“Have you been smoking”, My Mother asked as I opened the kitchen door to grab the half full glass of milk I had left there about an hour ago. I was 14 years old and had been secretly (at least I thought secretly) regularly smoking since I was 11.. At 11, after my first Winston cigarette where I turned green and threw up, I immediately had another one and became instantly hooked.
This began the odyssey of lying and stealing from my parents. When Grandma said that smoking would stunt your growth I did not believe her until 29 years later when I began trying to stop smoking. I then discovered how much of my life was lived in secret. From age 11 the secrets alienated me from my parents or any other adult confidence. With no guidance through the emotional roller coaster of adolescents then emotional growth really does stop.
Living with secrets helps in cheating in school. Or cheating in any way. It also develops into keeping secrets from myself. Like I can’t do math. Or I can’t get good grades. Or I can’t dance. Or I can’t run, Or I can’t keep a relationship together. Or I can’t go to college. The big secrets get to be I am trapped by my health, my age, my parents, my intellect. The unspoken component of the bigger secrets is that they are rarely true.
“You’re only as sick as your secrets” is the mantra of addictions of any kind.
The definition of an addiction is to be “in hiding”.
It would also work as a mantra for politicians.
I got so good at lying I actually thought I could be a politician. Now I don’t see any personal value in that career at all.
I get to coach people in doing what they do not think they can do. Like running, yoga, tai chi, mountaineering, completing school at any age, forgiving others.
I graduated Chiropractic school at age 46…and now get to be an aging “health nut”.
Grandma was right. The secrets really do stunt you growth. I can now honestly ask for and accept help when needed. This help has enabled me to walk through the fear that the compulsive behaviors had me trapped in. I allow someone now to hold my hand and let me know I’ll be okay.
Thanks Grandma. It took a few years but I heard you.
And I haven’t smoked anything in 17 years now.