I had a polygraph. It had to do with working with law enforcement and finding a way to serve families in crisis with substance use disorder after an overdose. The vision was to get me in the building with the narcotics and organized crime cases.
Most people consider this a “lie detector” test. The test actually measures the physiological changes in your body in response to questions. When you don’t tell the truth, or when you have a strong emotional response your body goes into what’s called fight or flight mode. There is an uncontrollable physiological change in your body. The polygraph measures the change with a cord across your chest and your abdomen, a blood pressure cuff and two clips on your fingers.
“So you measure the truth with the heart and the solar plexus?” I asked.
He said, “No, it’s on your chest and your abdomen.” Right, I think, the heart and the solar plexus.
That’s where the truth lies. In your heart and your solar plexus. The two most powerful places in your body.
NOT THE BRAIN.
Did you hear that?
To get to the absolute truth, they use your BODY as the test, NOT your mind.
This is HUGE.
Here’s why. Because your soul lives in your body. It speaks through your body. Your body is wise. You can use your body as a test for what’s good for you and what’s not, what true for you and what’s not. Your body will tell you what your soul desires, what hurts it, what scares it, what it loves, who it loves, and it will tell you when you are truly aligned with your soul purpose. Your body will tell you THE TRUTH. Your mind will run you around in never ending circles, bamboozling you into some truth that may or may not really be true for you. Your mind can play tricks on you. The body doesn’t lie.
Feeling the UNTRUTH in my body was a revelation. It was like being given another key to feeling my soul. See, I already know how my soul speaks the truth to me. Deep soul truth rises up as pure emotion, in tears. I get what I call “truth tears” when I speak out loud something so very true to my heart and soul. It happens sometimes when I am writing too. Or when I hear lyrics to a song that ring deeply true for me. And when there is a universal truth that I have tapped into in my writing or one of my soul whispers recorded on paper during a time of contemplation. I also feel it in my heart as a warm swelling sensation. I know I am on the right track when I feel my heart. It’s my soul’s YES answer.
I had an extremely powerful learning moment for myself. The other day, after 3 hours of intense questioning about my character, my past, misguided actions, poor decisions, indiscretions, about how I treat people and respect authority, and a test run of telling a lie, I felt it. My lie. I felt what it really felt like to WITHHOLD in my body. I felt what it feels like to have the strong physical response and the soft physical response. I very clearly felt my UNTRUTH, my WITHHOLDING and my TRUTH.
The untruth feeling came because I withheld a response to something that makes me feel questionable. Later I realized as I was driving home, it is a judgement I hold against myself. The untruth feeling came when I did the sample test. “You are a good candidate for a polygraph.” he said. I heard, “your body doesn’t lie.” and it doesn’t. I felt it every time he asked and he saw it on the screen, every time. I was asked very deep, probing, intense questions about my past, about how I treat people, about alcohol and drug use. I wasn’t triggered until I was asked about drugs. I hate drugs. It’s no secret that I hate drugs. But I did them. In the past. And now I wish I didn’t. EVER. With my whole being I wish I could say, I NEVER did them, tried them, even considered them.
And as a mother, I allowed behavior that contributed to my child’s substance use disorder which could have cost him his life. I am still struggling with my fault in all of it even though I am told over and over that it’s not my fault, that I couldn’t change it or control it, and I had to accept it or whatever the “anonymous” message is, that I disagree with on certain levels. (That’s also another story to tell later.) There is no denying that it happened, that I had a part in it, that I feel now that maybe I could have stopped accepting the unacceptable sooner. I didn’t know that I could and I was told that I couldn’t. I didn’t know what I know now.
When you are in the grips of substance use disorder, yours or a family member, your body is numb. Your mind is numb. Your heart is numb. Your voice is silent. I am not numb now. Now I know. Now I feel. Now I believe differently. I am not buying the messages. I am going with my own authority and the feelings I feel with my body.
I am working with law enforcement to create a support network for families suffering the opioid crisis, overdoses, and substance use disorder. I’ve undergone two four hour sessions about my past. In my past I could have used an intervention but I grew up in an alcoholic environment so my parents didn’t know what they didn’t know. My intervention came in the form of marriage and a desire to change. And then becoming a mother ended my desire to do anything that would jeopardize the lives of my children. Ultimately, my sobriety came through my children and my desire to feel fully. I wish it had come much sooner. I wish someone had intervened when I was my son's age, but they didn't. They didn't know. Talking about my alcohol and drug use is difficult, especially with law enforcement. They didn’t do the things I’ve done. I am under deep scrutiny. I am scrutinizing myself. Talking about drugs triggers a strong physical response. I realized during the test as the feeling washed over me every single time the question about drugs was asked that the strong physical response I was having is shame.
Shame is a killer. It is a killer of opportunity, of inspiration, of invention, of relationships, of people. Shame takes you out of the game of life if you let it. Shame keeps you silent and small. Shame is a perpetuator of addiction and substance use disorder. Addiction loves shame. It thrives on it. Shame is a liar. Shame tells you that you are unlovable, unworthy, unforgivable.
While under investigation, I was asked if I held any prejudices against anyone. Anyone who is different from me, a different culture, race, sexual orientation. Before I answered I searched my heart for any reason why I would do that. Here my truth tears rose up and spilled over. I told the man administering the test this, “we are all conditioned by our families, our culture to believe things about other people who appear to be different but I don’t feel the way some people in my family do. I believe that everyone is someone else’s child. I love people. All people. The conditioning is something that can be broken. I feel like we are all walking hearts, all the same on the inside, therefore the outside. The culture, sexuality, race doesn’t matter to me.” The tears came while saying this out loud. He had to get tissues. The idea of prejudice gives me a deep feeling of sadness.
My truth tears came again, another hour later, at the end of the test when he asked me why I thought I had such a strong physical response to the question about drugs. I thought for sure I’d ruined the test and maybe I did. Maybe I won’t get to do the thing I want to do because of what happened in the past. Who knows, but I said this, “because this, right now, is about drugs, about helping people who use drugs and alcohol, about helping families in crisis and I used drugs. I am a mother of someone who had substance use disorder.” (Stopping here, hand on heart, to honor his recovery) “I didn’t do everything right.” I am feeling this moment as though power is surging through me. My eyes wide, facing him, hands firmly planted on the desk. It feels like an appeal.
Then, I realize I am judging myself and in doing so I am perpetuating shame and stigma. That is prejudice. Against myself. I drive home sobbing. I get in the salt bath and try to soak away all the negativity of my own past. I put on my comfortable clothes and get in my bed and close my eyes completely spent. I have to rest. That much exposure has drained me. When I wake up I realize I have to forgive myself for everything I’ve done or I will be pre-judging people with substance use disorder and their families.
I realize that I have to let go of any shame of my own in order to stop the shame and the stigma for all.
It’s the only way.
My truth tears flow and flow.
My body doesn’t lie.
Yours doesn’t either.
You can use your body to feel the truth, your wisdom, your untruth. You can use it to measure love, passion, inspiration, desire, fear and respond to the calls from your soul. You can’t be numb to feel it though. Numbing comes in all kinds of packages, wine, drugs, television, facebook, it’s the place you check out and stop your feeling body, where you shut down your soul. To feel your truth, and your untruth you have to be fully present and you have to soften. Relaxed, unclenched, not tense. Your body has to be alive, well rested, well fed, well hydrated, well cared for.
Body Wisdom. We all have it and its more powerful than your mind.
It’s your power and your magic,
Family Recovery Advocate
I serve women seeking healing and transformation.
I serve people who have been impacted by addiction recover their lives.