There is nothing dumber than lying to your mentor.
For my program to work I must be completely honest with myself and others at all times. Honesty is the core requirement of a successful program of healing. “How It Works” from Chapter 5 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says this:
Those who do not recover are people who…are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves…There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
The only person who stands to lose by lying is me. When I enter the Addiction Cycle and call my mentor he has no idea why I am calling and has nothing at stake in my recovery. If I tell the truth, he will not know it is the truth; if I lie, he will not know it is a lie. My lie costs him nothing at all. There is nothing I can tell my mentor he has not heard before, and my mentor will never judge me. Even if I lose my sobriety, calling my mentor and telling the truth will result in personal growth and a better chance for long-term recovery.
Yet despite all these reasons why I should never lie to my mentor, I did, once.
It wasn’t even about a big thing like losing my sobriety. I honestly do not remember all the details now because it happened months ago. All I know is that I had done something shameful and I did not want to tell my mentor about it.
So instead I told a half-truth and minimized my actions so my mentor would not know what a ‘bad person’ I was. Ironically, my mentor knows all about my personal history and whatever I tried to cover up that day was nothing in comparison. I was not even in the Addiction Cycle at the time! Can you imagine how much more difficult it would have been to tell the truth if I had been in the Cycle?
There was a voice in my head that told me, “He doesn’t need all the details, just give him the basics.” Unfortunately the ‘details’ were where the damning part of that day’s events resided and I was not honest about them. As soon as I hung up I felt terrible and stupid. Not only had I just lied to a person I had promised never to lie to, I was reverting to addict-thinking (justifying lies and half-truths) and I was sabotaging my own recovery program. Like I said: Stupid. It took me a full 24 hours to call my mentor back and admit my lie. God is merciful and I got my mentor’s voicemail the next day; I did not have to admit my lie to him ‘face-to-face’.
Today’s Challenge: There’s an ‘addict’ in all of us that doesn’t want to get well, that wants to continue old patterns of behavior and self-destruction. When you are in the Addiction Cycle the truest test of your desire to stay sober is whether or not you tell the truth to your mentor. Remember: Your mentor will never know you lied to him. The only person that stands to lose is you. The next time you are in the Addiction Cycle ask yourself this Question: Am I being completely honest with my mentor?