Another practice I use that helps me keep to the truth is to never lie. That sounds impossible and I’ll admit I’m not one hundred percent successful at it, but that’s what practice means—you keep working at it all the time.
Not lying makes a huge difference in my life, especially after having been an addict.
All addicts live in a world of lies. That’s what denial is—the lie to end all lies. But on top of that, addicts are usually trying to pass for someone who doesn’t use, which means even more lying. Keeping a mental tally of all the lies Steve and I told while using used to be my job. I was the one who had to come up with the right story should we be in danger of exposure.
Guess what? You don’t have to be an addict to live in a liar’s world. If you think I’m wrong, try counting up the number of lies you tell in one day. Include all your lies of omission (not saying everything that you could say about something) and those little ones you hide behind to avoid a confrontation. Don’t forget to count in the lies you tell yourself about yourself. (This includes things like, “I can afford to have that piece of chocolate because I walked a mile yesterday.”) Especially include the lies you tell to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.
You’re wrong if you think these little white lies don’t hurt anything. Take something as innocent as “Tomorrow will be a better day.” That’s something my mother always used to tell us kids when we were growing up. The only problem was that in my family we all knew tomorrow wasn’t going to be better. That’s because neither my mother nor father were willing to make the changes necessary that would have actually created a better day. What her lie did was set us up to live in a false reality. It kept us blind to what was really going wrong in our family. Ultimately, it set the pattern for us for the rest of our lives.
Since I’m not willing to go back to that sort of life, I practice not lying. This requires that I pay attention to what I’m doing all the time, which, trust me, never hurts.