Once you make the choice to go into recovery for heroin abuse, you’ll discover just how much work lies ahead of you. It’s not an easy decision. You may not realize it, but the people at your methadone program and many of those in your circle of family and friends will admire and respect your determination to change.
So now is the time to turn your thoughts inward and look deep into yourself. Why have you decided to quit using heroin, pain pills, or whatever drug is your poison of choice? You won’t succeed—you can’t succeed—until you are ready to quit. And that starts with your secrets.
We’ve All Been There
There isn’t an addict among us who got to his deepest, darkest place without keeping some secrets. The secrets are the emotional equivalent of lies. You might think that your secrets mean you’re lying to your loved ones, but keeping secrets is a telling measure of how much you are lying to yourself.
The secrets start when you first start abusing opiates. You don’t tell anybody that you’ve been chasin’ the dragon or snatching your dad’s pain pills to get high. Those are lies, but they are also secrets, and they speak to the kind of person you’re judged to be.
Many other people simply lie to cover up their use and abuse of heroin or pain pills. You have to admit, when you show up at a family party, the purses and wallets disappear—people don’t want you anywhere near their valuables.
But there are other kinds of secrets. Maybe you grew up in a household with horrible parents who had their own addiction problems. Maybe you find yourself in one relationship after another in which you are beaten, lied to, or otherwise abused. Those kinds of terrible truths keep you awake if you’re not high, because you can’t stop thinking about why you can’t stop those problems.
The worst secrets, of course, involve the horrible acts you’ve committed because of your heroin abuse, or because you did something awful while you were high on dope. It’s like that episode of Breaking Bad when Jessie tells his group that he’s the worst kind of person, and the group leader admits to everyone that he ran over his own child in the driveway. Let’s hope you’ve reached out for recovery before anything that bad happened to you.
Secrets about relapse will devastate you. If you have relapsed or you think you might, you can’t lie about it. Tell someone right away so they can help you get through it.
The Secrets of Heroin Abuse Make Your Life Hell
Even if your secrets aren’t so bad, you’ll never feel easy in your skin or like the way your face looks in the mirror each morning if you don’t give up your secrets. There’s a whole part of the AA and NA recovery mantra that deals with giving up secrets: It’s Step 5. You have to admit to God, to yourself, and to one other human being the exact nature of your wrongs.
If you’ve just started down your road to recovery, don’t sweat it—it can take a year or two to get to Step 5. But you have to recognize the collateral damage that secrets inflict on your life and on your soul. You’re dealing with inner turmoil that develops when you aren’t being honest with the people you really care about—even if it’s just about your sponsor or your counselor here.
Ways to Overcome the Mistruths
For some people struggling with heroin abuse, it just becomes easier to spout whatever thoughts come to mind in order to avoid the hassle and cover your butt. It becomes habitual lying, and it isn’t limited to your habitual drug abuse. Once you recognize that your lying is out of control, you can take steps to change it, to think about what you say before you open your mouth. Your heroin abuse treatment counselor calls it cognitive behavior therapy, because you become aware of the negative behavior and work to correct it.
Healing Your Physical Self
Lying affects your total body wellness. A study done at the University of Indiana a couple years ago revealed that habitual liars or those keeping secrets experienced not just stress but increased incidents of flu or virus, sore throats, body aches, high blood pressure, diarrhea, and more.
For now, just work on thinking about what secrets you’ve been keeping and which ones you can share with your sponsor—or with at least one other person. You have to give up your secrets if you want to beat heroin abuse. It all starts with making that first call to get into treatment. You’ll meet a counselor at the methadone program who can help you come clean. Recovery treatment will help you deal with your trauma, your addiction—and your secrets.