January 12, 2013

Tips for honesty and coming clean with yourself and others

The author of Secret Keeping suggests strong honesty strategies to win the recovery game.

By John Howard Prin

If you are in early sobriety, welcome to a lifetime of satisfying, authentic recovery.

Two practical solutions that can help strengthen your recovery besides relapse prevention include sobriety retention and honestly disclosing your secrets.

How to uncover past liesFocusing on the latter, disclosing secrets can offer new ways to help boost your effectiveness and improve your odds of success for staying sober.

Pre-sobriety, you may have hidden your using behavior and deceived people who asked about it, even to the point of lying outright to protect yourself. Put plainly, you kept secrets.

A Twelve Step adage commonly heard is, “You are as sick as your secrets.” If keeping secrets was a major part of your past, your recovery will depend on remedying this dysfunctional behavior.

When coming clean, it is necessary to consider who you need to tell, when and where to tell them, the amount of detail necessary to disclose and the need for the person listening to react and respond. Weighing each of these wisely helps make the awkward process of disclosing less difficult and uncomfortable.

Consider these do’s and don’ts.

Don’t disclose over the phone, email or letter. Speak in person, if possible.

Don’t wallow in details or names. Speak in themes.

Don’t save the worst for later.

Don’tallow young children to be present. Speak to children separately.

Domeet with a professional counselor ahead of time, perhaps also when disclosing.

Do meet in a quiet place where the listener feels safe.

Dowrite out what you will say. Use  as a guide, not word for word.

Doallow the other person to vent feelings and ask questions.

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