Recovery Starts With Honesty

Author: IAFF Staff

March 5, 2018

“Honesty is the best policy.”

“The truth will set you free.”

“Honesty is the first chapter of wisdom.”

You’re probably familiar with at least one of these idioms, but not everyone abides by them, especially when it comes to seeking treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Fire fighters and paramedics may not get help for addiction and mental illness because it’s difficult to know when they need it. Even if they admit they might need it, not everyone makes the decision to seek help. In many cases, the reason is denial. I don’t need help. I don’t have a problem. I’m not hungover; I’m just sick. My drug (or alcohol) use isn’t interfering with my life.

Have you made these excuses for yourself or someone else? Although no two struggles are exactly the same, in every case, recovery begins with honesty. Don’t let denial or any other lie stand in the way of getting the help you need.

Are You Being Honest?

What have you been telling yourself about your habits and lifestyle changes? Have you been completely truthful? If you can’t be honest with yourself, you’re probably not going to be sincere with anyone else.Take time to thoroughly evaluate your situation before coming to any conclusions. Consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?
  • Is it difficult to get out of bed and start the day?
  • Do you feel like you have no control over negative thoughts and memories?
  • Are you having nightmares or flashbacks?
  • Have your loved ones expressed concern about your activities or behaviors?
  • Are you keeping secrets from the people closest to you?
  • Do you drink to get drunk?
  • Do you feel like you have no control over your drinking?
  • Do you use drugs as a coping mechanism?
  • Do you need to take more of a medication than prescribed?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have a drug or alcohol problem. The good news? You’re now one step closer to recovery. There’s no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed. Once you reach a place of complete honesty, you can choose to share your struggles with someone you trust before seeking treatment. Or, you can call the IAFF Center of Excellence for help. The decision, and the people you involve, is entirely up to you.

You can’t solve a problem if you don’t think there is one. You can’t fix something if you don’t believe it’s broken. You can’t recover from a disorder if you don’t admit you have one. Recovery begins with honesty. When you can be candid with yourself and others, you can seek and receive professional treatment for addiction, mental illness, or both. If you’re ready to speak with someone about recovery, call the IAFF Center of Excellence to learn more about the available treatment options. Honesty can take you a long way.

We can help. Call 855-900-8437 or

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