He who covers his sins will not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Denial: it’s a ridiculous looking thing.
I once saw a photograph of a mouse, looking straight at the camera, cheeks puffed out to a Saltine’s square shape. And the tag line attached was “What cracker?”
It made me think of my own erratic disordered eating behaviors, including stealing my roommates’ food and dumpster diving.
“…I thought I was hiding my secret well from the outside world. I replenished the food I’d stolen from my roommates. I played ‘beat the clock’ before they came home to notice…
…It became a regular hide and steal, hide and eat, hide and deny game… I knew their schedules by heart. I’d wait for them to leave for class. I’d hurry home, skipping my own classes to ensure enough time alone… I had to eat as much as I could before they came home…
… I’d be first to volunteer among my roommates to take out the trash, because I knew what ‘goodies’ I’d thrown out…
…Trips to the dumpster at 2:30 a.m. were not unusual… I’d rummage through other people’s trash bags…
…I was caught on more than one occasion. I’d try to play it off, pretending everything was normal as people passed by me scrounging in the dumpster. As I became more desperate, however, I began going to the dumpster frequently in broad daylight while other students were coming and going from class… I tried to convince myself I could ‘just act natural’ and disguise the truth…”
I was asking, “What Cracker?”
Transparent honesty is a big key to our recovery, especially when it comes to the addictions, compulsions and disorders which thrive on deceit. The old adage, “You’re as sick as your secrets” screams an unflinching truth: we can’t get better unless/until we get honest about what we’re doing.
And yes, it’s also in the Twelve Steps:
1. We admitted we were powerless over a substance or behavior ─ our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
These steps confront our cracker-eating, caught on camera, busted mouse behavior. A mirror is held up to us, demanding we own up to what we did.
So why is it we still ask, when all is said and done, “What Cracker?” I offer my theory. I believe we, at our base natures, can come up with our own twelve excuses to those twelve steps.
1. We want to believe we’re powerful and in control. We have our lives figured out, including the substances and behaviors in them.
2. We know what is best for our lives. We don’t need God.
3. We’re certainly not going to waste our time or give up our vices pursuing God. We’re fine, really, we’re just great.
4. Again, we’re good. Mind your own business. We know what we’re doing.
5. We’re fully convinced we’re doing nothing wrong. We’re certainly not hurting anyone else. Our behaviors are harmless.
6. We don’t want to change. Everything’s fine.
7. Indeed, our lives are fabulous, requiring no change whatsoever. If you can’t handle what we’re doing, that’s your problem, not ours.
8. We don’t owe anyone any apology or explanation. We’re living our lives as we see fit.
9. If anyone challenges or disagrees with what we’re doing, we’re done with them. No one tells us what to do.
10. We are never wrong, never responsible. We have every right to go on living our lives as we want.
11. Again, we don’t need anyone else’s help, including God’s, here. That’s just for weak people. We’re great.
12. There’s no need to do any unpleasant, tedious or hard work. We certainly don’t need to help others. All we need to do is mind our own business, be left alone and live the lives we want.
Thinking those excuses are a tad exaggerated?
C’mon, you and I, at one time, have thought and lived those things. We have forsaken right for wrong, responsibility for pleasure, accountability for excuse and recovery for disease.
There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death…”
And denial is at the epicenter of ALL of it, isn’t it?
Still, John 8:32 holds true:
The truth shall set you free.”
Denying the evidence of our real cracker situation does nothing to promote freedom, let alone, health.
Where do we stand on our reality? Do we believe our own denial?
Is God catching us, all puffy cheeked and startled? When we’re caught, perhaps we should respond this way instead:
“What do you want me to do about this cracker, God?”