April 9

HONESTY MONTH: DAY 9: “You lie once… you lie for the rest of your life… and in quest of proving your innocence… you pledge your honesty with utter lies…. !!!” ― Abhijeet Sawant

I was reminded of a time when I was very young, 17 to be exact. I had been hitch-hiking around the country for over a year. I was emancipated, but when I would get picked up by the police, I was still too young to be with anyone over 18.

This was a difficult situation, because I would meet people and they would let me stay with them for a day or so, if I wanted, to sleep and hang out. We were all hippies and there was this crazy hoop to jump through or adults would be arrested for harboring a minor. Not to mention any romantic situations I might have been involved in.

So, I began to lie to everyone about my age, about my background. After a while, it got bigger and bigger. I ended up meeting a young man I really liked, and because I had started out with that story, I had to keep it going. This was tough.

I had a story about being from Westchester County in New York. I had even adopted an accent, which was terrible! But I was convinced it was authentic. Everyone seemed to buy it, so I kept it up. This was tougher as time went on.

I had been living with him and his brother for about 3 months when the police came to the door to tell me that my family needed me to come home, because my father was dying. We did not have a phone, so my sister called the police to notify me. She knew where I was since I had kept in touch with her over the time since I had left home. I sent her postcards during my travels and would let her know where I was whenever I settled down for a few days or weeks, which I did a couple of times.

Now I had to come clean about the truth, since we were putting me on a plane to So. Cal. Yikes! It was the end of any trust he had held in me. And, of course, the end of that relationship.

That is what I think of when I think of how I lied to others for so many years of my life. The way I have lied to myself is even more insidious and intense.

I believed things about my family and my childhood for a very LONG time, and long into my recovery. It was the way I framed my past; the story I told about it all. That has been changed over these years, but it remains from time to time.

We MUST learn to see things through a deeper lens in order to let go of those old ideas. That is the entire purpose of this step. To let go of old ideas.

These are the backbone of our stories. When I listen to someone’s story, I listen for the hardship cases, the “you don’t know how bad I have had it” crap we come in here with. The “poor me” crap. Some of it may be true, but we need to understand how to come to terms with what happened.

Life is life. While stuff has happened, we are not here to be victims of anything. We are made victims because of the story we have around life. That is our way of seeing it.

A new perspective gives us freedom to look at life through the lens of our humanity and balance our story without judgments, ours or anyone else’s.

We have to stop telling and believing the lies about our lives. This is the challenge and the gift of Step 4. I love it, because I get to be happy, joyous and free! This is where it all begins!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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