Why is Honesty the Best Policy?


lost honorPeople in recovery need to understand the concept of honesty. Developing an understanding of the importance of honesty is the key to recovery.

In the Therapeutic Community, honesty is probably the most important concept. Without honesty your recovery is nothing, it is built on sand, with no firm foundation. When the storms of life come, and they will, your house of lies will crumble and fall.

It is impossible to achieve long-term change without being honest to yourself. A lie may solve a present problem, but it has no future.

What is honesty? Thomas Jefferson said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Honesty is, according to the dictionary, to be free of deceit; to be sincere; truthful, trustworthy; wholehearted; worthy.

Honesty is personal integrity. Spencer Johnson said, “Integrity is telling myself the truth, and honesty is telling the truth to other people.”

Honesty may be a simple policy but it is not easy! There are positive and negative effects to being honest. It is often the negative effects of being honest that prevent us from stepping out in this noble quest. Here are some of the negative effects of being honest; rejection, isolation, hostility, jealousy, animosity and hurt feelings.

This is not a list to relish. So what would prompt us to be honest when there are, possibly, dangerous side effects? The long term benefits that honesty can bring are sufficient incentive to adopt this concept as a lifestyle. Here are 10 positive effects of being honest:-

  1. Respect
  2. Sincerity
  3. Openess
  4. Trust
  5. Faith
  6. Peace of mind
  7. Self belief
  8. Responsibility
  9. Acceptance
  10. Insight

honesty_crop380wAdopting a policy of honesty is a courageous step. You need to overcome your fears and anxieties. Why is honesty so important in recovery?

Honesty is the main ingredient of recovery, as without it there is no progression, self-development or personal understanding. It needs to be applied to each and everything we do, whether confronting people about their behaviour, or confronting ourselves about our weaknesses and limitations. Being honest allows us to be accountable and responsible for our actions, which in turn enables us to set the agenda for our lives.

Honesty is vital in Relapse Prevention, as without it you will not receive the valuable, true support and guidance necessary to avoid relapse: You would be honest with a doctor about an acute condition or illness because you want the right diagnosis. The same applies to your recovery.

To promote and develop change in any situation there is a need to be honest. However, it is also important to be aware how other people might receive your insights. We may need to work on our tactfulness, or the issues that rise in us so that our approach is non-judgmental and constructive. Honesty is about raising the standard, not about getting the upper hand. Honesty requires a degree of humility.

honestyWe may face situations where being honest will test our resolve. We may not want to tell someone the truth, or face up to our own truths. It may often appear easier to avoid the situation entirely. However problems will not be solved unless they are faced, and by developing tactful communication skills, we can overcome the difficulties. A word at the right time, may help someone move forward in their recovery, and so, may help them to avoid relapse or worse.

Here are the key points:-

  • Honesty develops peace of mind
  • Honesty develops trust and encourages strong relationships
  • Honesty is the first step to the right way of living
  • Honesty is the only way to recover

It was the great bard, William Shakespeare, who wrote, “Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honour, I lose myself.”

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