Sunday, June 17, 2012


As I talk to people in recovery, I've learned that the newer they are in recovery, the more trouble they have revealing who they really are.  They often believe that the secrets they're holding on to are worse than anyone else's and that if anyone ever knew, they would be shunned by the world.  I think the word for this is shame because when they finally get around to telling somebody so that they don't have to carry the weight of those secrets around, they find that a lot of them are exactly the same as a lot of people's secrets and just evidence that they are imperfect humans.  

Of course, there are other secrets they have that involve hurting other people and violating their own values.  But that's guilt.  The only remedy for that is to do whatever they can to right the wrong.  A simple apology is not enough.  Many people have to go to extreme lengths to right the wrong.  I knew a guy who paid back money he owed and it took him over twenty years to get it done.  Another man served time in prison for a crime he confessed to after he got into recovery. 

In either case, when we tell the truth about ourselves to ourselves, to God and to another person and do everything we can to right any wrongs we've done, we are free.  Nothing feels like that freedom - to be who we are.  The saddest thing in the world is those that stay stuck in their shame because of mistakes they've made that cause them to greatly fear being judged, when the mistakes are just those of a normal human being.  The only way we can find that out, though, is to tell the truth.

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