There’s a very simple reason why watching other people confess their sins never fails to be fascinating – and that’s because they’re other people’s sins.

After this ad break, I swear I'll go tell someone the truth. Photo:Herald Sun

There is no worse feeling than the gnawing, tight, gut-wrenching sensation you experience when you know you’ve done the wrong thing, and realise that only you can fix it.

And it’s becoming impossible not to keep searching for some sign of that feeling among all the photos of Lance Armstrong this week. 

Take the photo above the jump; he doesn’t look terribly relaxed on that couch, does he? Are you feeling alright Lance, or would you really just like to throw up right now? That would be fair enough, nobody seems to know what his future holds; there’s even talk of a possible five years in prison and/or being forced to give back every single dollar of his seven Tour winnings.

Then again, it’s hard to say what the right punishment would be given the number of transgressions for which he stands accused.

It’d be great to be able to say that everything is going to be alright in the end, but life doesn’t always work like that. Plus, there are actually several caveats to the notion that “truth will set you free”.

Here’s a few: 

1.You’ve got to get it all out
You can’t pick and choose the bits you want to share, because it’s more than likely that those really ugly bits are the parts that make your mind tick over at night and prevent you from sleeping.

Melbourne psychologist Meredith Fuller told The Punch that the most important part of this process for Armstrong, is to ensure that he gives a full confession - the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

“We don’t hear people say that are sorry very often in our society. We never want to say I was wrong and I lied. So we should respect. Owning up is very good.  It is healing for everyone concerned because it gives us a way to go forward, with standards and ethics and morals and values,” she said.

2. Do it for the right reasons
If you want to feel better about your confession, or just get the best result you can,  do it because you know you should to clear the air and set the path back straight again. Not because you can gain something from it.

Dr Simon Longstaff, director of the St James Ethics Centre in Sydney, said that he hoped the celebrity factor - talking with Oprah - wouldn’t end up working against Armstrong in the end.

“You need to be able to own your decision about whether to speak [the truth] and how to speak it and that means being very wary of where and when and who you speak to,” he said.

This can be a hard distinction for people who may have lied for several years to cover up something they didn’t want to admit, but it’s worth it.

3. Understand the difference it will make to your life

Not only will telling the truth help other people make decisions based on what you’ve shared with them, it will also help you rebuild your own life.

Dr Longstaff said admitting the truth is bound to be terrifying; it can also make you feel ashamed and full of fear for the inevitable blow back – but it’s also mostly very cathartic.

“All in all the relief [you will feel] will be palpable, and you’ll probably sleep better than you have in a very long time.”

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

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    • Mr. Jordon says:

      05:29am | 17/01/13

      I see lots of law suits and even jail time in Armsrtong’s future.

      He sued a UK newspaper who claimed that he was a drug cheat and he won half a million dollars in damages.

      Perjury anyone?

    • cheap white trash says:

      07:19am | 17/01/13

      I no this is of the beaten track,but Armstrong has a lot in common with Climate Scientists.

    • marley says:

      07:36am | 17/01/13

      I believe he also was involved in a court case in the US and made similar statements under oath.  Perjury, indeed.

    • Pedro says:

      08:57am | 17/01/13

      And then there’s Livestrong, his “charity.” Media reports continually say he has stepped down - he has not. Lance is no longer on the board. He still draws a healthy income stream from Livestrong. It “raises awareness.” WTF? It does not research, it does not even provide home help like the nice little McGrath earner.
      If Livestrong goes down the gurgler then LA will only have his considerable savings to fall back on - assuming they are not reduced too much by settling lawsuits.
      His Oprah confession is a crock of sh*& designed by his spinners to keep his nest egg secure.

    • Andrew Scott says:

      05:53am | 17/01/13

      It’s a storm in a thimble, really.

    • Steve the realist. says:

      06:15am | 17/01/13

      The problem is that he probably feels the frustration of being the scapegoat.  He is hardly the only druggy in sport much less cycling.  To say that cycling is now clean is as ridiculous now as it was then.  We all just love being in denial about what it takes to be a sports superstar.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      07:23am | 17/01/13

      Your defence of his is a strew man. Nobody is claiming that he is the only one. Many others have also been busted.

      But he is the only one the sued others and won. He has also destroy the careers of others who outed him.

      Ans so what you are saying is that I can become a sports superstar as long as I take the right drugs.

    • Damien says:

      07:33am | 17/01/13

      Calling Lance Armstrong the scapegoat is like saying the same about Tony Soprano. He is the big boss of this whole thing, the best, most sophisticated doper in history. Yes the others did it, and most of them have been found out. But Armstrong took it to the extreme, and then bullied anyone who dared to challenge him. That’s why it needs to come out, and why there should be no deals or mercy.

    • Nathan says:

      07:34am | 17/01/13

      Tour de France has been won is some of the slowest time recently and are part of much stricter drug testing. I do believe the sport is allot cleaner than it was as it has so many eyes on it now.

      Scapegoats don’t make huge profits running around telling people the are innocent only to be found its a lie. He is not a victim on any level he is a cheat and deserves to be disgraced.

      To give an excuse that everyone else was doing so i did as well is a joke. Would you teach a teenager to give into peer group pressure that easily?

    • Geronimo says:

      06:23am | 17/01/13

      Armstrong must be very disappointed he chose to peddle a career path in fiction and not politics, in Australia, habitually lying politicians are rewarded with Texas Cow Bells.

    • pete says:

      07:29am | 17/01/13

      Meh, are they going to take the TDF titles off people like Merckx and Anquetil. Or anyone else in Armstrong’s era even? Ridiculous to see Pantani, Ullrich and Contador’s titles stand in these circumstances.

      It’s such a farce now, who could even care?

    • vandenberg says:

      12:26pm | 17/01/13

      Pretty sure Contador got his taken off him.  Just ask Andy Schleck.

      As for Merckx and Anquetil: how can you compare a bit of trucker speed with a comprehensive blood doping and EPO program? 

      With Armstrong it’s not so much about the drug use, it’s the massive conspiracy behind it.  The coercion, the destroyed livelihoods, the UCI corruption, the coverups etc etc.

    • kwijybuddha says:

      12:56pm | 17/01/13

      Contador beat Cadel by 23 seconds. What does that say about Cadel, that he could get within 23 seconds?

    • pete says:

      03:17pm | 17/01/13

      Contador had 2010 taken off him. Seriously, he wasn’t suss when he won his other two titles?

    • marley says:

      07:42am | 17/01/13

      I doubt the truth will set Armstrong free, because I doubt he’s going to tell the whole truth. I suspect he’ll do a carefully orchestrated admission that he used drugs, but will blame it on the pressures of the sport.  I doubt he’s going to confess to being the king pin of an organised ring of drug smuggling, using and dealing, or to bullying anyone who challenged him, or to lying under oath in order to win lawsuits.  I think he’ll play the sympathy card, and perhaps try to focus the blame on corrupt ICU officials.  I don’t think he’s capable of real remorse, so I don’t think that telling the truth would set him free in any meaningful sense, because he doesn’t feel any guilt for what he’s done.  Just regret that it’s all come crashing down on him.

    • Brad says:

      07:58am | 17/01/13

      C’mon, he rides a bike.

    • Thephoenix says:

      08:03am | 17/01/13

      I think this advice should be sent to the PM. If Gillard told the truth this year, it could set us all free!

    • Lloyd says:

      08:10am | 17/01/13

      I’m not trolling, but I honestly didn’t know who this guy was until yesterday and my Mum was talking about it and I thought…“the guy that walked on the moon is doing drugs?” As you may guess I don’t follow cycling.

    • Sick Of Him! says:

      12:53pm | 17/01/13

      I knew who he was, but I was honestly sick of the raving about him long before he got outed. He rides a pushbike for goodness sake - there are more worthy “heros” whose feet we should be throwing ourselves at!!  He cheated, he lied and he made money by lying.  His so-called charity was nothing more than a promotion.  Glad he got caught and glad I am not expected to salivate and rush out clad in lycra and ride around on two wheels everytime his name is mentioned!!


      08:11am | 17/01/13

      Hi Lucy,

      Lets get real and note that we all live in the real world most of the time, right?  I have a feeling that whatever Mr Lance Armstrong will still go on to make sort of headlines and generate publicity just the same! Whether he chooses to tell the truth or not, seems so irrelevant right now! I am certain he is enjoying the huge amount of publicity which always comes with personal interviews like Oprah Winfrey and to tell the truth even Ms Oprah Winfrey seemed a little a bit uncomfortable afterwards. 

      And “the truth will set you free” only seems to belong in a very different era when honesty was the best policy and as children we were taught the value of speaking the truth instead of constantly telling lies.  I would like to know how many do care for that kind of mentality anymore?  Even in a court of law if innocent people need legal representation to say to world “hey I am innocent”, it doesn’t mean much!  My favorite saying of all time is that “a man’s word is his honor”, which only seemed to belong in the dark ages!

      Does anyone care to speak about or listen to the ultimate truth anymore?  That all depends on what we see as the plain old truth or the fabricated version of certain events.  The best thing about Mr Lance Armstrong is that he is all smiles as if he has done the most honorable thing! As long as telling the truth might set us free but not make us rich and famous then most of us will stick to the altered version of certain events.  And why not?  It certainly pays off, right?  Kind regards.

    • Faith says:

      08:22am | 17/01/13

      Wow, all the hatred and vilification of this man, you would think he was a serial rapist, murderer or paedofile!

      He took drugs and lied about it. Yes it was wrong and dishonest, but put it into perspective, he harmed himself and if this was not about money, nobody would care.

      Look at all you perfect people commenting here with no faults and no imperfections whatsoever.
      We should all aspire to be like you.

    • AdamC says:

      08:40am | 17/01/13

      Faith, Armstrong is not a rapist or murderer, but he is a cheat and a liar.

      He also cynically he exploited the people, many of them fellow cancer-survivors, who believed in him. For example, the people who worked at his charity, and the people who bought that ridiculous book of his. Lance Armstrong was no accidental role model. He cultivated an entirely fabricated, unwarranted, inspirational image.

      I do not like it when people get too self-righteous or sanctimonious. But what Lance Armstrong did was pretty damn bad.

    • marley says:

      08:45am | 17/01/13

      Yes, he took drugs and lied.  Then he abused and sued people who accused him of taking drugs; lied under oath to win those lawsuits; and now he’s looking for sympathy.  He harmed a lot of people, he seems to have committed perjury, so, you know what, I may not be perfect but I’m better than that.

    • gobsmack says:

      08:23am | 17/01/13

      All cyclists are sneaky, rage-driven, cowardly, arrogant, bullying whingers who display all the worst human characters.  So it is no surprise that their high priest is a cheat.

    • Lie Lover? says:

      08:46am | 17/01/13

      And you are a paedophile. My statement is at least as accurate as yours.

    • gobsmack says:

      09:16am | 17/01/13

      Well there you go.  An example of the mindset of a cyclist who chooses the most reprehensible accusation in a feeble attempt to make a point.

      Sounds like someone must have tooted their horn at Lie Lover (no doubt, for doing something extremely foolish or dangerous) as she cycled her sweaty way to work this morning.  The adrenaline rush hasn’t yet subsided.

      Actually, my statement could be partly true, therefore your statement is not “at least” as accurate as mine.

    • AB says:

      12:58pm | 17/01/13

      Im with Lie Lover,
      You sound like a paedophile

    • Chillin says:

      01:30pm | 17/01/13

      Lie Lover,

      Reprehensible accusations can only be uttered by gobsmack, you must be new around here.

    • Harquebus says:

      08:52am | 17/01/13

      Who cares? Anyone can ride a bike.

    • Peter says:

      08:57am | 17/01/13

      Not sure if the Journo’s of the world are this naive but bike racing in general is rigged (especial the local carnivals) the winner pays off a field of riders to help him win. It’s the unwritten law. They take it in turns. Please do some real Journo investigating as the drugs is small to the way the sport is run. It makes WWE look like a real sport.

    • stephen says:

      04:44pm | 17/01/13

      Well that’s untrue, certainly, as there is really nothing at stake whether at the club level, a rider wins or comes second.
      (When I was racing years ago, the winner would be entitled to either a new tyre - front or rear, take your pick ... and gobsmack, you can have some extra free time to work that one out - or a ticket to the next sausage sizzle.)

      I get the impression that Armstrong confesses now because of, not the cycling folk or the clubs or officials or even the USADA, but because the flak he’s getting from the general public, his family and perhaps the neighbours.

      ps as the song says ... it’s a long way from the top if you can’t rock and roll.

    • NSS says:

      09:05am | 17/01/13

      Agree completely with this article. Old saying - confession is good for the soul. However, qualified confessions, used only to excuse one’s behaviour and resurrect a much tarnished image don’t cut it.

      Sorry Lance, but from what Ms O has already said “he came clean, but not in the manner I expected” , the former would seem to be the case. If you want forgiveness, nothing but total honesty will do, accompanied by reparations and a sincere apology for the harm you’ve caused:  to the sport, other riders, and your admirers.

    • TomW says:

      09:42am | 17/01/13

      4. Accept the consequences of your actions.

      Telling the truth with no atonement is just hot air

    • Mick says:

      10:14am | 17/01/13

      Dodgeball movie has been ruined now

    • Philosopher says:

      12:42pm | 17/01/13

      “Meet my team… Blaze… Lazer… Blazer.” Now how can you ruin that??

    • PJs Ronin says:

      11:09am | 17/01/13

      Why would anyone want to watch some ‘confess’?

      This has nothing to do with honour, integrity or dignity and everything to do with money… both armstrong and winfrey are in it for the $$$.

    • Geoff T says:

      11:37am | 17/01/13

      HIS PUNISHMENT -  Lance Armstrong should be forced to listen to Julia Gillard speeches 4 hours a day, 7 days a week for 12 months !

    • Philosopher says:

      11:57am | 17/01/13

      you’re a sicko! How did this comment get past the moderators? It’s inhuman.

    • Benzo says:

      02:06pm | 17/01/13

      Lance should have the book thrown at him, he is a self centered manipulator, fleecing millions by lying and cheating.
      He will still try and make money off this situation no doubt, I wonder how much he got paid for oprah??

      Oh on a side note you know your on the punch when you get a heap of sycophant libral hacks hijacking a thread on a bike rider to try and bag out the government, but i guess thats to be expected of the pathetic spin docters…


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