Recovery from any sort of addictive behavior requires a lot of structure and hard work. It will usually involve treatment and supportive family and friends. I'm experienced in the treatment of drug addiction, pornography addiction, and eating disorders which can be considered addictions. These and the other addictions out there all have similar processes. In all of these addictions, the role of honesty is paramount.
Let me explain. Oftentimes, the addictive behavior is secretive. The person may feel shameful about the addiction and will go to great lengths to hide the addiction from loved ones. They don't want others to discover that they have a problem. The person may want to continue with their addiction because they can't imagine life without it. Sometimes the person may feel so shameful about their addictive behaviors that they would rather die with their secret than seek help. These feelings of fear and shame often contribute to behaviors of secrecy, especially lying and dishonesty. When a person "gets caught" in their addictive behavior, sometimes they feel a sense of relief (besides the anger, resentment, embarrassment, and/or shame) because the efforts of hiding can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.
When someone is ready to work toward recovery from an addiction, one of the first things I introduce into treatment is honesty. Secrets, hiding, and lies feed the addiction. Secrecy also increases shame. So that hinders recovery. When a person can be honest about their behavior, they can begin to let go of the addiction. The shame they feel will begin to decrease, and it can be dealt with in more positive ways.
Think of it this way. Have you ever had an embarrassing secret that you didn't want to share with anyone? But then you shared it with someone supportive? You probably felt some relief and the embarrassment and shame you may have felt also lessened. Being vulnerable and truthful about who we really are actually helps us feel more confident and less ashamed.
So I will ask the person in treatment to be honest with me about their addictive behaviors. I will also include at least one support person with whom my client can be totally honest. It's important to clear the air and be aware of the severity and types of behaviors that accompany the addiction. Then, moving forward in recovery, I will ask my client to be honest about any addictive behaviors that happen from now on. I want my client to be honest with me and their support person. That way, the client can break the cycle of secrecy that feeds the addiction, and they can receive help and support when they are struggling.
IMHO, being totally free from addiction requires being totally truthful about those addictive behaviors to the right person or persons. Honesty is a priority in the treatment I provide for clients struggling with addiction.
What has your experience been with honesty in recovery?