There is a common saying in AA: We’re only as sick as our secrets. It’s strange that keeping a secret could have a big impact on your life. After all, what is keeping a secret besides neglecting to mention something? It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Unfortunately, keeping secrets is a big deal and it can affect your mental and physical health, as well as your recovery from addiction. Studies have shown that secrets affect everything from your cognitive ability, to your willpower, to your health. In one study, participants were asked not to reveal their sexual orientation or not mention a specific word during a short conversation. For most people, this would not be especially difficult. At the end of the conversation, the participants were asked to perform various tasks. Some of these tasks involved complex reasoning, some involved self-control, and some involved physical stamina. The participants who were asked to keep a secret didn’t perform as well as the participants who didn’t have to keep a secret. What’s more, they performed more poorly even if the topic of their secret never came up. The researchers theorized that the act of monitoring your speech to make sure the secret doesn’t slip out is demanding enough that it impairs other cognitive and physical abilities. When recovering from addiction, you need all the willpower and stamina you can get. Keeping secrets during recovery makes the process much harder. It’s understandable to want to keep secrets. Many people have done things they are ashamed of during active addiction. Those things are hard to talk about and sometimes you shouldn’t talk about them. However, it’s much better for you in the long run if you come to terms with those secrets. You may only want to tell a therapist or someone professionally bound to confidentiality, but you don’t want to carry secrets forever. They drag you down. Getting them into the open will relieve you of a huge burden and let you focus on recovering. What’s more, secrets keep you anchored in the past. You obsess about things that happened long ago simply because you have to make sure you don’t mention them. Often, these secrets are important, else you wouldn’t feel the need to keep them secret. Trying to recover while keeping secrets is like saying you want to resolve the issues driving your addiction without ever acknowledging some of those issues. It just can’t work. People are always terrified of revealing secrets, but they usually feel better when they do. Most of the time, your big horrible secret turns out to be not that big of a deal. Your therapist, your sponsor, or your group have almost certainly heard worse. This discovery is often a big step toward healing.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, we can help. Recovery Ways is a leading addiction treatment provider with an excellent recovery rate. Our expert staff includes masters and PhD level therapists and board certified addiction psychiatrists. Our comfortable facilities will help to make your treatment as enjoyable as possible and our therapists use proven techniques like sensory integration and recreation therapy to help to engage the world without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 1-888-986-7848 or email us through our contact page to learn more.