What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told?
Mine would have to be the mysterious and elusive ‘Marty’.
Marty was a ‘boyfriend’ I ‘had’.
He lived in ‘America’, wore beanies and liked old cars. I was thirteen, he was ‘fifteen’ and we had a deep, long distance ‘love connection’ (did anyone actually believe me?!)
Lying your way through recovery
Lying comes naturally to humans. In terms of accountability, it’s likely you’ve twisted the truth there, too.
Maybe you haven’t produced a whopper like The Marty Illusion, but it happens in quiet and deceptive ways. Can you identify with any of the following habits?
The Rotating Accountability Partner
Having an ‘accountability team’ is wise. You may have partners for different areas of recovery, and it’s great to have a network of support.
Things can go awry though. A common scenario is to alternate confessions between partners, giving the impression you are doing well, and have less to confess.
I have two accountability partners, and a third friend who is available for support when necessary. I have certainly been deceptive in these relationships at times, strategically selecting who to confess to in times of shame.
Here’s a scenario for you: I had used porn, and confessed to my accountability partner. The conversation went like this:
‘Have you looked at porn this week?’
‘It wasn’t a very good week, I struggled with some stuff, it’s just pictures and that now’
Kudos to me for confessing, but, I was downplaying. The response should have been- ‘yes. I looked at porn’. Whatever the justification, downplaying isn’t owning your struggles.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it. Usually when the question is vague.
“Hey, how are you going with ‘stuff’?’
Perhaps you’ve done it more blatantly.
Avoiding the conversation completely
By intentionally skipping accountability, you are lying.
When you started the journey, you committed to confessing every set-back (Or, you should have!).
Silence says ‘I haven’t looked at porn’. This is the easy option when The Fade settles in. This is something I am far too guilty of.
If you’ve lied, sugar coated, downplayed or avoided confessions, do not be ashamed. Do not be defeated. Do not feel guilted or accused.
Everyone in recovery has done it.
Why? Because accountability sucks. It asks the utmost vulnerability of a woman who already has deep pains from intimacy. It involves risk and trust.
You are not a bad person for avoiding the truth. But, in order to heal you will need to come clean.
Here are three ways to get started:
1. Choose freedom
Chances are, you’re feeling equally pleased and conflicted about avoiding those awkward conversations.
The choice is yours. You have support, software and accountability but ultimately you are responsible for your recovery.
Every time you confess, your chances of recovery increase.
Confession is a reality check. It is a chance to start again.
Do you choose freedom?
The embarrassment of confession is far outweighed by the joy of transparency and healing.
It is important not only to confess from now-on, but to be real about the fact you have lied.
Yes, your partner might be disappointed or shocked. It may bring up feelings of betrayal, conflict and guilt within you.
But, the gracious accountability partner will burst with respect when you show the courage to be honest about when you haven’t been honest. Those who are godly and wise will see the strength it took to be real when you could have gotten away with the lie.
3. Reevaluate your accountability
If you are evading honesty, and making choices based on shame, it’s time to reevaluate your partner, your system and yourself.
If your accountability partner is judging, abusing, not meeting expectations or stunting your transparency due to harsh reactions, communicate this to them. If nothing changes, find someone new.
Perhaps there is a flaw in your system. You may need more direct questions, a daily accountability tracker or maybe something less rigid. Again, communicate with your partner and make it a safe place.
However, you might have perfect accountability. The issue could be you. And at this point, you need to ask yourself ‘Do I really want to get better? What is holding me back?’.
Lying about set-backs comes in many different forms…and it comes easily. If you’ve got a back-log of twisted confessions, or you’ve recently hidden the truth, today is the day to make change. Decide within yourself that it’s worth it, share honestly with your partner and reevaluate your game-plan. Make the changes you need to recover.
Above all else though, confession is a chance to reach out to Jesus. Confess your struggles to the Lord as well as your on-the-ground accountability partner. Lying to your partner is really lying to yourself…and God.
Remember what the author of James says, ‘Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective’ (5:16).
Happy confessions x