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Emotional Recovery Module 2

Updated on May 30, 2012

More on being Honest and Open


I use these tools, skills, and principles today in my work with Options for Southern Oregon, (our local mental health agency), and in Corrections at Josephine County.


After reading about the importance of being honest, before one can start a recovery process, what do you think honesty means now? Yes it is all about admitting you have a problem; it's also about telling the truth and not lying to yourself that everything is okay when it isn't. But as I say to my clients, the answer is everything we just said plus way more.

Here is our new definition of honesty to assist one in making healthier life changes. Honesty means to refuse to do anything to harm yourself no matter what happens. Can you see how this puts a new twist on this concept? Also recognize the no-matter-what process. That means despite hardships, disappointments, losses, and stress, failures, we are not going to hurt ourselves on purpose anymore. Let's explore this further.

First, take a look at the things you do, feel, or think that might be harmful to you in the long run. The list is as long as you want to make it: overeating, overspending, overworking, promiscuity, people pleasing, codependent relationships, violence, isolation, antisocial activity, suicidal ideations, homicidal ideations, abuse, neglect; and obsessive thinking, depression, anger, fears, or anxiety. If I didn't hit your issue, feel free to acknowledge it now.

Second, select the problem or challenge you want to work on. Write down or discuss with somebody you trust how this particular concern causes you harm in your life.

For example, if overeating is the problem, take an honest look at how being overweight can effect your physical health, emotional health, your personal relationships, social activities, financial issues, and other areas of quality living. You can do the same for obsessive thinking, depression, anger, fear, anxiety, and guilt/shame.

Third, resist the urge to avoid, minimize, or deny the seriousness of the consequences of your personal challenge. This is easier said then done right? You see, I believe there is a part of us that resists change; I call this the dark secret. We also have a positive side that lets us know that we are entitled to a better life. The Emotional Recovery Card (ERC) is all about learning how to control our negative side.

For example, let's take on the challenge of depression. This can be a mental health problem. We know that a person with mental health conditions can gain relief with psychiatric medications. We also know that medications by themselves don't necessarily cure the problem.

There still is individual responsibility to learn how to manage the life stressors that contribute to the depression. Begin to admit that depression can detract on many levels from one's quality of life; i.e., oversleeping, not eating properly, isolation, lack of energy, suicidal thoughts and attempts.

For now, just affirm over and over: "I refuse to hurt myself anymore with negative thoughts, feelings or behavior no matter what, including depression, anger, anxiety and guilt." Say this out loud; write it down. Don't debate it; just try it out. That's what we mean about the importance of taking positive action in this section of the book. Of course there is much more to the ERC.


So, if "honesty" is about refusing to hurt yourself and accepting that we have a negative side, what do you suppose "openness" means? Yes, it is about sharing your thoughts and feelings with others. It also refers to your commitment to learn how to control the negative side and make improvements in your life. As I said before, it is everything we just said and more.

The key to openness is a willingness to believe in a new value system. The value system begins with how you will utilize your feelings and thoughts to start taking better care of yourself. It is basically summed up in this new affirmation: "I deserve to have a better life today" Now, does that make sense or not?

Some people don't care about themselves at all. If this is your case, get some help to start strengthening your positive side from a life coach or counselor. If you do ultimately value yourself, then you must ask the question: "Why do I keep engaging in habits or behaviors that are harmful to me?" The answer is not any more complicated than accepting that we all have a negative side which can become self-destructive.

I do not know why a part of us keeps us going on a track that will produce mental and physical suffering. There is much mystery to life; some things we will never understand. I have come to realize better the purpose of this negative side over the course of my more than 30 years of experience working as a social worker. Our negative side apparently is designed to cause us pain, suffering, and an early death. What do you think?

Regardless how you feel right now, take positive action. Just keep affirming over and over: "I deserve to have a better life today." Let the power of hope flow into your mind and heart. Change is possible when you try to be more honest and open with your life.


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    • cindyleedavis profile image

      cindyleedavis 8 years ago from

      Please don't misunderstand but yes, life is hard, and there is alot of pain. But for me, it is only through Jesus Christ,

      that pain can honestly be dealt with. He is the one who sets us free.

    • josephdiego profile image

      josephdiego 9 years ago from Eastern Long Island , New York

      The H.O.W. skills have changed my life. When I became Honest, I Opened my mind, Then I became Willing to do what ever it was life asked of me.

      The Mind is like a Parachute, it works much better when it's open.

      Peace, Love, Life, Health, Happiness and Lavish Abunance.. JosephDiegi.. "Hi Gary"

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 9 years ago from MA, USA

      I believe too there is a part of us that resists change and you call this the dark secret. I also believe we have a positive side that lets us know that we are entitled to a better life. To me just reading your words are very healing. Thankyou for sharing.

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

      Tatjana-Mihaela 9 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Great Hub, as always, dear Garry. I am also inspired with your thought about refusing to harm ourselves and accepting our negative side. I have been also thinking about that a lot these days. Please check my last Hub about trauma and karmic healing with Angels of Karma, I hope you will find it useful.

      My opinion is that reason for our negativity is in imperfection of our neural system, we have constantly make an effort to be positive, in order to connect old parts of our neural system with advanced ones. It is our challenge, our human karma and we have to work on ourselves consciously till the last day of our life on Earth. Please check: Be blessed, and thank you for inspiration.

      P.S:More about that subject in book: WHY WE HATE; from Rush Dozier.

    • franciaonline profile image

      franciaonline 9 years ago from Philippines

      To refuse to harm ourselves no matter what.....This is a thought I will take note of and keep sharing with friends as it is broad and deep in its scope, in fact, a philosophical foundation for a happy life. Eckhart Tolle comes to mind. To me, his teaching on the concept of a pain-body is equivalent to your idea of the "dark secret". Great guide posts indeed. I love your hubs!

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Your twist on honesty is very eye opening, it can lead one to trust oneself with healing an issue we may have. I am looking forward to more of your hubs.