Admitting stuff was never my strong suit. Admitting that I stole money from my fathers coat jacket, admitting that I dented the car, admitting that I cheated on the exam, admitting that I was the father... I denied each and every one of these incidents and plenty of others throughout the years. Such was the level of guilt and shame I carried around that I couldn't bring myself to admit fault at anything -- even if I was caught red handed!

Denial kept me from the truth of how pathetic my life had become. I went to a therapist who knew me complaining of a midlife crisis. I lay on her comfortable leather couch and whined about my life for the better part of an hour. When I was finished she said, "Jeff, I can't help you." "You are welcome to come here once a week and pay me $80 to talk about your life, but I can't help you." Then she lowered the boom. "From what I know about you, I think you have the emotional maturity of a 13 year old, you don't have an ounce of humility in your whole body, and your brain is so cloudy from drinking that you can never hope to get any clarity on your life." So I don't think I can help you."

I was reeling from her cold words when she looked right into my eyes -- like she was looking directly at my soul -- and she said, "you're in trouble aren't you Jeff?" The voice in my head was screaming "don't admit anything, don't let her know." I remember a long pause ... finally I muttered "maybe."

It turned out that slight admission of "maybe" I was in trouble was just enough of an ego opening for God to come into my life and work His magic. Three days later I floated into my first AA meeting on a pink cloud of hopefulness and began, for the first time ever, to take responsibility for my life.

I'm learning that I can't begin to take responsibility for the healing of any aspect of myself -- mental, physical, spiritual or emotional -- without first admitting that (a) I have a problem and (b) admitting that I don't have the where-with-all to handle this problem without help. For me admission is as good for my soul as is confession.