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August 20 • My Slip is Showing

Day 773

I try hard to promote an environment in my home that encourages questions about my sexual addiction, or at least the freedom to ask those questions. But the truth is that I hate having to revisit the memories — real, perceived, or forgotten — and I often have an initial adverse reaction to unexpected inquiries, which helps neither the freedom nor my marriage.

My wife heard that my son and I talked about taking our spelunking habit to Viet Nam in a couple of years to tour the world's largest cave. She confronted me about that this morning, and let me know that she was not at all happy about how cavalier I was about talking of a trip to an Asian country. I acted like I didn't realize that she was associating this to all my visits to Asian massage parlors. I told her that I had not even made that connection because, to the best of my knowledge, I've never even met a Vietnamese woman, much less in a massage parlor. I lied, but not about meeting a Vietnamese sex worker; that is true, as far as I know. I lied that it had not crossed my mind that this is what she was thinking about.

My justification for denying was that the idea of going to Viet Nam or China or Thailand does nothing for me in the way of triggering my addiction or memories of dark rooms and inappropriate behaviors. It just doesn't. So if it wasn't about my addiction, why should I have to accept the path she took as legitimate?

Because it was legitimate, and because it was the truth. I had anticipated that she might go there, and I still wasn't ready to receive her questions and move on. So I lied and turned it into an unpleasant moment, and subsequently, into a difficult day for me. It wasn't difficult because of the connection between Asian women and massage parlors; it was difficult to admit to myself that I had lied. Again.

I know I had lied, because when I texted the idea of the trip to my son, he replied,

"Me luv u long time."

It took a few seconds to remember that his response was a line from the movie Full Metal Jacket and a scene where a Vietnamese prostitute propositioned some American Marines. Again, that did not trigger me at all, except that it took me longer to recall the scene and film than it should have for any self-respecting movie trivia buff. That's all. And this time I'm telling the truth.

Ironically, the topic in my meeting this morning was set by a young man that wanted some experience, strength, and hope around his struggles with letting a little slip in his recovery instantly turn a good day into a bad one. Even that should have given me a little notice, enough that I could have couraged-myself-up to tell the truth from the get-go if the subject came up.

Now I have to go admit this to my wife. It's too late to save the day, but it's never too late to tell the truth.

I hope.



Between my pride and my promise

Between my lies and how the truth gets in the way

The things I want to say to you get lost before they come

The only thing that's worse than one is none

–Linkin Park, “In Between”



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