A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 23, 2013
“You are only as sick as your secrets”

"You are only as sick as your secrets” is a saying that has been used by Alcoholics Anonymous since at least 1985. Addiction is a secret that makes people sick.

The authorship of the saying is uncertain. A 1982 book by the Hazeldon Foundation credited “We’re only as sick as the secrets we keep” to Sue Atchley Ebaugh. A 1983 song by Tom Franzak was titled “(You’re only as) sick as your secrets.”


Google Books
Each Day a New Beginning:
Daily Meditations for Women

By Karen Casey
Center City, MN: Hazelden Foundation
1982
Pg. 22:
We’re only as sick as the secrets we keep. — Sue Atchley Ebaugh

OCLC WorldCat record
Walk that talk
Author: Tom Franzak
Publisher: Waco, TX : Myrrh, 1983.
Edition/Format: Music LP : Gospel music : English
Contents:
(You’re only as) sick as your secrets

Google News Archive
9 June 1985, St. Joseph (MO) News-Press/Gazette, “Alcoholics Anonymous nears 50th birthday” (Associated Press), pg. 8A, col. 2:
“You are only as sick as your secrets,” is one of the many slogans in the rooms.

Google Books
Healing Pluto Problems
By Donna Cunningham
York Beach, ME: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC
1986
Pg. 32:
In the Anonymous programs, they say you’re only as sick as your secrets, and it’s true that secrets can make you sick. They can even cause cancer if they’re malignant enough.

Google Books
Journeynotes:
Writing for Recovery and Spiritual Growth

By Richard Solly and Roseann Lloyd
Center City, MN: Hazelden
1989
Pg. 11:
An often quoted saying is: “You are only as sick as your secrets.” Secrets are often associated with shame. They become experiences we can not tell anyone.

Google Books
Anyone Anonymous
By Tim Timmons
Old Tappan, NJ : F.H. Revell
1990
Pg. 34:
In recovery circles of all kinds you’ll hear a terrific line: “You are as sick as your secrets.” Our sicknesses are our secrets. So, face your secrets and Fess Up!

OCLC WorldCat record
You’re only as sick as your secrets : sexual abuse awareness, prevention and intervention.
Author: Donna Jacques Temm
Publisher: [S.l.] : Balboa Pr, 2010
Edition/Format: Book : English

fluther.com
Who was the person that coined the phrase “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”?
Asked by MrsDufresne (3525 ) October 5th, 2010
(...)
I think it’s an old AA slogan, but who said it first may be lost in the mists of time. Hopefully someone can get you closer. It might be from one of their books.
lillycoyote (24266 )

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Saturday, February 23, 2013 • Permalink