Were we pathological in our lying,….
U-Tube: “Lies”! 1960’s Knickerbockers
Didn’t it come down to our failure to recognize our incapability to be truthful with ourselves and others, forming a bed for the roots of both our Alcoholism and Addictions. Wasn’t that Dishonesty also the rock bottom basis of our spiritual maladies?
For a good bit of our lives we walked around in a state of toxic delusion and denial, kidding ourselves about the severity of our addictions and actions, drunk and stoned, as if we had some validity through our self-justification and self-pity, absolving all doubts we had about a gnawing conscience as it constantly needled our addled subconscious minds.
Our booze, drugs and addictive behaviors distracted us from the aching truth,….we were powerless and our lives were an unmanageable mess. We were so caught-up in our web of deception we scarcely knew right from wrong; where or when we were truly at fault,… or at the least contributory negligent about the underlying reality of our dilemmas.
In Step 4 we had to uncover a stark relief of those acts, making a written list of them and then discern their underlying patterns. Dishonesty was perhaps the most prevalent, preceding almost every other act. In Step five:
“We had to come clean” in front of ourselves, a trusted confidant and whatever understanding of the powers of the universe we saw as our final witness.
It still strikes me as odd that the 12Step Program spends little time focusing on the Dishonesty Defect – one of the Alcoholic/Addict’s BIGGEST problems in its many forms and personalized ambiguities.
Okay then,… we’ve all read the classic Shakespearean reference from Hamlet: “To Thine Own Self Be True”:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!
Being true to yourself comes after being true with yourself,… seeing things as they really are. “Being true to one’s self implies that we ought not to neglect ourselves for the sake of others, consistently checking our real motives and genuine best interests, nor veering from that path in our lives in which we know the line of our moral values. Truth “with” one’s self implies that — upon examination of our conscience – the little voice which guides us — we ought not delude ourselves with grandiose thinking and self-justification,… nor irrationally construe dishonest perspectives of who we are and what have done,… and even what we are capable of.
This is the first big reason for the 4th Step Inventory actions, well as the confession we make in Step Five of our 12Step Program of Recovery: Being Honest as we are coming clean.
When I was a child, Jiminy Cricket — Pinocchio’s Sponsor of sorts — was the voice of my inner moral compass. Let’s have some fun and go back and watch that sequence from Pinocchio, (I’m so indoctrinated as a Disney child — this gave me goose-bumps LOL)
“Always let your conscience be your guide.”
“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”.
This commonly quoted line from Walter Scott was published in 1808 in the poem “Marmion”.
Now there’s a piece of simple truth, huh? In it’s Victorian dialect, this poetic verse tells us that the more we lie, the more lies we have to chain together to cover it all up, till it finally gets to the point of our own self-delusion: we don’t know what’s true and what’s not anymore. We become pathological: not being able to tell the difference between the truth and a lie, lying to ourselves and believing it!
And NOW! For the sake of Manly Honor —– Liam Neeson in “Rob Roy” (also by Sir Walter Scott) in the final sword battle – my favorite of the decade – (If you haven’t seen this you’ll likely go back two or three times 🙂 Rob Roy has been robbed, his friends killed, he’s been beaten, dragged and his wife raped, his house burned and his cattle killed by this low life British Scoundrel, posing as an honorable gentleman, prior to this, the fight of his life.
As addicts and alcoholics, most of us were expert — or so we thought in yet another lie to ourselves — at deceiving others. It’s a big part of the reason for our fearless and through moral inventory and for doubling back to check again for lies we told underneath other lies, before we moved on to that moment of absolute truth in Step 5; where we tell all to our universe, our confessor and ourselves, none of which we cover by omission, averting shame, express our true sorrow as we identify the patterns of our lives, perhaps the worst of which is blatant and rampant DISHONESTY. How many of us “buck-up” though, and admit that a huge part of our problem was that we were dishonest with ourselves as well as others to that point at which we lost all sense of the truth?
*Thanks to “Playing the Devil’s Advocate” for their honest insight here.
“I believe that dishonesty is best understood as a strategy. But towards what end? Under which conditions? In my opinion, dishonest behavior can be categorized into two types- based on the motivations driving the deceiver.
Retaliatory Dishonesty: This type of dishonesty is by far the most common type. The dishonest person is merely retaliating against a person, group or institution that has previously abused his trust. Whether it is the friend who betrayed you, the lover who cheated on you, the boss who screwed you, the company, bank or university that abused you or the country that lied to the person- the dishonest person did not throw the first stone. Therefore retaliatory dishonesty is about loss mitigation and payback, as there is no point in continuing to honor an agreement which the other party has willingly defaulted on. Indeed, not retaliating in the face of continued lying, fraud and abuse would be irrational. Or would it?
But there is another type of dishonesty.
Preemptive Dishonesty: As its name suggests, preemptive dishonesty is a type of strategy where you start out with the intention of screwing over your counter-party regardless of their behavior towards you. Those who indulge in such behavior try to justify it based on prevailing social mores, attitudes, economic conditions, libertarianism, capitalism, communism or any other ideology. However an objective look at the circumstances surrounding such acts of dishonesty always reveal that the main motivators for such behavior are in fact greed, sociopath, narcissism and a focus on money that approach autistic obsession. As I will show in the rest of this post, preemptive dishonesty is far more disruptive to societies than simple retaliatory dishonesty.
In one of our favorite Recovery Program mantras: “Let’s Keep It Simple.” It’s all deceit, and if you go to motive it’s all dishonorable. While some consider omission to be a form of dishonesty, especially when such divulgence is a material fact to a forthcoming incident the with-holding of material evidence through intentional omission and silence is often criminal.
We Alcoholic’s and Addicts find ourselves so disposed to our long underlying pattern of Dishonesty, that it is instantly easy to trigger a chain of it like a relapse to our substance abuse. We therefore, examine our consciences and confess our transgressions, taking an oath to make the truth a new pattern of our moral direction, lest we delude ourselves into patterns which will allow us to transgress.
Hey! There’s plenty of room for you to write in our remarks section and we welcome it.
Stay true to and with yourself and may your conscience always be your guide!
True contrition and confession can bring us absolution