The Cave of Truth
The Cave of Truth
Once upon a time, there were a few friends that hung out together. Quite by accident, one of them found a tattered old map to a place called The Cave of Truth. A couple of them had heard a vague story about the cave before, but brushed the idea off, thinking it an Urban Legend. One of them checked the Snopes website, couldn’t find it there, and the group decided to go. They felt ready for a change, and headed out. It was a pretty long journey.
They had rivers to cross, and hill country to traverse. There was a dessert, lakes, pine forests, even a glacier! They worked hard – all the while carefully following the map to get to the Cave of Truth. After a really long time they made it to base of the mountain which held the cave. They were very, very excited; they were tired of travel. This last mountain to climb was very steep, but finally, they made it to the top. The friends were so happy, high-fiving each other and dancing about. At the mouth of a large cave, a wizened old man sat on his haunches. They figured he must be a guru.
They approached the wrinkled old man and asked him, “Is this it? Is this the Cave of Truth? Did we really find it?”
The little brown man leaned back and was really, really quiet as he looked them over. Finally he spoke, “Yes, this is the Cave of Truth, but before you go in, I have just one question to ask you.” He paused,” Just how far into the Cave of Truth do you want to go?”
The friends looked at each other for a short minute, smiled, and answered almost in unison, “Oh, just far enough in to say we have been here”.
“The truth will set you free”, sure sounds good in theory doesn’t it? But who really wants to face the truth in light of a broken life? Addiction is a disease whose main symptom is denial – unwilling or unable to face the truth. Recovery is about facing the truth. Einstein said, If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor. It is usually ugly, painful and difficult to get to.
In my spiritual discussions with our guests, I tell this Cave of Truth Story. Mostly the reaction I get is one of surprise, and nervous laughter. Then I ask each guest, “How far are you willing to go into the Cave of Truth for your recovery?” The replies are variations on the theme of “All the way in!” I always ask them several times. “Are you sure? Even when the cave is dark and cold and wet, and you feel like you are suffocating? Even when every part of you is screaming to turn around and get out of the cave? Even when everyone that came in with you has turned around? Are you sure? Even when you hear your family and friends calling you – sending in a search party to drag you home? Are you sure? “I have never had anyone answer “no”.
The people who do choose to keep moving forward through their pain are heroes. Most people attempting recovery are like the group of friends – lots of hoopla and effort to get to the mouth of the cave. No desire to experience the cave crawl. Working and living in a drug rehab I am beside these friends while they are being brought face to face with the reality of who and what they have become, the things they have done, and the things that were done to them. Facing the truth is terrifying and the map is often undecipherable. Persevering through the dark and cold and wet and suffocation and longing and pain to continue towards the light at other side has rewards too great to describe here. I’ll just use the word ‘free’. Not many people are prepared to go to any length for their recovery, even in rehab. They just want to say they’ve been there.