“You are only as sick as your secrets.” I’ve been writing a lot about this simple recovery concept because of the damage I’ve seen as a result of secrets. It’s so easy to view people who make bad, maybe even “evil” choices, and find a way in our own minds to demonize the person. Maybe it makes us feel safer, makes us feel that it’s less likely to happen to us, if we can make people who make such life-altering, tragic choices into someone who is abnormal. I don’t think the Gospel makes it possible for us to ever view ourselves as more normal than anyone else. I also think that when we stop and look at what’s really going on in the heads and hearts of people who do very sad and destructive things, we might be terrified to recognize ourselves.
Here’s what I mean. I know that the people I buried this summer honestly, and sincerely, tried on their own to fix their situation. One tried, on their own, to deal with their depression. The other tried, on their own, to deal with their addiction. They were very capable people in every other way. “Why bother other people who have their own bigger problems? I’ll just quietly put this all away on my own” is what they told themselves. They started with the best of intentions to try to clean up their mess on their own, but the key phrase is – on their own. Not one of us can clean up any of our darkest messes, no matter how sincerely we want to put it all away, without the help of many others who can help us in our weakness. Life lesson – if you’re sincerely trying to take care of it on your own, stop what you’re doing and tell your whole entire story to someone and reach out for help. You simply cannot fix it alone!
When we are sick with a secret we always have to expand the scope of our help beyond what feels comfortable to us. What feels comfortable to us can actually keep us from experiencing life, and could end up killing us. No matter how capable you are, and sincerely interested you are in trying to fix the mess you have made, you have to expand the scope of help you receive in order to escape the full brunt of what your secret is doing to you.
It is not without help that we escape the sickness of our secrets!