82. In truth lies freedom.

Last week’s blog about Gail, my friend who has been sober for five years, inspired a number of folks to share the stories of the changes that occurred in their lives when they reached the realization that “the truth shall set you free.”

I have heard several stories, similar to Gail’s, by folks who arrived at a point when they understood that before sobriety could ever move into their lives, truth, with all its ugliness, would need to take up residency first.

As I listened to their stories it occurred to me that if it is true that “pride goeth before a fall,” then the very act of acknowledging you have a problem, and that you have repeatedly conducted yourself in ways that have inconvenienced, or even harmed, you and others requires a great deal of courage.

In order to adopt, and commit your life to, The Habit of Being True to Yourself it is necessary to look deeply into the mirror of truth and recognize the reflection staring back at you is a mirage that you’ve shaped through repeated self-deception.

If you stare into that mirror long enough you will find yourself hidden behind the illusion you have created and in order to give that illusion even the smallest glimmer of hope of coming out, you need to release the false pride that has played such a powerful role in in your own self-delusion.

Each of the people who shared their stories with me this week talked of how their biggest fear – the fear of being exposed for who and what they truly were – turned into the most cathartic moment in their lives the very instant they spoke the truth to themselves and reached out for help.

Not only were their worst fears not realized, they were overjoyed to learn how much encouragement and support was available to them and how the people they reached out to reached back to them with love, not judgment.

One lady explained that The Habit of Being True to Yourself can only begin after a thorough “cleaning out, clearing out and throwing out of all the lies, fabrications, exaggerations and distortions that got us into this mess in the first place.”

She further explained that for this to happen it is necessary to realize the courageous journey to a new life often causes those whose opinions of us we value to view us through a new and critical lens, and if we harbor any hope of successfully sticking with The Habit of Being True to Yourself then we must accept that we cannot reach for great heights while being pulled back by what others think of us.

I learned a great deal from these “honest” conversations and the more I listened, the more I realized that, for many of us, the fear of confronting the truth, and dealing with the pain that truth may bring, is indeed a tiny price to pay for the freedom that The Habit of Being True to Yourself brings into our lives.

One of my callers put it most succinctly when she pointed out that assimilating The Habit of Being True to Yourself into your life eliminates the need for a good memory as you no longer need to remember which lies you told, and to whom.

That, by itself, has to be an enormous stress-remover.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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