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Breakdown Lane | A Personal Journey of Recovery | Part 19 – Test Driving the Truth

So, by now, if you’ve been reading my blog here, you are possibly thinking that I’m nothing but a big fat liar. You’d be right in some regards and oh so wrong in others. My only defense is that I’m an addict, and it’s what we do. I’d spent years building a fabrication of a life, so coming clean wasn’t second nature at all, and who knows, maybe I felt if I gave up that ‘creative’ side to myself I’d have nothing really left. In addition, I’d have to deal with the shame of explaining to those I’d spun tales to and who knows they might even think the truth was a lie. It was best to keep my mouth shut, and rationalize as best I could; it what I knew best.
          I guess I must have missed something along the way regarding cleaning up the wreckage of my past. I knew I had to but why throw myself on the sword and make myself even more pitiful. Isn’t it enough just to be a recovering addict? Do I really need to humiliate myself?
          The answer is yes and no. 
          It’s more about removing the past and not letting the guilt continue to eat away at me. I couldn’t just continue to squash it down. I was just having trouble with this truth-telling, even in the rehab treatment center.
         Before I give the impression that I am a total liar, at which it is probably too late, I want to back up just a bit and explain that true sobriety takes a bit of getting used to, and that not every single word I uttered back then was a complete invention. I talked about my past openly and as honestly as I could. Some of the crap I pulled on people, and on myself, was hard to comprehend. So, I guess in a way I’m asking for your patience and understanding.
          Complete honestly is like taking a test drive with a new sports car. I’d need to get a good feel of how it handles, how it responds, how fast, and of course how it brakes when necessary. Although I sometimes struggled with my self-worth, and occasionally still do, I did know that I was an inherently good person who had a great love for friends and family. So telling them the truth about all of it without running them down was a process I’d need to soon learn to navigate. 
          In the early days of my sobriety I saw a lot of friends who would exclaim they had no idea I had a problem with drugs and alcohol. They thought I’d handled myself well and came across like I had it all together. That comment always struck me as funny, odd, and unsettling. I’d built a façade so incredibly manufactured that no one really knew when I was high and when I was lying to them. A cruel twist, my lack of self-worth coming into play here, is that I’d tell myself they didn’t care enough to actually pay attention to me, and if they were true friends they would have seen long ago I needed help.
          Yes, an addict’s brain has a lovely way of turning things about and making someone else responsible for my problems. 
          Although I knew the lies would inhibit me from moving forward, I didn’t find myself being one-hundred percent honest. I picked what truths to reveal to friends and family, and only those that would not come back to bite me in the butt later. I did however, talk about some of my bad behavior, wreckage, and resentments in the recovery treatment center. I’d throw true stories out to this small group as a sort of test drive because I came to believe this is what the rehab therapy was all about.
          And besides, after the stuff they told me they did I was a saint…just kidding. We all pulled some lousy cons and manipulations on people we professed to care about. This group was not here to judge me, and if they did, well, shame on them. The purpose was to support one another.
          That’s right around the time two more of my party friends found sobriety as well. We were like falling dominoes. 

To the next part in the Series — A Personal Journey of Recovery | Part 20 – Driving the Dotted White Line — Click Here