The psychological toll of addiction in an adolescent’s life is far-reaching. New ways of thinking and habitual patterns of conduct take over, due to the rewiring of their thought processes by drugs and alcohol. Ultimately an adolescent suffering from addiction finds themselves unable to be honest. First and foremost, they find difficulty in being honest about the severity of their using problems. Honestly expressing their emotions, needs, or fears becomes an equally challenging, but necessary process.
Regaining the ability to be honest is a development found only in recovery from drugs and alcohol. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states that “developing a manager of living which demands rigorous honesty” is the key to recovery. In order to recover, one must have the “capacity to be honest”. The first step of the infamous 12 steps involves admitting powerlessness over substance abuse and recognizing the unmanageable state life has reached. The moment the adolescent in your life suffering from drug and alcohol addiction is honest about their problem, recovery begins. Along the journey of treatment and after care, tools will be developed for expanding practices in honesty.
Encourage the adolescent in your life to admit their mistakes as soon as is possible after it happens. Recovery programs help addicts to do this by teaching them to take regular personal inventories of their lives. Shedding layers of shame and guilt, it is helpful to continuously clean the slate. Maintaining a daily journal or having a daily phone call with a 12 step sponsor is an easy way to do this. As a parent, family member, or loved one, demonstrate your own dedication to honesty as well. Exemplify humility in your own life by owning up to your own shortcomings and committing yourself to righting your wrongs. Taking these small steps toward honesty in recovery help the process become easier for you and your recovering teen or adolescent.
A recovering addict’s failure to develop a renewed sense of honesty can lead to relapses only to be covered with more lies and denial. Any one incident of dishonesty will make it easier for an addict to be dishonest again. Developing new patterns is a fragile process, vulnerable to backtracking. Both honesty and dishonesty will build on prior incidents. With perseverance, you will both begin to see how a recovered sense of honesty will help not only in long term sobriety but living a fulfilling life.
Sustain Recovery Services offers a unique aftercare treatment program for adolescents in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on our transformational program, please call 949-407-9052.