When you hit ‘rock bottom’, the only way to pick yourself up is to own up to the behaviors and actions that got you there in the first place. You can only rise when you are brutally honest with yourself. You have to take time out, go through a life review, and give yourself a report card of all aspects of your life. In therapy, it’s called - compiling a dishonesty list.
The first time I had to face myself in the mirror was at the age of thirty eight. It was the hardest thing to be brutally honest about all the things I had been dishonest about. Lilly was continually working on herself and facing areas where she was dishonest from the age of sixteen.
Some of the reasons we are dishonest with ourselves:
Shame - We all have things we’d like to keep private forever, but often what we are trying to hide from the world is ruining our quality of life. Much of our anxiety about honesty comes from feeling that we are not good enough. Getting used to talking openly about the things that you feel shameful for eventually ends up empowering you.
Fearing Judgement or consequences - There is no adult human being who has not done or thought something wrong, and yet we often feel like we’re the only one. Even though we all think and do things we shouldn’t; in life, most people jump to judgments before understanding. Facing and talking about your problems directly can help ease your fears of negative reactions.
Lying to ourselves - if you’re good at lying to others, chances are you’re even better at lying to yourself. We are very good at avoiding discomfort, and most of the time self-honesty is anything but comfortable. Lilly was a pro at rationalizing and getting around admitting that she had problems.
Not trusting others - Trust is the critical component of any relationship. Without honesty, you can’t have trust. No one could help Lilly until she was honest with herself and those around her.
Not wanting to change - A lot of times we are dishonest with ourselves because we don’t want to change our old patterns. We refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem.
When going through Lilly’s computer, I found the latest dishonesty list that she had worked on (May 2020). I’m not sure if she had shared the list with her therapist, sponsor, or friends. I’m proud of her for taking the time to sit down with herself and taking a personal inventory. Believe me - It’s the hardest thing to do.
- not taking care of my mental health
- not wanting to be part of the group
- spending money so people will be my friend
- wanting to be popular in the group
- papa’s business
- hanging out with friends
- going to meetings for fun and not working on myself
- hanging out with people that are not good for me
- jealous that my friends can use with no consequences
- jealous of how xxxx is using alcohol and can hide it from the group
It takes a very strong mind, courage, and a brave soul to face your inner demons. I wish that Lilly had taken the extra step to eliminate those demons. She had passed the first painful step - acknowledging what she was dishonest about. She failed to go through the second step - picking herself up, getting help, and having the strength and confidence to move on.
In her list, she acknowledges that she has been dishonest with drugs. She shouldn’t have felt shameful and felt that she needed to hide. She should have been honest, spoken about it, and gotten help. Lilly was smart enough to know what she was dishonest about, but she just didn’t know how to break the barriers and lift herself up.
For the past four years, all I have heard is ‘stop enabling her’, ‘kick her out’, ‘let her figure this out on her own’. I disagree with this mindset. What good is letting go, when your child is not equipped to make sound decisions. How do you kick your child out when they need you the most? Lilly wanted to get better she just didn’t know how to. It was easier for her to just be dishonest than to face the music. The moment I let Lilly go, I lost her. Had I taken the reigns in my hands, she would have hated me, but I truly believe she would have been alive today.
If you’re going to take anything away from this blog, it’s NOT TO BE DISHONEST WITH YOURSELF!