Addiction Recovery

12: Do Secrets Make Us Sick

January 01, 2024 Steven T. Ginsburg Season 1 Episode 12
Addiction Recovery
12: Do Secrets Make Us Sick
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever felt the enormous weight of keeping a secret? The kind that chips away at your soul every single day, making you turn to substances just to numb the pain? In our candid discussion, we navigate the treacherous waters of addiction recovery, laying bare our own experiences and exploring the freedom that transparency provides. We delve into the toxicity of living a lie and the sheer liberation that comes from being true to yourself. Uncover the profound connection between secrets and addiction, and the beauty that living authentically brings to life.

Helpful Links:
Learn more about Restore Detox Centers
Filling the Void book by Steven T. Ginsburg
Overcoming the Fear and Lies of Addiction e-book
How to Love and Set Boundaries Without Enabling Addiction e-book
Call Us for Addiction Recovery:  1-800-982-5530

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Steve Coughran:

This is the Addiction Recovery Podcast with Steven T Ginsburg, founder of Restore Detox Centers in sunny California. Enjoy your experience. Hey, everyone, welcome back to another episode of Addiction Recovery. I'm here with Steven Ginsberg, steven, so great to be together again for this episode.

Steven Ginsburg:

Steve, brother, I always appreciate our time where we can focus on the things in this world that are relevant and do our best to provide and share the solution.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, and I love it. You know what we launched this podcast, you know, several weeks ago and it's really cool to see the growth. We were just talking right before the show about how the show is really taken off and it's really cool to see because I think there are a lot of people out there that can relate to the subjects and we're just so grateful for the audience and for the audience, you know, growing over time and just this podcast getting out to more individuals. It's truly a blessing and I'm sure you agree to Stephen.

Steven Ginsburg:

Absolutely. I just love the idea that anything that is of darkness we can bring into the light and that the stigma that follows this content and these topics around it's very unfounded and it doesn't have any real basis. There's a real joy and a real beauty in healing and in finding our way into the day to day way to live without substance abuse being part of it.

Steve Coughran:

Absolutely, and so let's talk about that. You just mentioned something about darkness. I remember when I was out in California visiting you a while back you know we're driving in the car and you made a statement about you know our secrets. Keep us sick. Our secrets make us sick one of the other. But you know what did you mean exactly by that phrase. Maybe you can expand a little bit on that.

Steven Ginsburg:

Absolutely. I really. Transparency and living within the realm of the truth of who we are is what liberates us from something that's focused on in recovery, which is the bondage of self. A man who was a sponsor of mine, who I love dearly and very involved in my life as a Marifax, stood up for Nicole and I when we got married, steve. He used to say to me we are only as sick as our secrets, and he'd say that to me often and it was because it's important to reinforce that transparency and authenticity is what delivers us from the ism, the I, self, me, and so things we hold on to, things we hide, things we shy away from that continue to keep us suppressed, and things that a l us, they grow and they perpetuate, and things that we actually bring forward and we help find avenues to resolution for we get freed up and liberated from those very things. So that really is what I was focused on. I remember the conversation and that was what I was focused on when I shared that factor with you.

Steve Coughran:

And I mean, what type of things are we talking about here when we talk about secrets? Are we talking about like hey, you know my, my brother told me something about his business and he told me to keep a secret? Like that makes us sick? Or are you referring to like bigger issues, or like the sins we commit or the mistakes that we make? Like what are you exactly referring to? Maybe you could provide some examples.

Steven Ginsburg:

Well, I'm tempted to really enjoy the moment and just say yes, but because, why not? But to drill down, because it's all part of it, there's no upside. Listen, you and I are both happily married guys, so let's just go all over the place tonight. Because, why not? You and I are both happily married guys. Both of us have healthy marriages. Because we tell our wife the truth and people like, yeah, of course, okay, yes, but it's just not that obvious. So, in all realms of our life, the more candid we are, the more candor we provide, the more that we live authentically, the more that we live under the premise of you know the truth is the most fun and the easiest thing to remember, the better will do. And then, when I bring it home, really to our neck of the woods, steve, or what you and I look at consistently and constantly, you know, when it comes to pills, when it comes to alcohol, when it comes to drug use, when it comes to happy hour, when it comes to what it takes in the morning for someone to get up and go, if there are things and elements alcohol, pills, marijuana, any of the above, all the above that are part of their day to day, but nobody knows, or they believe no one knows for themselves. Those secrets are part of their addiction and alcoholism and are potentially not only life threatening but impacting and hurting the people that they love most in all facets of their life.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, no, absolutely. And I mean I could totally see that. I mean let me give you just a general example. I mean, trust me, there have been mistakes that I've made since that I've committed in my life, that I've tried to like hide in the past, and I could tell you like it didn't go over super well. You know, it did like create this discontent of me and even just with like work or whatever I'm doing in life. Oftentimes, when I feel this like underlying, like discontent and you might feel the same thing, steven sometimes, where it's just like something's off or I just like not like happy or I'm just not in like the best place, it's because I'm not living true to myself. So it goes back to your point at the very beginning of this episode. You know being true to yourself. So I think, like we all have this conscious. So, whether you believe in a higher power or God or whatever it is, I believe that's instilled in us. You know we have this conscious of like what's right and wrong and oftentimes, like in my life, like I know there's certain things that are right, and I'm not just talking about like morally, I'm talking about sometimes things violate my values of like freedom and creativity and growth, and when I'm not like being true to myself, authentic to myself, it creates this discontent and it creates this darkness in my life. So now, you know, let's pour gasoline on the fire here and let's talk about bigger things, you know, and let's get real here. So it's like, okay, so you have a partner and you're not being faithful to them emotionally or physically or sexually or whatever, maybe. Or, like you said, you know you're on your way home from work, you're stopping by the bar and having a few drinks, but you're not telling your partner about that. Or you're smoking pot out in the garage or whatever it may be, you're taking pain pills or whatever it may be. You're doing these things, but you're hiding this stuff. Well, like your subconscious isn't done. You can't like trick your subconscious and it's going to create this discontent, which then creates more pain, emotional pain, and then I think people fall into the trap. Like, I feel this pain. I want to get out of it, so how do I numb it? And that's when drug and alcohol abuse can really take over. What are your thoughts on that?

Steven Ginsburg:

Your spot on. It's a terrific through line that you're on and it's a vicious cycle, steve, and it's a hamster wheel. It never ends well. It never ends well. You and I are on the same page with that's not surprising. It's about living in a bold version of our truth and it's about really painstakingly communicating and being authentic and vulnerable. And it's about recognizing and you know, come to think of it and this is good, this is coming up. For me, it's about being able to step back and take a spot inventory, and I'm able to do this and I've been raised to do this a lot in my life. You know, at best, my day. You know what have I done where the armor of God is concerned today? What have I done to win the day today? What am I doing to sustain and substantiate my recovery today? Where am I pouring into my family and my loved ones today and taking that in the drain? Where am I falling short today and where do I owe someone an immense today? And so you keep pruning and you keep refining and for me, and whatever your version, is out there a prayer time. You take some time for prayer, meditation and reflect, and you painstakingly do a searching and fearless reflection of your day and you course correct as you go along. You will not fall off the face of being on track. When you live like that, when there's constant moving parts, when you're trying to keep up with this tail you're spinning you will hit a dead end. You will implode. I see it all the time, I see it every day, I see it in all walks of life and it only leads to one thing it leads to devastation. Devastation is born out of lies.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, no, and absolutely, I think that's absolutely true. I mean, it's funny, you know, it just spurred a memory here. I remember I was like a teenager and my sister took me to a party. You know it's like, hey, we're going to stop by this party and then we're going to, like, go do something else. You know his brother and sister and I remember going to this party and I was young and you know there are older teenagers there and there is, you know, early 20 year olds there and I go into this apartment, the music is blasting and you know, people are dancing and getting all crazy and some drunk guy comes up to me. He's like, hey, have some beer. You know, and I was like, okay, so I took a big old swig of beer and then all of a sudden, like the cops came and they hit me in the closet and then, you know, they left and got away with that and you know. But then afterwards I felt like so terrible that I drank this alcohol and I was like I just disappointed my mom, like what am I doing? You know, I think I'm not even old enough to drink and I felt terrible. I felt like so bad. And I remember going to my sister's car and I was like crying breaking down, and you remember binocca, like you know you're in your mouth like a little breath mint. I remember I had a binocca in my pocket and I was reading the label and it said it had like alcohol in it, right, like point zero something percent alcohol. And I remember throwing that out the window, I was like I'll never drink again, I'll never do alcohol again. Well, fast forward, you know, several years and here I am like drinking with my buddies again and then you know, do another stuff and it's like I felt terrible, like first time I felt terrible, but then you numb it and then you like you just keep numbing it and numbing it and numbing it. But it's also interesting because I was watching this Brené Brown Ted X, which was, you know, about vulnerability and shame and stuff, and you know she brings up the point where it's like you can't just numb one part of your life. So like if you feel bad about drinking alcohol, like in my case, or say you're like your inappropriate relationship is developing and you're not telling your partner about that or you're doing some other sketchy stuff, well, you can't just be like I feel bad about that, so I'm just going to numb these feelings over here, but then I'm going to have joy and stuff over here. I'm not going to numb joy and happiness, I'm just going to numb the bad feelings. It's impossible. You can't do it. You're numbing everything or you're numbing nothing. What are your thoughts on that, steven?

Steven Ginsburg:

I agree it's an equal opportunist as far as if it's some, it's all. It applies to the whole embodiment of what we're discussing. You can't selectively phase out truth and authenticity and integrity in some facets and yet just carry it in others. It just doesn't hold up and it won't, and too many people get into that realm. And that's where we see and I see a lot of working professionals and a lot of adults who are they're just annihilated by crisis because they don't have the ability to truly reach out to people around them for help and for support and have the ability to live and look at what is authentically holding them back and what areas don't you address and move forward on it.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, no, I didn't. I think that's spot on and I mean, if you're listening to this, you know by now Steven and I are definitely not into this, this whole myth of perfection and I think so many people fall into this trap where it's like I don't know who planted it in their head or if it's just like something that comes about internally, because, trust me, I've been there, I've been there and I'll know where it came from. But this like myth of perfection, you know, you look at everybody else around you people at work, people in your neighborhood, people at your church, people in your school, whatever it is. You're like dang so-and-so has it all together. What's wrong with me? If I just try harder, then I can be perfect. And it's like, guess what? That's the biggest lie in the world. I mean, every day I make mistakes. Same thing with you, steven.

Steven Ginsburg:

I'm sure you make mistakes like I fall short every day. I'm glad. I'm glad I do. I love saying this. I know about one perfect man. They put him up on a cross. The rest of us are doing the best we can and I fall short every day. I'm grateful for my areas of opportunity where I fall short and I'm grateful that through design for living and through my trials and tribulations, I've been taught how to live. And again, I'm not perfect in the realm of all that. I make mistakes, we all do. But it's about being honest, being faith-forward and living out loud and communicating and finding the way into the solution and away from deception. And again, I think, every which way we look at it, steve, I think it's a valuable talking point and it's interesting because it's not necessarily just focused on substance abuse and use. It always keeps dovetailing back to we're only as sick as our secrets, because that is an equal opportunity for all facets of our life.

Steve Coughran:

And the drugs and alcohol just come in to numb the pain that we feel from hiding our secrets. And I want to touch on something that you said earlier, where, with perfectionism and deception, it's like there's nothing wrong with making mistakes. Now you don't want to go out there and intentionally commit a crime or do something to harm somebody else and say, well, I'm just an imperfect person. We're not talking about that when you're really doing your best and you're trying like we're human beings and experiences are going to come our way and we're not going to always make the best decisions and we just do weird stuff as human beings. I think the key is is like not hiding it.

Steven Ginsburg:

Not hiding it Absolutely Agreed and being able to own our shortcomings and then also having the ability and this is something that started for me a lot later in life. But I think this can be really liberating let our ego get out of the way and get our pride out of the way and be willing to ask for help and I'm talking about help for anything and everything, like being able to show someone hey, I don't understand how to do that. I don't know what this is about. This isn't my strong area, this isn't my wheelhouse. There's some real strength in those deficiencies, because everyone has their skill set and their gifting that they bring to the table and that's where human. But you know, we're meant to be in community and we're meant to work communally and work together, and a lot of that is validated and brought about through living authentically.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, absolutely so. Let me ask you this, stephen how does keeping secrets about addiction let's talk about addiction specifically contribute to feelings of isolation and shame? I mean, you've been there, been there, done that, so maybe you can shed a little bit of light on that you know absolutely.

Steven Ginsburg:

And I think the biggest thing that jumps out at me is when that is at the epicenter of the deception that a person's living in the world starts to shrink around them and shrink around them and it's I get the analogy in my mind of an iceberg melting and you're heading closer and closer towards that water. It's melting around you because you lose the ability to continue to be out there and about and with others in your life, because you're living this lie and it's woven into this huge tail and it gets worse and worse and worse. Addiction and alcoholism they're progressive illnesses, they're not regressive illnesses and when there's issues, they grow in scope as they're perpetuated. So that's where it starts to get really narrow and really small. And I'll just say this last thing At the bottom of my bottom the last time around, you know, I was completely rightfully alienated and ostracized from everyone and everything. Like I couldn't get in the shower because I was so sick that I was like whoever the they was in my mind. They were going to come and get me if I got in the shower. Talk about it getting small. I couldn't move and it's hard and sad for me to recount that, but that's all part of what you just asked, and addiction and alcoholism leads people to those places. I see it time and time again. I saw it in my life. So it's about owning what ails us. It's about coming forward and letting someone know I need help now. This is what I'm dealing with. This is what I'm suffering from. I can't stop and understanding that people will be there with us and for us and that there is a solution.

Steve Coughran:

Well, and it's interesting because I remember reading in your book Filling the Void great book, by the way, if you haven't read it, definitely check it out and in Filling the Void you're talking about when you relapse the second time. It's like, oh, here's a pill, you know, and you're like cool and you're with your buddies and your friends and it's just ironic how a lot of times that starts out like that. You're like at a party, you're, you know, you're very social at first, and then you know you start drinking by yourself, you start using by yourself and then, yeah, like in your situation, specifically like at the very end, as you just touched on, you're like stuck in your house all by yourself, you're like dirty, you're not going anywhere, you're just like so isolated from the world. And I agree, like our world shrinks in on us when we keep our secrets to ourselves.

Steven Ginsburg:

I'd say it's a horrible way to live, but that's not an accurate term, because you're not living, you're existing, and we are not here to exist, we are here to live.

Steve Coughran:

And that is not a full life. Let me ask you this so what does somebody do about this? Or listening, you know, for me it's like church is a big outlet. You know, God's a big outlet for me, Like repentance is a big part of my life, like constantly repenting and repairing and trying to be better. But what if somebody doesn't? You know, maybe church isn't the center of their life, Maybe they don't believe necessarily in God. What are some ways where they can share their secrets in a healthy manner and get the help that they need? What are your thoughts on that, Steven?

Steven Ginsburg:

I'm just, first and foremost, you know what a trusted person that we love is someone to turn to a parent, a sibling, a friend, a husband or wife. Turn to someone that we love and trust who we know won't enable us in what's ailing us, and be authentic and tell them the truth and be prepared and let them know you need help and be prepared for the. If the help is offered or they start to usher towards the solution, don't push back and let the disease take over and take you away from the path. You've just started see it through, but you've got to reach out to them some fashion, in some way. It's unheard of for people to just resolve it on their own. It doesn't just stop when it gets to that crisis mode. That's where we have to start living in our truth and own it and find someone to come alongside us and start helping us to find our way to the solution.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, I agree. I mean I think that's great advice and I mean I'll just say this this is a whole other episode in itself, but I think you know this is touch on this for a minute as we close. There is this like stigma out there, unfortunately. I think that, combined with pride, can keep people sick in their secrets. And what I mean by that steven is like let me think about it is like say, you have, you know, a pornography addiction, or you're like, you know you're taking pain pills, or you're drinking and getting drunk, you know, just to make it through the day. I mean, the last thing you want to do is like go around and say, hey, guys, guess what, I'm an alcoholic. You know I drink in the bathroom at work. Or hey, I'm smoking pot in my car in the morning, just to like feel like a decent human being, or I'm doing this right. I mean there's like this sense of shame and I think people can get caught in that and they're like well, you know, I feel shame and I don't want to tell anybody, I'm gonna look like a sicko or like a weirdo or whatever it may be, but I think that's the lie right there, that's the deception. And then when we you know when we're prideful and whether we think that we have to fix everything ourselves or we have to be perfect, or when we start comparing ourselves to others, like, well, I'm not going to tell anybody, because everybody else has it together, that's where we're like totally tricking ourselves, like we're all struggling with something.

Steven Ginsburg:

It's just our struggles are different everyone has their stuff, and I think that people will really find, first of all, what other people think about us. That is their own business, yeah, and to be liberated from that. That is just a foundation piece that's critical. Secondarily, there is nothing more courageous or more remarkable than someone who stakes a claim in the fact that they want to live, that they want to stay alive, that they want to reinforce and perpetuate healthy habits and patterns and they want to do away with and get help with the things that are causing them darkness and dysfunction. And the people who wouldn't support that or who would think less of us because we're hurting or because we have an issue, those are not people we need in our lives exactly, and I think and knows some. Some of my greatest People that I admire are people my brother and my brothers and sisters that I meet on this trudge, this walk with purpose, in sobriety, men and women who have been through it from every sort of walk of life and every demographic. But they are living authentically and they are living in the solution and you become a hero in your own life by owning your shortcomings and looking for resolution.

Steve Coughran:

Yeah, and then I agree, and I think from personal experience and just witnessing this in other people's lives, I think the fear that we have sometimes of, you know, sharing things or connecting with people and coming out of isolation, you know, is oftentimes not warranted like we're so afraid of. You know, if we say something, it's gonna lead to this or that, but more times than not, I think it leads to an outpouring of love. You know, absolutely really, I think when you like, come out, you share these things, you come clean, you, you seek help, you're gonna be enveloped in love and I think that's like how hopeful is that? I mean, how cool is that?

Steven Ginsburg:

and you have to give yourself a chance to experience that. And you know, I often will refer to the lives of the enemy and it's that narrative, that diatribe, where you hear this back chatter. It's like, hey, you can't let anyone know, you can't ask for help, you can't show anyone, you're vulnerable. That's where people really get themselves cornered and it is again, I like the word catastrophic. It's a good word, it's describing things perfectly in this realm and it makes me crazy because I'm convicted about people getting help when they need it. It is catastrophic when people isolate and they buy into that narrative and they don't reach out. I mean Honestly, steve, in the little amount of time we've been providing this content, which has been amazing it wouldn't matter to me who hit us up for information or questions. If someone was in crisis, somehow, some way I find some resource or avenue to connect them with whatever facet they needed, so they could get into the solution and get the help they need. And that's the beauty and asking for help. There's so many people out there who want to help and who will help Anyone yeah, absolutely.

Steve Coughran:

I agree, and I think this is a good place to wrap, and if you're listening to this, we're being completely authentic here. If you need help and you don't have anybody talk to like, you could definitely reach out to us. Hello, at restore detox centers calm. That's our email. Also, if you want to connect with us, you could go to the website restore detox centers calm. We have a lot of great resources on the website that you can access. There, you can also connect us with us and learn more about what we're doing there on that site. So please don't be a stranger. We love connecting with the community.

Steven Ginsburg:

We'd love to hear from you absolutely and, steve, thank you again for just taking the time and creating these avenues where where we can, both from a perspective of society and Individually, take a look at the things that people are experiencing on a day-to-day basis and continue to let people know that there is hope. I'm just really appreciative of your part and the part of anyone who's listening. We're here with you and for you all, and I hope everyone stay safe and continues to be sober.

Steve Coughran:

Thanks Steven and cheers everyone.

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