LETTING THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG
“Do I need to tell anyone?”
Which is closely followed by the second question, “If so, who do I tell?”
These are both very scary questions for anyone to face because you are shedding light on the one thing that you have been keeping secret for weeks, months, years, or even decades.
Yet despite the fears surrounding confession we are faced with the undeniable truth that confession is a prerequisite for restoration and eventual freedom.
Let me say that again differently...
This principle is not only Biblical, but it is a staple for all recovery programs including traditional 12-step approaches.
Simply put, how are you going to effectively deal with a secret addiction, or an affair for that matter, if you continue to keep it secret?
Confession to God (for the Christian especially), confession to a spouse, confession to a friend, and confession to your recovery group partners (if applicable) are all things one must eventually engage in if they want to move past dependency and on to lasting freedom.
Of course, now that I answered the first question, what about the second one…
“Who do I tell?”
More importantly, “Do I have to tell everybody and when?”
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These matters are a little more difficult to address but I’d like to give you three principles to keep in mind when making these decisions.
This is where some wisdom comes into play. Not everyone needs to know about your issue.
Of course, there is something to be said about transparency but open confession is best done between you and those closest to you, those who aren’t looking to condemn but rather challenge and encourage you.
Again, this is both biblical and a cornerstone of traditional recovery models. Simply put, if you want to get past your failures you need to seek forgiveness from those you failed so you can then move on to forgiving yourself.
The stress and anxiety of unconfessed wrongs will chew you up over time and prove to be a constant source of shame which is the enemy of recovery.
It may come at the cost of a relationship or two.
There will most likely be some tears shed.
However, you need to take comfort in the fact that you did the right thing by seeking forgiveness and leave the consequences to God.
Maybe you just need to start with a solid accountability partner before you tell your spouse. Perhaps you want to talk to your spouse before joining a recovery group. The bottom line is that each person’s situation is different, and sometimes we can plow ahead with our desire to clear the conscious without any regard for the emotional state of others.
Now that doesn’t mean you use that as an excuse to keep your mouth shut. However, use wisdom and be prayerful about these matters.
When it comes to timing, be sensitive to others and the voice of God.
There is one question I didn’t cover …
“What if I can’t find a solid accountability partner to confess my issues to?”
That’s a good question and a very common one. That being said, I would tell you:
1) There is probably someone in your life already that you can talk to, you just need to ask and…
Both of these resources are ideal for both a) individuals in need of strong accountability without any other options available, and b) those who want an extra level of accountability, motivation, and support in addition to what they already have.
Whoever you choose or whatever route you go just know that recovery starts at confession.
Time to let that cat out … he’s getting hot in that bag already.
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