While I usually tell white lies to help others, I learned in recovery that telling a white lie actually has the potential to help myself stay sober.
It sounds crazy, doesn't it? All our lives we are told lying is bad, and often times it is, but I recently discovered six benefits for telling white lies in recovery:
1. On my way home from work I pass by a neighbor who is walking his dogs. He says, "You really need to adopt a retired service dog, like Jake here. He'll keep you out of trouble." My white lie for that scenario is: I'm sorry, but my son is allergic to dogs. It is the nicest way I can think of that allows me to be on my way as soon as possible without getting in a long, conversation about something I don't want to talk about.
2. My best friend got sober a few years before I did. She frequently takes it upon herself to tell me everything she learned in rehab, even though I have repeatedly told her I had already learned those same principles in rehab also. To spare her feelings, I say: That reminds me - I signed up for an internet study that will review what we already learned and then teach me even more. I am going to head home, so I can get started. This way, I am sparing her feelings while keeping myself from getting frustrated.
3. Occasionally, I will come across someone I haven't seen in years who will tell me how great it was to hear I got sober and then turn around and begin to talk about all the years of my life that I wasted while I was drinking. It is so insulting, and my initial reaction is to want to punch their lights out. I had to think fast, so I said, Well, I'm glad those days are behind me. Now, I get to help others to avoid my mistakes by giving talks. In fact, I have one tonight, so I have to get going. Since I know they are just trying to egg me on, I don't take the bait and I turn the tables on them, hopefully giving them something to think about.
4. Whenever I have plans to go out to dinner with a mutual friend, the other one says, "Is there going to be alcohol there?" If I say yes, she gives me one of her annoying pep talks, so I've learned to say, No, they don't serve alcohol at this restaurant.
5. I have a coworker who is constantly researching makeover services, plastic surgery, the latest exercise program, or the newest fountain of youth supplement. She runs up to my desk with her notes and says, "Now this will make you look so much younger." It took me a long time to learn to love myself and those little stunts can take me right back to when I first started drinking. So I tell her, Do you realize how expensive that will be? I can't afford to do that.
6. There are several kind, thoughtful people in the world who become completely insensitive during the holidays. "What do you mean you are not going to Jan's Christmas party?" My solution is to say, I know, I hate missing it, but we've had these reservations for six months.
These are some of many examples when telling a white lie can spare you and others much frustration. Just be sure to choose your little lies sparingly - You will have to remember them!
The Anaheim Lighthouse is a modern and effective addiction treatment center in Southern California. To talk to us about addiction treatment programs at our affordable drug and alcohol rehab that fit your needs, call (844) 494-4939.