Things I have learned and am required to address regularly:
With women in recovery, I find that they have a very “loose” definition of “lie”.
Lying by omission appears to never be considered a lie to them.
Being presumptuous in willfully undertaking a behavior that may not explicitly be a violation of the letter of a rule, but certainly is a violation of the spirit of the rule, or which they have not been specifically and explicitly and personally told they couldn’t do, is never a lie. In other words, they will test the limits of every rule’s application.
Pleading ignorant with “I didn’t know,” is always an easy default response to attempt to avoid consequences in such cases.
Lying or silence to protect someone else’s rules violations is never a lie. “You cover my back, I’ll cover yours” is a badge of honor and requirement for friendship, even if it means lying for you, and you are required to do the same for me.
If another person has received permission for something in particular, by default it is immediately alright for them, too, and “You SAID WE could” is the response. Such co-opting of permission given to others makes it difficult when women are at very different points in their recovery and working on very different therapeutic goals to begin allowing something with one and not have it become chaos because everyone else wants to claim the privilege, too, even though it is not yet something for which they are ready.
All of these behaviors are indicative of a willingness to manipulate the truth to get what one desires and avoid consequences in the process.
The belief that it is preferable to ask forgiveness in any situation, in the event that you are unfortunate enough to get caught and can’t lie your way out, instead of asking permission is pervasive.
Or, simply deny, deny, deny even in the face of multiple witnesses and clear evidence, if not caught red-handed by the authority figure.
Personal accountability and holding one another accountable for truth and honest conduct is very difficult. Such deceptive behavior often started in childhood and has become such an ingrained pattern, it is nearly impossible to break until one has truly and sincerely come under the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. This, in my opinion, is one of the hallmark characteristics of real transformation and assurance that one is actually saved…….. a desire to live truthfully, accepting consequences of one’s own behavior and not lying for others…. actively or by one’s silence.
“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
Obviously, this is an issue about which I am becoming more and more determined. The FIRST rule in recovery is that one has to be honest – with God, with herself, and with others……. and most especially with your case manager. If she is going to stand with you, advocate for you, go above and beyond for you….. you had better be straight up with her. Lies will break trust and then you will be on your own, back where you started.
I have often told people in recovery that there’s nothing we can’t work through as long as one is honest. But lies will take us down a path in which the lie will prove to have been definitely not worth whatever benefit one thought she would gain by doing so.
I find it is going to be necessary to introduce this concept in a very lengthy and explicit way in the interview with candidates going forward. There is really no point even starting the process if we don’t have this understanding in place.