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  • Rigorous Honesty is what recovery is all about

    Rigorous Honesty

    The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous describes how addictive thinking  convinces the addict that they can manage their own recovery.  In the chapter of How It Works it is written, half measures availed us nothing, we stood at the turning point.  This means to recover from any type of addiction you have to make recovery your priority, not your cellphone, not social media, not the internet, YOUR RECOVERY.

    What does recovery look like?

    Patrick Carnes explains in his book Facing the Shadow that recovering people make second order changes which includes rigorous honesty. In other words, there are no secrets, you must make a full disclosure, trustworthy people get the full story,  exercise humility and embrace mistakes.  Again, half measures availed us nothing. When you choose your own recovery program versus what has been proven to work, you are not exercising humility and you’re not being honest with yourself.

    The turning point.

    According to Henri Nouwen, the turning point is the “conversion of loneliness to solitude.”  Addicts have to start a new relationship with themselves and when they do they don’t feel lonely anymore and can embrace solitude as a means of serenity.

    Yoda famously said, “and that is why you fail, do or do not.  There is no try.”

    What makes for long term success in recovery is the following:

    1. They have a primary therapist over the three to five- year period it takes to fully recover.
    2. They were in a therapy group for 18 months to 2 years.
    3. They went regularly to Twelve Step meetings, getting involved, getting a sponsor and doing 12-step work.
    4. They worked to find clarity and resolution of their family-of-origin and childhood issues with their therapist.
    5. Family was involved early in therapy. Sp0uses who have been traumatized attend their own 12-step meetings for partners and work with a therapist on their trauma issues.   Couples attend Recovering Couples Anonymous meetings.
    6. They developed a spiritual life
    7. They actively worked to maintain regular exercise and healthy nutrition.
    8. They actively worked through their issues in a workbook specifically for their addiction like Facing the Shadow or Rob Weiss’ Sexual Addiction 101.

     Building Trust Through Repentance

    A central teaching of Judaism is the idea of repentance.  There are several basic steps:

    • Admit what you did was wrong, against your values
    • Reveal how you offended other people through confession
    • Regret what you did wholeheartedly
    • Make amends to those you have harmed
    • Make every effort not to do it again, or put yourself in a “slippery slope” position
    • Refrain from doing the action when you are faced with the same situation (accountability, recovery, sobriety).
    • Restitution for damage caused
    • Repair the relationship with truth, trust and forgiveness.

    The Hebrew word for restore (shalam) means to make secure, to keep safe, to impart comfort and encourage peaceful coexistence.  A partner will only feel safe, peaceful and comfortable when they know you are being rigorously honest with them and with yourself.