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Addiction, Shame and Lies

By Mel Standing

Note from William R. Cunningham (Pastor of Pursuing the Truth Ministries).

Occasionally we are contacted by a visitor to our site and asked if we would share something from their own experience that they feel could help you. Well here is one article from Mel Standing. Mel contacted us to share her experience with our readers about lies, shame, and addiction. Her journey is one that I believe all of us can relate to one way or another. Shame and guilt can cause up to cover up things in our lives instead of being open and acquiring the help that we need and the love that we need. I would encourage you to read this article and try to relate what Mel went through to your own live. Know that God loves you and wants to help you out of your situation. Below is Mel's article

 

As a mum of two boys, one of the most important values I try to instill at home, is the importance of honesty. I always tell my sons that I won’t get angry when they admit to having been naughty at school (or to each other), because I don’t want them to associate telling the truth, with punishment. That was exactly the way I grew up: in silence, fearing the truth. My father abandoned our family when I was just two, and my mom was battling a devastating addiction to alcohol and prescription pills.

When I was 14, I began escaping from home, sometimes for various hours; at other times for days. Looking back on those days, I can see that I was desperately crying for attention. Mom had a drinking problem and was often passed out or, on good days, out with her friends or new romantic interests. When I was a teen, home was an uncomfortable and sometimes, a painful place to be. I never had any self-confidence and it showed up in my poor academic results. I was failing at school yet I felt like I didn’t have enough energy to try to show my teachers that I was capable of doing better. I dabbled in drugs like marijuana and, occasionally, harder drugs like speed. At school, when my teachers asked me if I was okay, I would always say I was fine. This was the greatest of many lies I used to avoid having to explain how hopeless my life was.

I met Dan, my husband, when I was 20 and working at a retail shop at the local mall. He was in college at the time and I was instantly attracted to him because of his positive, upbeat personality. Dan encouraged me to go back to high school and get my diploma, and eventually, apply to obtain a college degree. I felt closer to him than I had with anyone in the past and I felt like I could open up to him. Still, I kept many secrets about my upbringing and the scenes I had witnessed at home, a secret from him.

I didn’t just lie about the big things; I lied about stupid little things too, anything that would require explanation or an apology. I also lied about my smoking and drinking, afraid that he would leave me if he found out. Dan would find pieces of evidence, like rolling paper or empty bottles in the trash, though when he asked me who they belonged to, I used my friends scapegoats. It worked the first few times, but eventually, Dan caught me out and I admitted I had a problem. Now that I look back on that time in my life, I know that what help me back from honesty, was shame. I felt like I was defective, a failure, and that there was no way that I could climb out of the hole I had been living for as long as I could remember. Now, after many years of therapy, I realize that all along, I had been pursuing self-destructive habits to reaffirm my belief in my lack of worth. I never knew, back then, that there was a way out: change. I was always free to change who I was; the only one holding me back from doing well at school, in relationships and at work, was myself.

After completing a stay at rehab, I went back to school and eventually studied to be a Veterinarian nurse. I love animals; with them, I feel most free to be myself. I feel like I have progressed in leaps and bounds when it comes to being honest about my feelings, thoughts and deeds. I also know that no matter what I may have done wrong in the past, I will always be better than my very worst deed.

Dan and I work hard to encourage honesty at home in many ways. When my sons admit they have done something naughty, I usually take them into my arms and humorously tell them to ‘fess up’ (confess). Whatever they have done (talk too much in class or refuse to share toys with each other), we try to find a way to encourage different behavior, without ever making them feel like they are failures. I want my sons to grow up free from the shackles of shame and guilt and to do that, they need to know that the future is a continuous invitation to change and improvement.

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Below are some links that were shared in the article.

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