Again, Tell Me Why I Can’t Lie

This business about lying, hmmmmmm, that all too famililar place in our lives. I still don’t quite get why telling a fib once in a while will hurt anything. I mean so I tell a few lies here and there, even to myself, but it’s only to myself. The fact is, it wasn’t
just a few lies here and there or even just a few to myself. In my active addiction I told lies all the time and over the stupidest, absurd stuff. I couldn’t help myself. It was as if I was a ball of yarn and I was unraveling all over the place, nothing but yarn everywhere, criss crossing over itself time and time again. I couldn’t even remember who I told the last lie to in order to keep all of the lies straight. I needed a zipper over my lips to keep me safe. I felt so ashamed. Then I found recovery which DEMANDED rigorous honesty. You know the type, the “I can’t bullshit myself any longer honesty”. The one where
denial doesn’t work any more. You know that type. The type my sponsor would
never let me forget. That’s the one. I could always try to lie to myself, no one would know, I would and that was the problem. Once I hit recovery, miraculously all the lying stopped like a dead end road. For the first time in my life, I was being accountable, responsible, reliable and rigorously honest where love and understanding don’t know from lies, only honest living. A life where joy and happiness are the norm verses the chaos of lies. A life where rigorous honesty is the foundation of my recovery and helps me stand tall, look in the mirror and admire the reflection staring back. And that’s why I can’t lie.

22 thoughts on “Again, Tell Me Why I Can’t Lie

  1. Honesty – The principle behind the 1st step. This has been one of the most difficult and important principles for me. What is honesty? To me honesty is showing the world on the outside what you feel and who you are on the inside. Along with showing the world what you feel on the inside goes setting healthy boundaries, taking care of yourself, speaking up for yourself, speaking your truth, speaking “the truth” related to you and others and situations, and being who you are at all times and making no excuses. It took me 44 years to get to this place and I am still working on it. Honesty is not easy, but it is also refreshing because there are no trap doors for me to fall in. I am finally safe.

  2. Honesty. When I was a kid EVERY time I lied I got caught, EVERY time. So I thought I was a bad liar. As my addict got stronger and stronger the lies were just part of my life, I don’t think I even realized I was lying I was too busy “rationalizing” my statements and actions.

    Today honesty is still tough, there are still some secrets, there is still a lot of fear. For me I still need to grow A LOT in this area. I am still not 100% honest with anyone including myself.


  3. Lying is so easy. Many times it’s ommitting the truth. Sometimes it’s using people. Sometimes I cannot make up my mind and I don’t know who I am lying to. Instead of firing an employee, I wait until the employee goes on vacation and see how another employee does in their place. I tell the new employee not to discuss what they are doing with the employee on vacation. These are all lies. I should be upfront. Employees should not be scared to go on vacation. Being a sex addict is the same thing. Maybe the grass is greener somewhere else. I’ll just jump into another yard and see. Nobody has to know where I went. These are all shameful acts. Hiding behind lies. I have to be more proud of myself. Take upfront actions. Tell the employee that I am trying someone else out. I am risking them leaving, but I am being honest. In marriage, I have to be committed or get a divorce. Otherwise, I am cheating my wife and myself of an honest intimate relationship.

  4. I use to practice lying. I would tell stupid lies to see if I would get caught, improving my “tells” with each one. When I was a kid, my parents would not confront me when I lied and only later in life did I find out they knew I was lying and never confronted me on it. I am seeing the same traits in my kids and realizing what their actions had on me have made me a better parent. Kids lie. How you react will affect them for the rest of their lives, look at yourself…I did.

  5. Lying has been my way of controlling a really crappy home life.

    By lying I was able to make people like me, do what I wanted (and needed as a child).

    No it is not second nature. Its “first nature”.

    It’s the first thing I say to someone when I shake their hand. Hi. I’m Chris. And by my expression, a lie, I go on to signal to them……I am great, things couldn’t be better, I am accomplished, I have things, people like me, etc., etc. I didn’t even have to open my mouth!!!!

    I now know that I am liar, inside and out.

    I am working on it. My sponsor pointed out that the handshake alone was the first tell tale lie he saw. For that I am grateful,

    I don’t shake hands that way anymore. Now for the other billion ways I lie!

  6. Honesty is the principle behind Step One. If I can’t get that right, then how can I get the rest right. Tonight a friend asked me why I removed him from my Facebook list and I told him that it was an accident. But then I thought I need to be honest. I need to thell him the truth about why I did it. And so I did. I let him know the reasons why I removed him from my list. I don’t need to detail it out here. The important part of this issue is that I told him the truth. I am hoping that because I told him the truth that we are able to still be friends. If not, I need to accept it. If so, then it will be great. The bottom line is that in the end, I needed to be honest for me and for him. For me to work a good program, I need to always be honest. And for him I need to respect him enough to be honest with him and let him know the truth about what I did and why. I know I am going on and on about one issue, however, it is a good reminder of how honesty works in my life and how this program has changed my interactions with other people for the better.

  7. I want honesty in people that I deal with in all aspects of living. So what right do I have to be dishonest with those I love? The most important people in my life deserve honesty and trust in what I do when they are not there. I know my higher power is always with me and He will not tell on me when I am not doing the right thing. No, rather He will let me betray myself and then forgive me when I do. Forgiveness is a gift that should never be taken for granted. It is because I have been forgiven for betraying my trust, I will remember that I must first be true to myself.

  8. Because my memory is not good enough to remember all the lies I tell! Shakespere was right when he said “oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”.

    Lying also is the most fundamental impediment thing to intimacy and that is what I seek today.

  9. Lying is probably one of the things that comes easiest to me. Since childhood, it has been one of my biggest defense mechanisms. Whether it was to make myself feel akin to or better than someone else, or to protect myself from the consequences of my actions. I have told some big lies. I’m good at lying.

    Like all of us. I have been caught endlessly in the web of my own lies. The fact that I can spin lies for so long, makes the consequences of discovery that much more severe. The end never works out well, but I continue to lie. It is like a reflex. Addictive behavior.

    I’m approaching 30 days of sobriety, and it is nice to have a clean conscience for that time. It is a tangible feeling of accomplishment for me. Not lying kind of makes me feel happy? I say it with a question mark because it does not seem to make sense to my addict’s mind, and I guess that is what this is all about. Separating the mind of the addict from my own. So yeah, not lying makes me feel happy.

  10. I am double dipping on this post because what I have known for a long time is that lying destroys trust. The excuses made for lying: “I was embarresed to tell you, I didn’t want to hurt you, What would you do if you found out?” do not matter. Lying is lying, period. And lying destroys trust. Rebuilding trust after if it destroyed is a long painful process that I now find myself in the middle of doing. I will succeed because I am now finding that the first person I need to stop lying to is me. Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou can not then be false to any man.” Unless we can be true to ourselves first, we cannot be true to others.” Old Bill knew it in his day so long ago, and such wisdom never seems to be outdated.

  11. For most of my life, it was not that I knew there was a problem with lying – I didn’t even SUSPECT there was a problem with lying.

    Why? I wanted people to like me. I felt they wouldn’t if they knew the truth about me. Also, I suppose that I didn’t believe they deserved my telling the truth, about myself or anything else for that matter. Why should it matter to them what I tell them in the first place? They can choose to believe me or not.

    Those were the rationalizations. The truth was that I was unable to accept myself as who I was. I had to hide it, and since I hid the most important thing there was, then why not also lie about everything else?

    What did it accomplish? Feeding false beliefs, keeping them nourished, and alienating those closest to me. Not a great harvest to look forward to.

    Now, I face the challenge of honesty. I start by practicing with my group, with my sponsor, with my therapist. As I learn that it will heal my pain, I can spread it to the rest of my community. I look forward to being able to be myself and not hide.

  12. Why can’t I lie? Because when I lie I am keeping secrets. And when I am keeping secrets I am perpetuating shame and I am perpetuating the unmanageability that I had and will continue to have. I need to always work to be as honest as I can be. So I need to speak up when I need to, to let others know what is going on with me when I need to and to let my sponsor know when I have acted out when I need to. It may not always be easy because I have lied for so long but I know it is something that I need to do.

  13. I hate it when other people are right and I am wrong. So I am working on doing things differently and that means doing what is suggested of me even when I don’t want to. I just want to go to bed but it was suggested that I post here so I am. I don’t “want” to lie, but in some cases I don’t want to tell the truth either. So where do I go? The only place to go is with the truth. The truth will set you free right? I know for me that when I lie it creates a secret and when I have a secret it festers and it gets bigger and then I always end up acting out somewhere over it. So I need to keep truth at the forefront of my recovery and my life. So I will pray for willingness to be honest in all aspects of my life. Good night.

  14. “Again…tell me why I can’t lie…” Wow love this one. I remember my addict being very discouraged b/c this was the first step in the program but I remember feeling like why couldn’t this be a little bit later in the program why so early. What people thought of me really did matter. I felt like I would let people down by not lying. I really struggled with this. But the more & more we learned of the program the more we realize these lies just eat away at our souls. This really causes pain & misery. At the expense of letting others down or even losing a loved one not lying really saves our souls. It protects us from shame, guilt & feelings of “no worth”. This I believe is the hardest tool to ever use but the most significant!

  15. After 2 years of recovery, one of the most important changes I find in my behavior is that I almost always (progress, not perfection) tell the truth. From that person that hardly EVER told the truth, I have come to realize that my life is much, much EASIER when I tell the truth. Don’t have to remember anymore what lie was last, or what I was trying to hide, or why I had to hide my real self! And it has automatically made me feel better about myself – I can show myself and not worry about what others think of me. I developed integrity from this one rule – don’t lie!
    It is a miracle! Thanks to Step One, to our group, to my peers and sponsor. It feels wonderful.

  16. This is the post I don’t want to comment on. This is the subject that confronts me most directly. This is the character defect that presents itself in every area of my life and, I’m sad to say, even finds it’s way into my recovery.

    I am David, and I’m a sex addict. I am David, and I’m a liar.

    I have lied about anything and everything for as long as I can remember. Growing up I sucked my thumb and walked pigeion-toed, two things – among many others – that would stir my father’s rage and usually lead to some type of punishment. I learned very quickly to hide and lie to survive in my household. Hiding and lying became a way of life for me very early on and have been constant companions throughout my life.

    I don’t ever recall being just a standard, run-of-the-mill liar…you know, the normal human being who tells a lie now and then, realizes what they’ve done, makes amends for it if necessary and then goes about their life laughing at themselves for being so silly. No, I’ve been a liar on a grand scale where to impress, be accepted by, decieve or manipulate others I would create entirely false personalities with false backgrounds and life experiences, because I in no way believed anyone would like, love or want to be with me if they knew the “real” me. One day I would be a professional athelete, the next day I would be someone or something else…anyone or anything other than the “real” me. If I didn’t love the “real” me, why on earth would anybody else.

    Lying became such a way of life for me that I found myself lying even when I didn’t have to. I would be relating a true story to colleagues at work and I would embellish it (fancy term for “lying”), either because I believed it would make me look better to them or I thought they would not like the story if I only told it as it actually happened. Afterwards, I would be filled with guilt and shame, followed by anger…anger at myself for being so weak and anger at God who I blamed for giving me the screwed up family that “made me how I am”.

    I wish I could say that, at 75 days sober and working on my 9th Step, I was no longer a liar or that this character defect has been magically removed from me. Just two day ago I was confronted with a major consequence of my years of sexual addiction and I lied to try to manipulate and decrease the severity of it. Instead of praying to my higher power, courageously facing the situation and turning to others in my fellowship (phone calls, meetings, etc) for guidance and support throughout the ordeal…I turned to my old friends “hiding” and “lying”. Lying is so habitually ingrained in my psyche and being that even as I dealt with the situation I would catch myself telling little “white” lies, afraid to tell the truth, afraid to face myself and my failure to be the man I so want to be.

    The blessing of recovery for me today is that instead of continuing in the lie I called various friends and mentors in my fellowship. I was able to be honest about my lying. They helped me bring my lying into the light of recovery, gave me accountability, and did all of this without shaming or judging me. It’s because of this that I know my days of being a liar are numbered. As I continue to work my program of recovery from this terrible and debilitating adddiction, I know the truth will win out and lying will become more and more toxic for me and less and less desirable or necessary for me.

    Today, I go forward in my life and recovery, in hope, not in despair.

    • I found in this post the most horrifying thing. Myself. Just beginning in the program, I made a promise to myself that I would follow the tenant of Rigorous Honesty. What I didn’t expect was how difficult it would be.

  17. Before coming into recovery, I had a series of secrets that I thought I would take to the grave. I was told that I had to release these secrets in order to recover. So I spit it all out to save myself from this addiction. Most of it came out in the First Step and the rest came out in my Fifth Step. For once in my life, I had no more shameful secrets. But life continued and my character defects where still with me. I continued telling white lies at work, school, to friends, to family, and to my fellows. I had a number of motives (people pleasing, to avoid conflict, to create conflict, and just because). Learning to tell the truth in every aspect of my life, is a daily task. Today its easy to tell on myself when it relates to my addiction. I want to live and recover! But I tend to lie in the every day situations of life (work, social situations, etc..). My mind tells me, these white lies won’t take me out. Progress not perfection.

  18. I lied to cover my tracks as an addict. I lied when I was confronted about my infidelity and betrayal.

    Jesus said the Truth will set you free. And it has.
    I am thankful for the requirement for rigorous honest that is required for the program. I keep coming back to that term, rigorous honesty.
    Some of my favorite quotes I’ve found on Pinterest…
    It takes a lot of truth to gain trust, but just one lie to lose it all.
    The naked Truth is always better than the best-dressed Lie
    Hurt me with the truth but never comfort me with a lie.

  19. Well it happened all of my lies caught up with me just over two weeks ago. The result is my wife is filing for divorce and moving to another country. I have been a liar for as far back as I can remember. I have lied from the age of 5 u til 2 weeks ago. There were many reasons. Getting people to like me fear of anyone finding out what I was really like for they would truly hate me. Lying to people to manipulate them into acting out with me. It just went on and on every day of my life. And then rock bottom came having to tell my wife what I did acting out just a few weeks before. Since that time I am now in recovery and I mean true recovery. I cannot tell a lie anymore. I understand that even a half truth or fib or embellishment will send me spiraling down into my addiction again I know that If I get away with one lie or tell one lie the cycle will start again. I cannot and will never let that happen. I am in recovery. My HP is with me every day and helping me through. My wife and I talk every day for hours and we are completely honest with each other something we have never done in 11 years of marriage. I cannot control what happens tomorrow but I can today and today I am in recovery and most important I am honest with myself. Thank you father for helping me and showing me the right path on my recovery

  20. I have never been very comfortable with lying I’ve never been very good at it, and yet I still try to perpetuate lies to cover up my embarrassment shame or fear . When I am free from lies my life flows with positive things when I’m living with lies I feel pressure I feel ashamed with recovery I have periods where I feel strong and my lying is almost nonexistent . When my words and my actions and my thoughts are all aligned that’s when I feel the strongest bond with my higher power . I work very hard not to let convenient lies come out of my mouth . Sometimes I try to justify the lie as not wanting conflict but in reality what I’m doing is lying to myself . When I’m dancing around in my middle circle behaviors I lied to myself that I won’t break the line but in reality it’s the start of something bad . It’s time to break the cycle of lie.

  21. If you continue to lie, you’re lying to yourself. Not to mention to the others that love you and care about you. The lies told put me in a very very dark place. I too couldn’t keep up with all the lies I told. Eventually it came down to my body destroying myself from the inside out. I have made the solemn promise to tell the truth; however, if I did, it would destroy my life as I know and grew.

    I need help!

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