American founding figure Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “Honesty is the best policy.” His fellow founder Thomas Jefferson held honesty in high esteem as well. According to Jefferson, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”
Most of us would certainly agree with Franklin and Jefferson, but that does not mean that it is always easy to be honest—with others or with ourselves.
That might be especially true when dealing with a substance use disorder, a mental health disorder, or both. For a variety of reasons, a person might be tempted to be less than honest about their struggles. But as a rule, that dishonesty only serves to make a problem with drugs or alcohol or mental health worse rather than better.
Let’s look at some specific examples of when honesty about what you are facing is a far better idea than attempting to keep the truth under wraps.
You Need to be Honest with Your Employer
All of us hope that our supervisor is impressed—or at least satisfied—with our work. We try to hit our deadlines, find solutions to problems, and collaborate well with our coworkers. We try to nip any issues in the bud before they attract the boss’s attention. Nobody wants to be the person who has to go to their supervisor to explain a problem or a mistake.
Similarly, it can be very tempting to try to avoid having to tell your employer about a substance use or mental health disorder. You do not want the boss to think less of you—or to think that you are not up to doing your job.
But if you try to hide your difficulties from your employer, odds are you will not be able to for long. Your productivity, attitude, and workplace relationships will all begin to suffer. And soon enough, you may find yourself in trouble—the kind of trouble that can lead to losing your job entirely.
You can avoid that outcome if you are honest with your boss about your substance use or mental health issues. That might involve reviewing your company’s policies and putting together a plan that includes getting treatment. Once you are fully prepared, you can have a productive conversation with your employer.
You Need to be Honest with Your Loved Ones
If you are struggling with substances or with a mental health disorder, it is likely that those closest to you already know—or strongly suspect—that something is up with you. And because these are people who care about you, it does not make a lot of sense to try to keep your difficulties a secret or to deny the situation when you are confronted.
Still, lots of people do just that because they are embarrassed or worried about letting their loved ones down.
It is important to remember that your closest friends and family members have seen you through a lot of ups and downs over the years. You have probably done the same for them. Now is a time to lean into those relationships, sharing honestly what you are going through and how your loved ones might help you get through it. After all, a strong support network is a key part of staying sober and protecting your mental well-being.
You Need to Be Honest with Yourself
Maybe you have been trying to convince yourself that your problem is not really a problem at all.
You might be telling yourself that your drinking is under control or your depression is just a bit of lingering sadness or that you could give up the drugs but simply don’t want to.
Deep down, however, you probably know the truth. And allowing yourself to face that truth is the first step toward getting the help you need. Your best move is to be honest with yourself sooner rather than later so that you can get treated—and get your life back on track.
Honestly, We Can Help
Here’s some honesty for you: Wooded Glen Recovery Center in Henryville, Indiana, can help you regain your sobriety and improve your mental health. Our programs are built around expertise, empathy, and experience—and we know how intertwined mental health and substance use disorders can be.
It can be hard to face up to reality when it involves drugs, alcohol, and/or mental health difficulties. But honesty really is the best policy—and treatment provides the path back to sobriety and mental wellness.