According to recovery literature, honesty, open-mindedness and willingness are three key essential traits necessary in the individual to bring about recovery from addiction. When we talk about honesty in this sense, we not only mean being honest with others but, being honest with oneself. The type of honesty necessary for recovery is not superficial honesty. It is looking at the truth and how the individual escalated their dishonesty as their life went on a downward spin into chronic addiction. It is realizing that the reality of their life at this moment is partially an accumulation of dishonest offenses as well as defenses. In their addiction it can be said that most addicts are irrational liars. They even lie when the truth would serve them better! Or when not telling the truth has become a habit.
The literature also states that we need to be honest with at least one other person in order to complete the 12 Steps of recovery. This can be our sponsor, a close-mouthed friend or a member of the clergy. During the step process it is necessary to digest chunks of truth about ourselves. Finally, being able to see the truth, we are able to process why we thought it necessary to be dishonest regarding a particular matter. Seeing the truth sets us free from the bondage of dishonesty. It usually takes the assistance of the other person previously mentioned to enable us to tease out the truth. We are not alone on this most important aspect of our journey. We have the support of our friends in recovery as well as our sponsor. We are able to see our shortcomings and remove what has been standing in our way of freedom from addiction.
Open-mindedness is necessary in order to look at our addiction and behaviors in a different light. Just what has gone so wrong? How could we be in this maze called addiction? In being open-minded we are able with the help of others once again, to apply new ways of seeing ourselves. We come to realize that our self-seeking mindset and behavior is what has got us to this point. It may be uncomfortable to realize this but it is necessary for recovery. Our close-mouthed friend will encourage us and help us to see these truths about ourself. Our open-mind will also help us to apply new ways of thinking and acting in our daily lives. It is in this new way that we learn to apply the principles of the recovery program to ourselves. We need to first learn what is really going on with our motives, ideas, excuses, ambitions and other traits as well. After digesting these truths about ourselves and letting them go, we are able to apply the program to our addiction and fully recover. Yes, there is work involved in recovering from addiction. But after the work is completed, we are able to reflect back over it and see that the time and effort spent working on ourselves was more than worth it.
Willingness is the key to sobriety and recovery. Willingness is a state of mind and heart. Upon realizing that most of the baggage we carry with us is self-created, we are able to willingly process it and let it go (one more time with the help of that close-mouthed friend). We begin to say yes to new suggestions and ways of living. We are able to begin to rebuild our lives on a firm foundation instead of riding the roller coaster of addiction. Life takes on new meaning and purpose when we are not trying to force things to go our way. Willingness enables us to become flexible and helps us with our honesty and open-mindedness. We are in the process of becoming new persons living sane and sober lives.