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It Does Matter What Others Think: Just Pick The Right Others

Updated: Jul 26, 2023


Seeking what true is harder than you think.  How will you ever gain traction in addiction recovery surrounded by addicts.
Where are you getting your truth from?

In this world, levels of truth exist, and the question arises: where can you find the most accurate truth? It has been said that it doesn't matter what people say, but this perspective is underdeveloped and not advisable. The truth is what other people say does matter, and it is important to listen. However, it's crucial to discern who the right people are to listen to. Opinions and influence from malicious individuals should be avoided at all costs, as they may lead you astray. On the other hand, seeking out constructive and objective opinions can help uncover certain truths.

Throughout the day, we constantly bounce our thoughts off others, keeping ourselves in line and relevant. Let's consider a scenario where you have an idea, one that you believe is brilliant despite its obvious flaws. Sharing this idea with a group of people will save you much time and energy. When they quickly react to how terrible the idea is, you realize it's best not to proceed. By seeking the opinions of others, you can avoid wasting valuable resources on misguided endeavors.

When seeking objective truths about yourself, it's important not to limit your sources of truth to only those who care deeply about you or individuals who may be suffering from similar issues. For instance, asking a group of addicts if you should go buy more drugs, or seeking the advice of depressed and alcoholic friends on whether to stop at the bar on your way home, will only yield incredibly biased responses. To attain objectivity, you must be brave and broaden your sources of truth. The larger and more diverse the audience, the more objective you can get.

In this pursuit of objectivity, you won't find idea reinforcement or responses that perpetuate your already poor decision-making as an addicted individual. Seeking the truth requires courage, as it may be painful to hear, but it's only when you receive it from the right people that it can be transformative.

It is essential to utilize different resources tailored to specific problem areas in your life. For instance, when seeking insight about your health, a simple question like "Do I look fat in this?" won't provide the most accurate information. The question lacks relevance and an appropriate audience. Especially if it’s coming from your girlfriend, instead, consulting a professional, such as a healthcare provider or nutritionist, will yield more reliable results. Asking a personal trainer about your body fat percentage will likely elicit a different response.

Similarly, gaining insight into your mental health necessitates the expertise of a counselor or therapist. While it's natural to turn to the people closest to you for initial feedback on your mental state and grasp on reality, delving into the depths of distorted perceptions requires the assistance of a professional. Seeking their guidance can offer a more accurate assessment of your mental well-being and provide a framework for addressing any challenges you may face. Moreover, it allows for a balanced perspective and an appropriate assessment of regret and shame.

If you rely solely on feedback from those close to you, you risk receiving distorted truths that may be detrimental to your progress. Consider the scenario where your parents, who are doctors, provide feedback based on their own biases. They may harbor resentment because you didn't pursue their envisioned education, leading to extraordinary guilt and shame. However, the rest of the world may not share the same viewpoint, as they don't hold you to the same professional standards as your parents do.

While objective truths can certainly emerge from people who care about you, it is more efficient and reliable to seek out appropriate professionals in specific fields. These experts possess the knowledge and expertise necessary to provide accurate assessments and guide you toward a clearer understanding of yourself and your circumstances. By tapping into their professional insights, you can navigate the complexities of life with a more solid foundation of objective truths.

Observe Yourself and Measure Alcoholism

Ask yourself questions. If the answers hurt, you’re on the right path. Here is a good one. Are you lying? People lie, but if an addict’s lips are moving, what comes out is not the truth. Being stone-cold, brutally and unshakably honest will exponentially increase the likelihood of traction in recovery. Watch what you say throughout the day. The initial observations will simply be noting the times when an untruth is spoken. Recoding these instances is even better. However, recognizing them after they happen is an amazing step. Once, you have done this for some time, you will begin to realize untruthful instances are approaching in conversation and in thought. You will begin to anticipate when you are about to be dishonest. You can jump in front of that instance and decide not to. Just decide it isn’t coming out. A good example of this process is when you tell a “little” white lie. Someone asks would like to have lunch together. You think in your mind that saying “No thank you” is not sufficient of a rejection. So, in a valiant effort to save their feelings and escape awkwardness, you say “Sorry, I already ate.” The truth is you haven’t eaten, and you’re starving, but now you can’t eat near them because they might uncover your deceit. Now, you find yourself driving a great distance to eat lunch, not to be caught. Lies, no matter how big or small, will cost you.

Side note: even if you’re an atheist, know that there is wisdom in the Bible. There just is. While examining the wisdom found in Luke 16:10, we gain a profound insight into the human condition and the intricacies of trust. The biblical passage says, “he who can be trusted with very little can be trusted with a lot, and whoever cannot be trusted with very little cannot be trusted with a lot.” This notion holds true not only in matters of trust but also in the realm of addiction and recovery.

The parallel between trust and addiction becomes evident when we consider the rationale behind it. A person who can rationalize and justify stealing a mere dollar without remorse is highly likely to extend that same justification to more significant thefts, such as a staggering sum of one million dollars. The slippery slope of addiction operates in a similar manner, with small justifications leading to increasingly detrimental behaviors and consequences.

In the early stages of recovery, individuals often encounter the deceptive trap of the "just one won't hurt" mentality. It's a small lie they tell themselves, convincing them that a single indulgence won't have adverse effects. However, this seemingly innocent falsehood often sets in motion a sequence of events with far-reaching repercussions. As Samuel Jackson, the revered master performer, and actor, astutely pointed out, the belief that having just one glass of champagne won't cause harm is fundamentally flawed. He said, "If I could have just one, I wouldn't have a problem. One turns into 20!" I like to imagine he adds, “motherfucker” at the end of his statement but he didn’t, really.

Jackson's remark captures the essence of addiction's cunning nature. The initial rationalization of having "just one" drink, pill, or hit ultimately leads to an insatiable craving for more. What initially seems like a harmless indulgence quickly spirals into a relentless pursuit of greater quantities. The impact of that one seemingly insignificant act becomes magnified as it multiplies into twenty or perhaps even more.

These insights shed light on the critical importance of vigilance and self-awareness in the recovery process. Recognizing the deceptive nature of small lies and justifications is essential for avoiding the pitfalls that lie ahead. It requires a deep understanding that the consequences of giving in to those initial temptations can far exceed what we may anticipate. By embracing honesty, introspection, and a commitment to staying true to our recovery journey, we can navigate the treacherous path of addiction with resilience and emerge stronger on the other side.

While observing yourself, notice your actions and energy. In your honest opinion, do you use weak language? Using weak language is a clear result of being ashamed of who you are. Who wouldn’t be ashamed of who they are if most of their day was spent hiding their addictions and substance abuse? Just reading that last sentence sparks my feeling, knowing I had to lie to get through my day. Do you look like a person with little confidence? When people see you, do you look beat down? Their reactions can be considered mirrors. Are people moving away from you when you approach? This alerts you to concerns, and the concerns can become awareness. Once aware, adjustments can be made and progress achieved. Suppose you are now noticing unfavorable reactions from others to your presence. You can break down the reasons for this into aesthetic reasons, physical behavior (animations), or communication reasons. If you appear disheveled and unprofessional, people will treat you this way. You may be serious and professional, but your appearance gives people other perceptions. Their reactions and perceptions could be more appropriate measurements of reality and truth than we would like to admit. Your posture and animation in body language are also telling a story. Matching this story with the truth is also relevant. If you are confident, show it with appropriate posture and energy in your stance and walk. However, if the truth is that you are filled with guilt and shame, it will be evident in every person’s response to you. In addition, the words you choose and the tone of your voice will also inhibit responses from others. Notice when jokes, stories, phrases, and expressions land awkwardly on the people listening and the response is undesirable. I’m the king of telling jokes, and I’m the only one laughing. The skill I have developed is observing the situation when I told the shitty joke and how to prevent the same response from others in the future. The mirrors we use of other people’s perceptions and reactions are real. Be wary of believing your own narrative without realistic insight and interactions with others. Both objective opinions and opinions of the people closest to you matter. I understand that looking into these mirrors can feel like staring into those wonky mirrors at a carnival. If you gather enough of these mirrored representations and responses, the truth will eventually be revealed.

The correlation between honesty with oneself and success in recovery is profound and undeniable. Honesty serves as a cornerstone of personal growth and transformation, particularly in the context of overcoming addiction and achieving long-term recovery. Being truly honest with oneself means facing the reality of the situation without sugarcoating or minimizing the destructive impact of drugs and alcohol on one's life. It requires a willingness to examine the depths of addiction, acknowledging the detrimental effects it has had on various aspects of life—relationships, career, physical and mental health, and overall well-being.

When individuals are honest with themselves, they open the door to self-awareness and self-reflection, which are vital for initiating change. This level of honesty enables individuals to recognize the patterns, triggers, and underlying reasons behind their addictive behaviors. It allows them to take ownership of their actions and their consequences, accepting responsibility for the choices they have made. The choice is what makes us special, but it is also a heavy weight to carry.

Honesty also fosters a sense of authenticity and integrity. It encourages individuals to align their thoughts, words, and actions, creating a solid foundation for personal growth and recovery. By being honest with themselves, individuals can break free from denial and self-deception, facing the harsh realities of addiction head-on. Believe me, that head-on is the only way to make this happen.

Moreover, honesty supports the development of trust, both in oneself and in the recovery process. It is possible to lie to yourself and betray yourself. Developing personal honesty establishes a genuine and transparent relationship with oneself, where individuals can rely on their own judgment and intuition. Honesty with oneself also promotes openness and vulnerability, essential qualities for seeking help, guidance, and support from others, such as therapists, support groups, or loved ones. If you reach out to members of each of these groups, you will have a relatively objective set of perspectives.

During a recovery journey, honesty acts as a catalyst for change. It allows individuals to identify their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement, facilitating the creation of realistic goals and action plans. Without honesty, individuals may remain stuck in a cycle of self-deception, hindering their progress and preventing them from fully embracing a healthier, substance-free life. Pay attention to the loop you’re in.

Ultimately, the level of honesty with oneself directly impacts the success of recovery. The more honest individuals are in acknowledging their struggles, addressing their underlying issues, and committing to the necessary changes, the greater their chances of achieving sustained recovery and a better quality of life. Honesty is not always easy or comfortable, but it is an essential ingredient for personal growth, healing, and lasting transformation. Let’s get shopping for better ingredients for your life.

Action Plan: Movie Time

Start watching your conversations like a movie. I know it sounds weird, but it works. Almost like you’re watching your interactions as if you are at a distance. Notice when reactions from others aren’t what you expected or wanted. Notice when lies, despite their size or influence, are being told. If you aren’t at a position to appropriately observe interactions, start with yourself. Look in a real mirror and let the pain fly. You do drink too much. You don’t realize your potential. Your life could be better if substance use or abuse weren’t in it. It may hurt too much at first. So, start with a humble ten seconds of looking at yourself before you start telling yourself off. Just ten seconds staring into the mirror. The next day do 20. Then make an observation about your surroundings. Simply an honest observation of what you see in the room that you’re in with the mirror. Let’s face it. It’s probably a bathroom. But simple objective truth through observation will help link to the following. The first uncomfortable truth about yourself. Tell yourself in the same mirror one thing that is uncomfortably true about yourself that you can change. Again, start small. It could start with a wild nose hair. Pull that thing out and prepare yourself for a bigger one. Say, honestly, I could have had less to drink the night before ,and I would feel a little less shitty right now.” These small truths will grow.

1. Embrace radical honesty: Recognize that being honest with yourself is crucial for successful recovery and personal growth. Commit to being truthful and transparent, even when it feels uncomfortable or challenging.

2. Observe your interactions: Develop the habit of observing your conversations and interactions with others. Pay attention to the reactions you receive and notice when lies, big or small, are being told. This heightened awareness will help you identify areas for improvement and understand the impact of your actions on yourself and others.

3. Practice self-reflection: Start by focusing on yourself and introspecting. Take a moment to look into a mirror and confront your inner truth. Acknowledge any negative patterns or behaviors, such as excessive substance use, and recognize that your life could be better without them. It may be difficult at first, so start with short periods of self-reflection and gradually increase the duration.

4. Gradually expand self-observation: Increase the time you spend observing yourself in the mirror daily. As you become more comfortable, broaden your observations to include your surroundings. Make honest and objective observations about the environment you're in, fostering a deeper connection between observation and truth.

5. Embrace uncomfortable truths: In the mirror, confront one uncomfortable truth about yourself that you can change. Start small and focus on manageable aspects. For example, acknowledge a habit or behavior that you can modify for your well-being. Embrace these truths as opportunities for growth and improvement.

6. Cultivate humility in truth: Recognize the value of humility in facing the truth. Understand that by acknowledging and addressing uncomfortable truths, you can make progress in your recovery journey. Embrace this process with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow.

By following this action plan, rooted in radical honesty, self-reflection, and a willingness to embrace uncomfortable truths, you can pave the way for personal growth, healing, and a more fulfilling life. Carl Jung, a great clinician and therapist, wrote, “man cannot see God because he doesn’t look low enough.” It’s the humility in truth that provides the value.

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