The Many Faces of Addiction

The journey to healing and recovery

The Power of Secrets

Secrets are powerful because they can control you.

Secrets are powerful because they can control you. Very often, the problem with a secret is not the content of the secret itself, but what you must do to keep the secret information out of sight. In a family, it is the proverbial skeleton in the closet and everyone in the family is held responsible to remain on guard in case someone outside the family gets too near the closet door.

 
Whether secrets are passed down unbeknown to others or people actively collude to hide the information, it is fair to say that as a young child you had no choice in the matter; you were more or less coerced to keep the family secret. As an adult, you are now enforcing that secrecy on yourself. You may not be aware of it but you are the one making the choice to keep certain information away from prying eyes. The secret is just that - only information - and the choice is yours to tell it, to admit it, or to keep it hidden.

 
By admitting the reality of what is, you deflate the power of the secret. You can't drink away, exercise away, eat away, work away, or by any other effort rationalize away the power of the secret. The only way is to end denial, to admit, to open the closet door - that is the only way to get free.

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Claudia Black, M.S.W., Ph.D., works in the fields of addiction, codependency, and recovery.

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