In AA, we say we’re “only as sick as our secrets.” That is why a searching and fearless moral inventory is required of the alcoholic to get well. I have to bring to the surface all my ugly, deep-rooted guilt and shame. My anger, my resentments. What people say and do, it’s honestly none of my business. But it feels like it. When another person says something that infuriates me, I want to rip their head off. Sometimes I say, “You can’t really be that stupid?” in my mind, or outta my mouth. Sometimes I make it my business to judge another on his or her choices. “Are you really living your life like that?” Many days I ask, “Can we be this broke?” or “Why did I eat that whole pizza?” The more shameful secrets such as betrayal, unkind words, selfish “self run riot” behavior…are so deeply buried underground that a good sponsor and therapist must help me bring them into daylight. Yes. My proudest moments are reserved for this coffin of “secrets” that AA states must be exposed and then cleaned out. It’s called “house cleaning” when we apologize quickly and sincerely for any angry resentment, any behavior that reveals a character defect. If we alcoholics do not pray to have these defects of character removed, they fester and rot. Until I become something similar to that old Hollywood Nosferatu, lurking in the shadows of my sick mind.
Yet there is a solution! Bring such carefully harbored resentments and anger to the surface and you will be free. Because when the secrets are lit up in the sunlight, like a vampire, they burn to ash and blow away. The burning to ash is the painful part. The blowing away is the peace felt after an honest vampire-slaying. I highly recommend it.