It started in January of this year with an article I wrote here called “The Secrets We Keep“.
Sort of as an after thought at the end of the article I put a link to my telephone advice service.
Normally, I get calls from great people who are having typical issues we all as people face. Things like panic attacks, problems with stress at home or work and/or having relationship troubles. Normal people with normal life challenges who just need someone to talk with about what’s going on in their lives. That was the concept of the project from the beginning.
However, I never dreamed what would begin to happen once I posted that article about secrets on Jan 8th of this year. People began calling me to reveal their deepest, inner most secrets. Secrets they couldn’t tell anyone. Secrets that in some cases were killing them inside for more than 50 years as was the case with one caller. When this person was 8 years old, they accidentally set fire to their home killing their baby brother. They never confessed. Today, in their late 60′s it still haunts them everyday.
Another called to confess that she had cheated on her boyfriend about 8 months ago and recently discovered that she might be infected with HIV when she learned that the man she slept with is now HIV positive. She continues to have sex with her partner of 7 years, has not been tested and has yet to tell him.
The guilt is killing her.
Hundreds of people have called the line. Even though I envisioned it as a relationship advice line, people now call because they have this need to confess. The secrets I have heard and discussed over the past seven months are both fascinating and shocking. At times, tragic and horrifically disturbing. The calls continue to pour in and as word has spread over the months, more and more call to reveal their secrets to a complete and total stranger.
A women I will call “Betty” wanted me to know that she got drunk one weekend and ended up with a strange group of men. She was gang raped by several of the men she didn’t know while several others stood around video taping it on their iPhones. She’s the wife of a Southern Baptist preacher.
Lots of callers just want him or her back. They screwed up the relationship, they know it now, they are deeply sorry for what they have done and now they want to repair the damage they caused.
Some admit that they have read my books or seen me on the TV talk shows. But to most, I am just a voice on the other end of the phone that can help comfort them, guide them and give them some sort of direction. A voice that doesn’t know anyone they know. Someone who can’t find them. The AT&T system I use connects both parties anonymously. So I do not have their number and they don’t have mine. I can’t contact them at all and that has been the success of this program.
The secrets we keep as a people have really shown me just how much more we are alike then we are different. Though each of our stories may be unique to us all, the process of living life as a human being is the same for everyone. I have personally learned so much speaking to the brave and courageous souls who have called me. Their stories are deeply touching. (I have changed some of the details above to protect their true identities, but you get the idea.)
This has been one of the most amazingly profound experiences of my life.
What’s truly ironic to me is that not only did this happen by accident, but as most of you know, I was a professional magician for almost 30 years of my life keeping many secrets of my own during that time. Then there is my book entitled” OCD A Life Among Secrets“.
I find it all truly ironic because somehow secrets have always been a part of my life.
Maybe they always will be.
What Secrets do you have?
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