Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 28:13
I’m sure there are those who boast about their addictions, but most of us prefer to keep our dark struggles in the dark. We hide the things that control us, and we fear what would happen if everyone knew. What if others saw who I really am? In our addictions, we become professional liars, as we would do anything to protect our sickest secrets. Honesty is a profound problem for the addict.
In my drug use, I even lied to myself. This is the last time. I’ll stop using after this, so I don’t need to tell anyone or get help. Every time I used, I promised myself it was the last time. Then, I would pray to God – again and again – asking for miraculous deliverance. God, please help me quit! Of course, he told me to confess and go to treatment, but I couldn’t possibly do that. I had to keep my secret hidden. If anyone ever asked what was wrong, I lied. I’m fine. No drug use here!
As long as I kept up the secret, I didn’t have to deal with my mess. I could continue using and lying to myself about quitting. To find recovery, my addiction had to be dragged, kicking and screaming into the daylight. Confession didn’t mean I instantly changed, but to begin to find recovery, I had to start with the first step of confessing. I couldn’t start to heal until I was willing to be honest about what was making me sick.
This does not mean that those with pornography, alcohol, money, gambling, or anger addictions must stand in front of church and detail their struggles. It does mean that if we desire transformation, we must find some trusted friends in whom we can confide. When we hide our destructive secrets, we remain in them. When we confess and meet with others who understand, we work together to stop the lies so we may abandon ourselves to pursue God.