Lying and getting high go very well together.
Keeping secrets and getting high go very well together.
The problem with either lying or keeping secrets is that, once you start doing it on any level at all, your brain realizes that it is possible to “get away with it.”
And once your brain notices this, it is going to kick into overdrive, planning all sorts of other things that it knows it could potentially get away with.
So when you start lying or keeping secrets, even if it seems innocent or harmless at first, is that you are setting your own mind up for failure. You are teaching your mind through the fact that you are setting an example that it is okay to relapse later on the down the road.
One of the nice things about recovery is that you free up a lot of mental energy that you used to have to spend during your addiction. For starters there is the mental obsession that you have to deal with in terms of finding and getting more drugs or booze in order to feed your addiction.
Then there is the mental gymnastics that your brain has to perform in order to make it okay that you are abusing large amounts of drugs or booze. Every addict has to do this in their mind, whether they realize it or not: They are constantly working to justify or rationalize their own behavior. We all do this, some of just do not realize that it is part of our addiction.
So we may tell ourselves things like “If other people had my same problems, they would drink like I do.” And we have to keep telling ourselves that over and over again so that we do not feel like a monster due to our drug or alcohol abuse.
So when you get into recovery you get to release all of that mental baggage. You get to just stop worrying about getting your next fix, you get to stop running those same scripts in your mind about how you deserve to get drunk or high.
Interestingly, however, some of those old scripts will continue to run, even after you have gone to rehab and put down the drugs or the alcohol for good. For example, I used to play the drama tape in my mind that told me that I deserved to get drunk or high because of all the drama in my life that I had to deal with. This was ridiculous, of course, and there was really no justification for why I continuously abused drugs and alcohol. But my brain was in survival mode, and it had to justify all of that abuse by noticing the drama in my life, cultivating resentments, and engaging in self pity. And after I made the decision to get clean and sober, my brain went right on along trying to justify all of that nonsense, even though I was attempting to stop drugs and alcohol and to do the right thing.
So I had to retrain my mind. How did I go about doing this?
First, I made a decision that any time that I noticed my brain “playing the victim role” that I would immediately notice this and shut it down. I would not allow myself to get caught up in a fantasy loop of my mind in which I had been victimized and now I deserved something as a result.
So I had to decide that I was going to notice this when it happened. And naturally my brain would ease into this victim thinking before my higher level of consciousness could recognize it was happening. But because I made this decision that I was going to “catch it happening,” I was able to start noticing when it happened quicker and quicker each time. And I forced myself to shut that kind of thinking down and to redirect my thoughts.
How exactly do you redirect your thoughts when your own mind is attempting to sabotage your recovery efforts?
You do so by practicing. And one of the things that you can practice is gratitude. So every day you need to sit down and write out the reasons that you are grateful in your life.
Realize that the harder this is for you to do, the more you will benefit by doing it. If it comes easily to you then it won't have as large an impact on your recovery. But if you find it difficult to conjure up 50 things to be grateful for, then you will get huge benefit by forcing yourself to do this exercise.
This is a practice. Gratitude is something that you practice, that you improve at. And the only way to get better at it is to sit there and sweat, to force yourself, to demand that your brain figure out what exactly you are grateful for, and why.
If you force yourself to go through with this every single day then you will get faster and faster at it, which means that you are getting stronger when it comes to practicing gratitude in your life.
Gratitude training is just one “brain hack” that can help you in recovery. There are others.
I would also recommend that you write in a daily journal. There are many benefits to doing this that go beyond the obvious. When you “brain dump” into a written journal every day you free up emotional and mental energy that can give you a new sense of freedom. Also, by writing your thoughts and feelings down every day, you can get a better idea when something is way off base in your life. You can use it to see the red flags that you otherwise may have missed. Journal writing is one way to explore your own life in more detail.
Our old way was to cover things up with lies and secrets during our addiction. That was what we knew how to do and we had to live that way in order to survive. In recovery we need to change those old thought patterns because they are not needed any more, they are potentially dangerous and harmful, and they do not lead to freedom and happiness.
Therefore we need to raise our level of awareness and expand our consciousness. If we are trying to juggle secrets or lies in our mind then we do not have as much mental energy to focus on recovery. Having secrets or lies restrains our ability to be honest and forward with other people, which is essential for recovery.
In order to be honest with yourself you must also be honest with other people, and vice versa. It all ties together in the end, and any little lie or secret will eventually come back to blow up in our face, which then becomes a huge risk in terms of relapse.
It all starts with the honest admission that we need help, and so we reach out, go to treatment or AA (or both), and then begin to rebuild our lives. But this has to happen with honesty and transparency if we have any hope of making it to long term sobriety. Any secrets, lies, or sneaking around will only hold us back and drive us back to self medicating.
The post The True Cost of Keeping Secrets or Lying in Addiction Recovery appeared first on Spiritual River Addiction Help.