Uncover to Recover

This may seem to be a very basic message, but if something is bothering you, it’s generally a good idea to talk about it. If you have an issue that is causing you to be unhappy in some way, it's important to tell somebody what's going on. If you have a secret that you are too ashamed to discuss with anyone, guess what? That is exactly what you need to talk about!

There is an old saying in 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous that "you're only as sick as your secrets." This doesn't mean that you should share the most embarrassing details of your life to everyone you know. But if there isn’t at least one person who knows the most painful details of your life story then you will remain alone with a type of pain that is often a source of deep shame. And just like a dangerous neighborhood that's a bad place to be by yourself!

I've often written about what I term "therapeutic distinctions", pairs of concepts that seem similar but which actually contain important differences that often have profound implications. One such pairing involves the difference between secrecy and privacy. We all have a right to keep certain information private. But if you are trying to achieve personal healing and growth in your life it's crucial to have someone who can hold safe space for you, hear and accept your story without judgement and offer you some insight and guidance so that you can finally be free from the crushing weight of secrecy and shame.

So if you want to recover, it’s time to uncover! Don't keep the really important stufff hidden away from others. The more you feel like you can't share with anyone, the harder it is to live a life of emotional freedom and happiness. You will almost always find that sharing your secrets with a trustworthy person leads to greater strength, hope, relief, self-compassion and joy.

In my Atlanta counseling and psychotherapy practice I have had the privilege of hearing stories from people that have trusted me to help them live happier and healthier lives.  I remain inspired by the courage of these people, and I have great compassion for people struggling to open up and get real about what is happening for them.  If you don't get help from me then I hope you get it from someone.  Bring your secrets out of the shadows into the light and you will likely find your life changing for the better.


Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT is a an Atlanta counselor and psychotherapist who works with adult individuals and couples to help them live healthier, happier lives.  He offers specialized services to folks who are struggling with sexual behavior that conflicts with their commitments, values and/or self-control.