In 12 Steps: Sharing is the key to our success.

Sharing in 12 Step Meetings

We all bring secrets into recovery, but we can’t throw our garbage into the proverbial closet and leave it there indefinitely. After a while it starts to seep under the door and stink up the whole house. That’s why we have the 4th and 5th of our twelve steps:

Steps 4 and 5 of the twelve steps of Alcoholic Anonymous.

Those steps, shared with a sponsor or other trusted person, help us come to terms with our past. Getting our secrets out in the open gives us the willingness and ability to move beyond that part of our lives.

Repeating the 4th and 5th Steps, Again.

But cleaning up this “wreckage of the past” has to be thorough. Sometimes we aren’t able to get it all on paper or out of our mouths the first time. That’s why serious recovering people usually find themselves doing two, three, or even more 4th and 5th Steps, and it’s why we “continued to take personal inventory” as outlined in Step Ten. As our sobriety develops, more things become apparent that we need to let go, and as our trust in the program grows, so does our willingness to do the work.

Step 10 of the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Discovering Emotional Cancers in Therapy

So we work the steps, and then we’re “happy, joyous and free.” Right? Well, the secrets of the past aren’t our only issues. Things crop up in recovery as well, and if we don’t talk about them, they can become little cancers that eat at our sobriety.

The pressures of life without our chemical crutches may cause us to veer off the path into other unhealthy behavior.Keeping Secrets: 12 Step

How many little secrets are we keeping today? The pressures of life without our chemical crutches may cause us to veer off the path into other unhealthy behavior. Excessive exercise, preoccupation with the attractive gender, gambling and a variety of other things may creep in. These things may help us cope by distracting us from the problems in our lives, but they can rapidly become problems in their own right. We need to stay on top of our behavior in order to be sure that we continue to move in the right direction.

We Are As Sick As Our Secrets : 12 Steps

Recovery is reprogramming. We overlay our old, unhealthy way of life with newly-learned skills. Over time, with practice, the new takes the place of the old and we sort of become sober out of habit. Keeping tabs on our secrets, those things that we don’t share with our supports, is keeping track of our recovery’s health, as well. “We’re as sick as our secrets” is one of the most important things we’ll ever learn in recovery.

So how bad are a couple little secrets? We need to take a look. Is the occasional hit of grass, the stops at the local bar for a soft drink and a couple games of pool with our old buddies, keeping that prescription for pain pills in the back of the desk drawer in case we suddenly catch a jolt of major pain, or the money we dropped at the track—are these the sorts of things we’re keeping secret in our sobriety?

One Sincere Option: Sharing is the Key to Success in 12 Step!

If we’re reluctant to share what we did, are doing, or planning on doing, with someone whose sobriety we respect, that’s a big, neon clue we could be heading for dangerous ground. Maybe it’s time to take a small emotional risk and share that secret with our sponsor or other respected, recovering person. Sharing is truly the key to our success, and can be such a relief!

Comments

  1. I’ve heard it said several times before; when it comes to rehab, honesty really is the best policy. Not only does it makes you feel better about yourself (eventually!) but it also helps to break down a number of barriers. Firstly, your family and friends can start to see the changes in you; they see you confiding honestly in others and that’s a great thing. It also forces you to put your trust in other people, which is also a positive step. Lastly, if you’re being open and honest, it helps you to stay accountable for your actions and so reduces the chances of a “slip”.

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