Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rigorous Honesty

What does Rigorous Honesty mean to you?

Yesterday a sponsee called with a problem. She did something she wasn't supposed to do. She asked me if she had to tell her boss. I urged her to pray for God's guidance and the strength to carry it out. I did tell her that I thought she probably needed to come clean with her boss, even though she may lose her job, because the path to dishonesty is one of small incremental dishonesty. Lies of omission. Just tweaking the truth. Telling a "white" lie. Just telling a little lie. Then telling a bigger lie. Then because you got away with the lie, telling more lies. And then needing a little drink because you feel so bad about yourself.

I remember when I was in my first year of sobriety, I worked at a large insurance brokerage firm. I worked in "small accounts." They were mostly lawyers. I had to call a lawyer one Friday afternoon and tell him that I had made a huge mistake on his policy, and it had pretty serious consequences for him. He told me that he appreciated my honesty, but what the hell was I going to do about it? He was not nice. I went to a meeting that night and told my group that this 'rigorous honesty' crap was a bunch of nonsense. It didn't work in the real world. You couldn't go around admitting you were wrong in business - especially with lawyers!

I got the problem with his account worked out in the next week. And about a week later, the CEO of the company brought me a copy of a letter the lawyer had written to him. He wrote a letter to the CEO about how wonderful I was! He appreciated my honesty and my work to get my error straightened out! I took the letter and made a reduced size copy, until it was about the size of a business card, I laminated it, and put it in my wallet. I carried that thing around with me for years as a reminder that rigorous honesty does work in the real world!

The price of dishonesty is too high for alcoholics. People at work are sometimes dismayed at the fact that I will admit when I am wrong. I will even take my share of responsibility when others are wrong. It has lately not served me well. I don't care. The price of doing otherwise is my life.

What does rigorous honestly mean to you?

16 comments:

Scott W said...

Pretty much what you just said. The 'rigorous' part is what I often have to really look at, because I want to soften the edges a bit.

Then there is just being quiet about something, and that is a dishonesty that I REALLY have to look at.

dAAve said...

Very well written.
I would echo what Scott wrote. The operative word here (for me) is RIGOROUS.

Syd said...

It means to come clean no matter the consequences to myself. It means that I take Steps 9 and 10 seriously and make them a part of how I live my life.

Zane-nawwaa said...

A very good piece to be taken seriously. Thanks for the riminder of living with RIGOROUS honesty.

Kathy Lynne said...

I guess to me it means being rigorously honest mostly with myself and by doing so I can be honest with others. But on the same token, if I need a day off, I have to pretend to be sick. I won't get them otherwise. Funny you should ask this question today.

Banana Girl said...

It does not mean honesty at any price, especially if I cause harm to someone else. But it does mean owning my stuff and the consequences of my stuff and I can't be that way without God's complete guidance in all things. I must do unto others as I woud have them do unto me and I must base all my actions and reactions in love and tolerance. For I am truly as sick as my secrets (lies) and I must not let them wallpaper my existence and cloud my judgment which would otherwise lead me to play and think and act God's part in my life. So I have to keep doing Step one, two and three every morning. The frame of my world. And then the rest of the steps throughout the day. Thank you God for the steps and these very special people who blog who remind me how to do this every day.

dirtydishes said...

For me it means telling the truth and admitting when I am wrong. I am working on the part where I can be truly honest about my feelings, as far expressing myself when I have been hurt, or angry. Also learning to be honest with myself. I made a mistake at work today and owned up to it. Someone could have been hurt because of my mistake, when I apologized to the guy and told I am glad he did not get hurt and I will be more careful, he seemed real uncomfortable about it. I felt better though! And sponsee's and honesty. Oh boy!

Fred said...

Great share.
I have been hurt by beeing honest, I have seen others hurt by being honest, I have hurt other when being honest - until I learn't 2 things;
1-The Serenity prayer tells me to seek the 'Wisdom to know the difference' when I am making amends and to make amends
2-'except when to do so would injure others'.
I consider myself an 'other'.
Since taking this course I write down my wrongs and just talk to my Higher Power and Sponsor.

Pam said...

rigorous honesty is scary, lots of times doing the right thing is scary. Walking thru that though is amazing!
Good post today sugar booger

Shalisha said...

Hi. I need to come clean to my sponsor about picking up. I've been lying. I think because it's the food and it's only a "technical" that it's okay. I'm terrified of facing my community and admitting that I am back on day one. I'm a legend in my own mind but I hate who I am with this facade. Help me?

blessed said...

To thine own self be true,when Im not being honest about my sobriety Im truly only hurting me.When Im not honest about other things Im not only hurting others,myself but God as well............

Shalisha said...

You can't hurt god.

Anonymous said...

I am Andy and I am alcoholic. Please read the 12 Traditions, you are not supposed to be open about being in AA at the level of press.

You say you are in AA, and a person who hates you delays their progress. Please take down this blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey Fred, If you are "others", then who are you? May I suggest a dictionary

Anonymous said...

After my steps I was anxious to "fess all". My sponsor asked if doing so might affect my job and consequently my children, or if it would HARM my "reputation". I said yes and he said I was an "OTHER" as were my children and not to do anything that would HARM me or them. The point is that I was more than WILLING! Thank God he cleared it up for me! I would never suggest a sponsee put themselves in HARMS way. Starling

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this blog today.
I am fighting with myself about rigorous honesty, today. Something, I never thought I had a problem with. I even created something all about honesty and lies, as if I were an expert...and now I see I was, just on the wrong side of the debate.
Recently, I confessed to my husband the things that I had been doing without his knowing. I told him, I wanted a 100% honest relationship...and yet, I can count, all ready, the lies that I have told him, just hoping that he'll see me in a better light. I CAN NOT DO THAT. It is dangerous for me, and for HIM. He needs to know exactly what the truth is about me, at ALL times, so that he can then make an honest decision about his own actions. Today, I am only grateful that I do not have to do this any more. It is all I have right now. He, who is so wonderful, said that we can go through therapy and I am starting therapy. He is willing to work on this, because he knows that I am more than just the sum of my parts...but I still may very well lose the ONLY man in that I have ever loved with my entire self.
But, we have today. Let me keep it honest, that I might have hope for tomorrow.