“A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.” – The Scout Law, Boy Scout Handbook
“Trustful people are the pure at heart, as they are moved by the zeal of their own trustworthiness.” ― Criss Jami, Author of Healology
“On my honor I will do my best…” so begins the scout oath. Whether or not you were ever in scouts, the words “honor” and “do my best” used to mean something to you before your addiction. That may or may not be the case now in your life, but think back to a time before the addiction when you felt honorable, wholesome, and good. There is a certain peace that comes with honest, authentic living that is precious and irreplaceable. Hold on to that perception of you and work to make the future you equally honest and trustworthy again – if not more so.
With addiction comes deceit. It is inevitably intertwined with all forms of addiction. Why? Because shame is inherent in addiction and humans are prone to use deceit as a defense against shame. Remember, addiction is inherently about avoiding or assuaging negative feelings that the addict either doesn’t know how to cope with or doesn’t want to deal with. So, to avoid the negative emotion of shame, addicts learn to lie to others and themselves. Often despair and discouragement, follow the feeling of shame as acting out behaviors are repeated to the point where there seems like there is no way out.
If you feel like there is no way out of your addiction, I’ve got good news for you – there is! But the path is one of daily discipline, and it includes, among many principles and actions, the principle of zealous trustworthiness.
Becoming trustworthy is the bedrock of your recovery. Why? Because attachment or connection is core to your recovery and you can’t have successful relationships if you are untrustworthy. The corrosive canker to any relationship is deceit. We have to be honest and avoid all deception in what we say, what we see, what we do, and what we think – this is the key to connection.
That can be a tall order if you have a spouse that is triggered by your honesty – but remember that you can do hard things. There’s no promise that recovery will be easy (in fact, I promise you it won’t be easy!), but it is definitely worth the effort. Developing trust in a relationship takes honesty and consistency. Regardless of the consequences you fear, you must regard being honest as a key component of developing trust in your relationships. Then you must be zealously committed to consistently being honest and truthful. You have to come to zealously value being trustworthy as a character trait. Be impeccably trustworthy in your words, actions, views, and thoughts. Use the “dailies” as a discipline to hone your abilities to become trustworthy. You have to want to be zealously trustworthy as much as a drowning person yearns for air. For you are drowning in addiction, and personal trustworthiness is the only thing that can restore you and make you whole again.
Of all the people to trust in this world, I would probably trust someone who has struggled through addiction and has put serious, long-term effort into recovery. Why would I do that? Because anyone who has made serious recovery from an addiction and has done the hard work it takes to maintain years of sobriety and the discipline to overcome their addiction has had to pass through the refiner’s fire and become trustworthy. They have come to value trustworthiness as a personal trait that they would never trade away ever again.