pushed the guilt and shame of my behavior deep, down inside. I thought that I could convince myself that I hadn't participated in what I actually had. When I got sober, I found the downside. Every time I lied to you, I lied to myself. When I got sober, I didn't know who I was. I did a thorough Step 5 with my sponsor at around a year of sobriety. That helped. I was completely honest with her. Over the past five years, my honesty has slipped. Not to the levels where it was before, but it's not even close to rigorous, either.

Yesterday I told my mother, who will have 20 years of sobriety on Wednesday, that I wanted to talk about honesty tonight. She said, "Wow, that will be a quiet meeting." I debated whether to bring it up as a topic. What if no one wants to talk about it? What if people feel pressured to lie about their honesty because it's the topic? What if everyone in the meeting gets pissed off at me because I brought up a tough subject? I meditated about it and realized that I want to know more. I want to know how you guys do it. I want to know how honesty works for you today. I got on the Internet to research honesty and found that there are a lot of non-recovery-related books out there dedicated to the subject. You don't have to be an alcoholic to struggle with honesty, I guess. Then I was prompted by my higher power to study the literature to see what it has to say.

HOW IT WORKS, OF COURSE
BB p. 58 How it Works

FIRST MENTION
Big Book p. 13
Ebbie... "...I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my provlems. Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty, and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements."


PROMPTED BY THERE IS A SOLUTION, WE READ APPENDIX II, SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE
BB p. 468
"Willingness, honesty, and openmindedness are the essentials of our recovery. But these are indispensable."


STEP 5 IS ABOUT HONESTY
BB pp. 73-74
"[those who do not take Step 5] had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness, and honesty... until they told someone else all their life story. More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the stage character. This is theone he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it... We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world."

12&12 p. 58 About Step 5: "To those who have made progress in AA, [Step 5] amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be."


WHY BE HONEST?
12&12 p. 71 Step 7
"We had lacked the perspective to see that character-building and spiritual values had to come first, and that material satisfactions were not the purpose of living."

12&12 p. 72 Step 7
"...whenever we had to choose between character and comfort, the character-building was lost in the dust of our chase after what we thought was happiness. Seldom did we look at character-building as something desireable in itself... We never thought of making honesty, tolerance, and true love of man and God the daily basis of living."

AAs GET IT
BB p. 218 Our Southern Friend
"[a] foundation stone of character...is honesty...when we act upon the highest conception of honesty that is given us, our sense of honesty becomes more acute...honesty is truth and the truth shall make us free!"
BB p. 467 Listening to the Wind
"Alcohol was only a symptom of much deeper problems of dishonesty and denial."


HOW DO I GET HONEST?
BB p. 84
"...Step Ten...suggests we continue to take personal inventory... Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.


WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I GET HONEST?
12&12 p.107 Step 12
"He finds himself in possession of a degree of honesty, tolerance, unselfishness, peace of mind, and love of which he had thought himself quite incapable."

WHAT DID I LEARN FROM RESEARCHING THIS?
Humility and honesty are connected. I lie because I want you to believe something about me that is not true. If I were truly humble, I would recognize myself for who I am and love myself enough to be honest with you.

Denial is dishonesty to self.

The satisfaction I get from lying well is not the real goal; it is as temporary as the satisfaction I get from a drink. The real goal is spiritual progress... In that sentence from the 12&12 it says "character building and spiritual values" not "good character and perfection" because the work is the goal... It's the journey, not the destination.

1 thoughts:

Kristin H. July 22, 2011 at 4:03 PM  

Glad to see you are back. The honesty topic is a tough one. A multi-faceted gem of a topic, in fact. Maybe you could kickstart the topic with revealing something honestly about yourself, prompting others to get real in their sharing.