Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rigorous Truth

Rigorous truth.

I came across this phrase randomly and it resonated with me.

I was watching "Top Five" on Tuesday night, a movie written by and starring Chris Rock. His character is a recovering alcoholic and he refers to the AA  guideline of rigorous truth.

The concept of truth fascinates me.

John Mellencamp, in his song "Coming Down The Road", writes the following (I have selected the lines that capture my attention): "Well I heard the truth call my name, and I followed that voice to the valley below, and it took me down a path where I was lost all the time, I found some truth but it could never be mine."

I love that last line because I don't understand it.

Shouldn't truth be a good thing no matter where you find it? Shouldn't any truth become your truth? How can the truth get you lost?

I often wonder how much time each of us spends in truth. Generically, I would have to say not enough. We are not truthful with ourselves, we are not truthful with the people we deal with every day.

In fact I would go so far as to say that lying is a major component to psychological survival, even though it comes from weakness.

That is why we love and are drawn to bluntly outspoken people, people who speak their minds in strength and without reservation; people who are not afraid of what others will think.

Truth is one of those concepts that should be so simple, along with the idea of living your life in strict accordance to who you are.

But we don't do these things; we don't live in truth and our lives are often a lie.

That's because it takes guts to do either.

I just did a little AA research and discovered that truth is a really big deal.

"No addiction without lies, no recovery without truth." Sounds simple but that is heavy duty stuff.

To survive as an addict you have to lie to yourself and to everyone else. To recover you have to be brutally honest with yourself and others.

Honesty seems like a delicate philosophy and yet it is the powerful driver behind recovery from addiction.

As I read statements from addicts in recovery it was a common theme that they had to learn how to tell the truth. That lying was so natural, truth became a foreign concept.

They also have to learn how to use shades of truth, or how to use truth properly. How to use truth in a way that is not self destructive and not hurtful to others.

One addict told a story of listening to a speaker at a meeting describe the use of heroin so graphically that it made the addict want to get high. His sponsor was sitting right next to him, asked if the guy was OK and he said Yes; yes because he was afraid to admit that he wasn't.

The addict went out that night trolling for drugs but called his sponsor instead who came out and talked him down.

He could have avoided the whole episode by telling the truth at the meeting.

I cannot tell you how many times I have lied about being all right, about loving my new job, about feeling good about myself, about my feelings towards others.

You have too.

Why is truth so hard? What are we afraid of?

Truth is a rock solid concept, it is a real thing carrying with it the potential for real results, maybe even offering the beauty of freedom.

Freedom from the self imposed prison of our own lives.

I am going to have to give this truth thing more thought.

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