Today, a brief message for you on honesty and why you are off to a great start when you are honest with yourself.
I decided to forego my usual attempt at teaching to write you a letter. I wanted to tell you that your honesty is a great start even if you have not yet made a second step towards change. Addiction, mental illness, disability, chronic pain, and trauma all take away pieces of our spirit. These problems make it difficult to focus some days and they completely take the wind from our sails other days. Sometimes the treatment can be just as painful. Let’s not fool ourselves and pretend that therapy, be it mental or physical, is an easy and magical process where every day we climb a mountain, reach the peak, and have nonstop “ah-ha” moments. Therapy is difficult because at the core of the process we are working through something painful and we will almost invariably feel more pain before relief. Even pain of the mind follows the pattern of surgery in which we have damage and we open up to fix a muscle or bone only to find out it hurts even more after the operation. Fortunately after the first shock we can get better.
But no matter the malady there must be honesty. It sounds shocking to say this out loud, but being honest with others is rather easy, We can answers our yeses and no’s effortlessly if we give ourselves the opportunity and allowance. The real challenge is being honest with ourselves. The paradox is that the harder the problem, the more difficult it is to be honest and yet the harder the problem, the more we need that honesty. The most classic Alcoholics Anonymous line starts in step one when we admit that there is a power over us and that it has made our lives unmanageable. It’s the simplest statement in the world and yet it is profoundly difficult to say it.
Because to say it to ourselves is admitting that something is wrong. And yet there is so much more power that the admittance. To say it to ourselves is to relieve ourselves of denial and face the reality of our pain. Once we are truly honest with ourselves, the healing can begin, but not before more pain. When we admit we are addicts we face the difficult decision of whether or not to enact change. When we admit we are more emotionally hurt that we originally believed, we have to face the pain and uncover things we previously left covered. When we admit to being a chronic pain patient, we face the daunting task of physical relief that can take years and still have little effect.
However, none of this letter is meant to turn you away from the healing professions. In fact, as grim as it seems this letter aims to be empowering. Here is why…
When you are honest with yourselves and can truly say that a change is needed, you have taken a powerful and courageous step. You must applaud yourself for doing what many are not ready to do. You decided to face fear and challenge yourself to get better. No matter how many clients I receive, I always applaud them for taking an exceptionally difficult step to recovery. Today I applaud you. I applaud you for being honest in the face of intensity. I applaud you for the focus and guts it takes to admit that something is wrong. It does not mean you are weak. Nor does it mean you are damaged goods. It simply means you are a human who is suffering and deserves infinite empathy, compassion, and caring.
And if you have not yet made it to full honesty do not fret or think that this letter means you are lesser than those who have. It simply means you are a human who is so wrapped up that you are not yet ready to face the monumental task. You are still deserving of infinite empathy, compassion, and caring.
So if you have made it to the point where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, please let yourself be honest and when you do, give us professionals a call and allow us take some of that load of your aching back.
With much regard and love,
Daniel Giers (your local therapist and fellow sufferer)