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Truth

Part of the reason that you need to admit your wrongs to another human being is that it is almost impossible to be objective and truly honest with yourself. Everyone needs some pressure and encouragement (and support) if they are to dig deep within themselves and reveal the whole truth about who they are and what they have done. And when they face that, they need someone to disabuse them of the romantic notion that they are the greatest sinner there has ever been; their wrongs are just as ordinary and messy as everyone else’s and just as in need of sorting out. And people need someone to help them focus on the positives and potential they have within themselves for progress and recovery. Truth is to be found in proportion and balance.

Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Reconciliation

Although you have been encouraged to focus on your strengths as well as your weaknesses, a ‘searching and fearless moral inventory’ may tempt you to the conclusion that you are just bad. Your discomfort about some of what you have done will turn into shame. You may come to think that if you hate who you have become, then no-one else could like you or want to be with you.

We have already considered how, if you believe in God, responding to him is an essential part of recovery from addiction. Most religions tell you that a loving God is one who wants you back. No matter how outrageous the foolishness of the prodigal son, no celebration is too lavish to mark his contrite return.

We have also seen how those who do not believe in God can make progress by measures which fit their own understanding of the meaning and purpose of life. Most views of a mature and viable society will require that it can forgive and reinstate offenders.

Whether the person you choose to whom to admit your wrongs is a religious leader, a lay person of faith or a non-believer, they must embrace a similar responsibility to declare that you can be reconciled with those with whom you identify and that there is potential for acceptance and future growth and development within your own group and in wider society.

When a person (or even a country) is in a mess, recovery depends on ‘Truth’ and ‘Reconciliation.’

Trust

It’s as obvious as it is essential that, if you are to admit to another human being the exact nature of your wrongs, that must be someone you can trust.

It’s not easy to find the right person on your own. There is much to be said for joining a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous (and there are equivalent organisations to help people with almost all addictions). There are many benefits, and not the least is the shared advice of the group about who is the right person to be your confidant.

It really is vital that your ‘searching and fearless moral inventory’ is also complete and hides nothing. But there may be things in your past, distant or recent, for which you could be prosecuted in a court. You need to discuss with your confidant what you can say and how you can say it. The law is very clear on some issues but people’s interpretation of what it means in this situation can vary. You must resolve this very carefully but very thoroughly at the start.

Remember that confidence works both ways. You need to be able to trust without hesitation that what shames you will not be made public. But your confidant needs to know that anything they say will also be treated with the same respect.