Many conversations I have heard between people in early recovery have to do with the endless lies we told to others and ourselves when drunk or high.  Sometimes, during our group meetings, we would laugh at the level of deceit we employed or the ingenuity we ‘thought’ we were able to muster in producing a lifestyle of lying, hiding or trying to appear sober and normal. Our laughter was tongue and cheek of course, used to help break-the-ice and ease ourselves during intense discussions. Beyond this, we were all serious and circumspect. We knew all too well, the enormous pain and guilt we were experiencing with our sober realization of those terrible and destructive aspects associated with addiction – lying and deceit – living in a world of secrets and dishonesty.

What we come to realize quickly in recovery is that our dishonesty became a central part of protecting our addiction.  Nothing was going to stand in the way of the next drink or bottle of alcohol and nothing would dare get between us and our next fix.  And, I mean nothing.  I have often compared the state of a human being going through this dreadful state of total dependency, with the ‘Alien’ that appears in the movies. This creature rips through a human body and emerges as its own life form while destroying everything in its wake.  I don’t really see any difference to what essentially happens during the various stages of dependency and total addiction.  Our human form becomes altered and obscured and we are robbed of seeing that most central part of ourselves and do not know who we are anymore.  The addiction has taken over and beyond satisfying this obsessive dependency we drag ourselves down a road that is hell itself. And, to think of the hurt we cast on those close to us, well, it is painful to say the very least.

So, in our early days and weeks of recovery (if we allow ourselves the courage to proceed with abstinence) we begin to re-discover who we are and look back on this alien creature that became us when drunk, high or stoned.  And, as we begin to realize the person buried within we start peeling the layers of our consciousness one by one.  This is a tremendous accomplishment for an individual as they pull away from their substance of choice.  It is very difficult and takes a lot of courage and help from others – professional therapists, counselors, and fellow members within a recovery group.  Many aspects of our inner being start to emerge – some we may like and others might be hard to look at.

I do believe as human beings that we are considerably more sensitive and feeling towards life than most people want to admit.  We are often taught that the world is tough, life is tough, and we then have to be tough.  But, I disagree with this.  Human beings, young and old, need trusting, gentle love to live, to grow healthy and not needing addictive substances. My own venture into sobriety has lead me from being that ‘tough’ guy (in my own way) to a quite different person altogether.  I have learned that because we are human and sensitive creatures, we can be easily hurt by life around us.  Many buried secrets from the past can emerge and this is a point when I so highly recommend personal therapy to help an individual uncover these deeper hurts and wounds.  I am not asserting that our past wounds are the only reason behind our use of substances to alter our lives – they are not. There are other reasons that lead to use and addiction. But, there is no question in my mind that deep hurts, abuse of any kind, a traumatic experience, post-traumatic stress disorder, cumulative negativity around us, mean and bullying comments from our peers – well, these can damage our inner being and can be a direct cause for trying to escape through addiction. 

It is always better and psychologically healthier for us to let these deep pains and secret scars within out to "breathe."  It is so important to let these wounds out with a trusting person or group – not to just anyone.  I know that the more we talk and share in group meetings, the healthier our recovery will be.  I wish most individuals in the world today, those with no apparent problems with addiction or alcoholism, would do the same.  The tough, ego exteriors that people carry around with themselves, in fact champion themselves as ‘strong’ egos, are often the ones with the most layers covering their true self.  Buried deep within these people may be lurking similar wounds and mistrust. 

I know the world is difficult, there’s way too much violence and hatred, every day.  We will not change what others may choose to do in any given moment or day.  But, we can choose how we wish to live - how we wish to treat ourselves and others.  We can resolve to live healthy, abundant, and caring lives. I have discovered that the more I open up and allow myself to really feel life, the stronger I really am; or better yet, the healthier person I am.  Using alcohol or drugs to alter my state of presence and awareness was something I easily fell into.  I now always prefer to be whole, to be present, to not harbor secrets, to trust in my own expressions, to trust my own honesty and consequently live fully. Once you finally care for yourself and embrace your true inner being and humanity and let those buried secrets out and breathe, then you can really give to others. Living free with honesty and no deceit or lies is such a wonderful and fulfilling choice to make. 



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