Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Secrets make us sick

"You're only as sick as your secrets
The things you keep inside
The stories so awful, so hurtful ~ YOU think
The ones you choose to hide
The feelings you wall off and keep at bay
The past you regret each and every day
The memories you wish would never be
The stuff you hope no one ever sees
You're only as sick as your secrets
The longer you hide them you'll find
They'll rob you of joy and sanity
They'll drive you right out of your mind
They'll keep you from living life to the full
They'll tug at your heart, push and pull
You apart ~ like a puzzle, piece by piece"

I have heard that we're only as sick as our secrets. I've been wondering about what secrets have done in my life. I know that I tried to keep a secret about my father's drinking when I was younger. And in my marriage I did what I could to keep it a secret that my wife drank and that we had problems in our marriage. For some illogical ego-driven reason, I wanted us to be the "perfect" couple.

I can remember that when we first moved to our current jobs many years ago, I thought that this would be a chance to have a "new" life. We could "start" over. Now I know that the geographic cure only is temporary and that wherever I go, I bring myself.

I felt a tremendous safeness when I did my fifth step. It was the first time that I had unburdened and loosened up all the secrets. I realize that every day I can speak truth because when I believed Step Two, I believed that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. I have had to come to the realization yet again that sanity for me means that I let others think and do whatever they need to think and do. It's none of my business.

I never let anyone do anything to me that I wasn't complicit about. I went along with the program. I let the alcoholics hurt me, take my self esteem lower, leave my mind in turmoil. That was done with all my cooperation.

I know and do believe that living a spiritual life is necessary for me to regain my self. Honesty is a huge part of this program. Being honest is not an easy thing to do sometimes, it can be frightening, and sometimes painful. But without it I will not only hurt those I care about but will hurt myself worse. When I chose to do the steps, I looked forward to getting rid of secrets and to break the logjam in my head that told me to keep things to myself.

But what do I do when others in my life decide that they want to hold onto their secrets? I suppose that the fairy tales that I read have led me to believe that if I share my innermost thoughts to another, then they would do the same with me. The secrets are really a barrier that prevents closeness, enhances inadequacy, and keeps me selfish.

My own self-disclosure was humbling. But just as I am powerless over alcoholism, reality is that even those closest to me don't have to tell me their secrets just because I want them to.

There are people that I love who have left a mark on me that hasn't gone away. They have provided a mirror on my own being so that when I looked in their eyes I found parts of myself. And then there are those who I haven't seemed to connect with or engage my being with no matter how much I stayed open or made them feel safe. And now I wonder what they needed and if they will ever find it anywhere. I think that those are the people with whom I only received a tiny piece of their being and will look back and wonder what if they had given more.

What I do know is that we aren't so different from each other. It's just that somewhere one person is willing to step up at a crucial moment and break the silence, share the secrets, and become whole. I don't want to be the one alone who suffers in silence.

I still think that my relationship would become more open if others were willing to share their painful secrets. I now know that secrets have kept me sick for a long time. Being willing to listen, share and be well is a better option.

. . in silence might be the privilege of the strong, but it was certainly a danger to the weak. For the things I was prompted to keep silent about were nearly always the things I was ashamed of, which would have been far better aired . . .
—Joanna Field


  1. Phew. Strong post. And I happen to agree. Honesty is vital to survival, with us all.

    Hope your well ~Sarah

  2. amen. i try to play my life above board with most people i meet...only wary of those looking to gain from others pain....

  3. I've come to be careful who I share with and sometimes I just have to accept others are going to feel that way about me with their secrets.
    It only stands to reason humans store secrets - they are personal.
    At some point,even if someone does not tell another ; that at least they will let the secret go in a way that will no longer make them sick.

    This was a deep share tonight.
    I appreciate your sharing Syd,
    as always.xo

  4. Great post Syd. I don't want to be one that suffers in silence either.

  5. It just never stops, does it?

  6. The title says it all dear friend. Those same secrets almost killed me in abusive relationships, in so many areas of my life.

    There is a freeing of the soul when we release the burden of the secret, vomiting the sickness out so we can be well. (Hugs)Indigo

  7. My secrets ate me alive from the inside out - I had to tell them in order to be able to see myself clearly. Some folks just can't do it - can't reach a place of trusting their Higher Power to keep them safe. It's sad, and it's lonely.

  8. Thanks Syd. I am glad there is support for secrets in Alanon. Some of my inner life is for my sponsor.
    We are only as sick as our secrets.

  9. I tend to tell people too much. I'm too open. (Like you don't know this from reading my blog. Laugh.)

  10. I can err on both sides too.

    Sometimes I try to hold on too tight, sometimes I let go a little too much. Glad I have an awesome spiritual mentor (sponsor) to help me know the difference, along with that spidey sense feeling that comes in prayer.

    Does it need to be said,
    Does it need to be said by me
    Does it need to be said by me now

  11. Growing up with secrets was a part of my being from then on. Horrible to have to hide the uglies.

  12. Here's to becoming WHOLE! Secrets=slow death. Truth=Life! Here's to LIFE in recovery....
    "The first step towards holiness is to know oneself"
    ~St Teresa of Avila

  13. Wanting things to be different than they are right now takes me to my darkest places.

    I have found that only I can make myself crazy. It is my own thoughts about a situation that causes me pain.

    Sometimes you just have to go there and come back when your ready.

  14. oh boy, where to start and where to begin...


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