Drug addiction recovery: Engaging honesty in therapy

It is true that half the battle is won when an addict, perhaps with the encouragement of loved ones, seeks help and treatment to get their life back on top. However, what most people don’t realise is that the last leg of the battle is engaging honesty in therapy so that the addict can start a new life free of the weight of drugs.

Image courtesy of Alan Cleaver via Flickr.

Image courtesy of Alan Cleaver via Flickr.

It all boils down to honesty and honesty will allow you to create a trusting bond with the counsellor and allow for a personalised treatment programme to be formed. That fact that an addict is acknowledging the problem in the first place means that they want to seek help over the problem but the real test comes upon first entering the treatment center and being prepared to be asked a lot of personal questions.

There is always a level of dishonesty that surrounds drug use. There are constant lies being fed to family members, friends and colleagues as well as the lying an addict does to themselves. It becomes deeply embedded and turns into a something that they believe. This type of behaviour is often carried into the treatment phase. There are a number of reasons why an addict might lie during therapy and a number of excuses they may give:

  • Fear that the therapist will judge them
    It is always uncomfortable disclosing personal information to strangers, but it is especially difficult if you feel like you may be judged. Good professionals should never judge their patients. In fact, they are most likely to understand the reasons behind your actions and sympathise. They are also the ones that are most likely to have the solution to stop further ‘embarrassing’ behaviour.

  • Fear that the therapist will report the information you disclose
    It is a common misconception that therapists are like reporters. That they will report any bad things or illegal behaviour that you may end up telling them. This is not true as all information is confidential. Everything remains between the two of you. There are some circumstances however, in which information may have to be disclosed, such as in the case of danger of harming yourselves or others. This is for protection.

  • A fear of how others may see you and wanting to maintain a positive image
    During therapy sessions, all the bad and painful aspects of the drug addiction journey will be brought to the surface and this can be hard to digest. Instinctually, you would want to maintain a positive image of yourself and not deal with the ugly realities. Whether consciously done or not, hiding information for this reason can have a damaging effect. The very fact that you are there in the first place shows you are of good character.

  • Denial
    It’s a huge factor in the journey of a recovering addict and they will have to overcome it during therapy as well. You may believe what information you have tucked away is irrelevant but its revelation could in fact be a huge step in recovery. Most people can tell when they are in denial and it is hard to overcome, but remember you did it once when admitting you had the problem.

  • Being in therapy for the first time
    This sudden change in environment and atmosphere can be frightening and can often lead to using lying as a coping mechanism. Addicts are often skilful liars to avoid trauma in the past and letting go of that mechanism will take time but the therapist will always be patient.

If we go to visit the doctors for a reason, we will automatically disclose all the information they need because we want to get better as quickly as possible. Rehab should be no different. Honesty needs to be exercised so that you can move forward. Treatment isn’t about you and them. There aren’t two sides. It is about ‘we.’

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