New Blog Post: Rigorous Honesty


by Clint Hamm, Refuge Center Intern

“…a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.” from chapter 5, Alcoholics Anonymous

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

If you’ve spent any length of time with 12-step/recovery literature or meetings, you’ve likely come across the phrase, “rigorous honesty.” It seems simple enough: tell the truth, right? But I would contend that the practice of this virtue is among the more  difficult things to master in this life. It’s about more than answering truthfully when asked a question, and it suggests a subtler dimension than don’t cheat or don’t lie. Of course, these are hard enough, but “rigorous honesty” when you get down below the surface a bit points to our need to tell the unflinching truth about ourselves the good and the bad. If I can’t be honest about my shortcomings, my mistakes, my dark tendencies and thoughts, or, equally, my hopes, dreams, and desires, I cannot
expect to make progress toward greater mental, emotional, relational, or spiritual health.

HonestThere’s just no way to move without the traction of a deeply honest and sincere introspection. I’ll be honest for a minute: I find myself again today at a decisive fork in the road. One path points in the direction of rigorous honesty and the other toward the all-too-familiar way of denial and repression. I’m trying really hard to walk the honest way, but honestly it hurts! It’s excruciating. Facing myself my fears is among the hardest things I’ll ever do. For all of us, there’s more to our story; there’s more truth to discover as we get further down beneath the surface, where our hearts and souls live. May we find the strength and the courage to make this inward journey diving deep down to our own depths to bravely face whatever we may find there. Because it will be worth it in the end.

For help along the way, consider The Refuge Center. Call us at (615) 5915262, or visit our website at

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