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August 23 • Preach It, Brother

Day 776

Well, that was a little weird. I just watched a friend of mine, a fellow sex addict, preach. I have known several preachers to have what we euphemistically would refer to as a ' public moral failure,' but it just dawned on me today that I can't remember ever having listened to one of them preach after they were 'restored' to the pulpit. That lack was not on purpose; it's just how the paths of living life took us in different directions.

Of course, the likelihood is nearly 100% that I have heard fallen preachers preach without knowing their particular circumstances. The strange thing for me this morning was not about the preacher and his baggage; it was about how I listened differently, knowing what I know.

The silly thing about this is that every man that's ever preached is fallen and broken in some way

"...we all fall short of the glory of God, etc..."

so the only thing really different here is that I have some knowledge of this man's addiction and recovery, and I know that he knows about mine. See, this is a little weird even to try to explain.

Upping the ante just a bit is my wife sitting next to me and suggesting that this preacher seems to know what I'm going through, based on some of his comments about pornography and addictions. Do I violate his anonymity and confirm her suspicions, ignore her, or tell another little white lie? When she asked me directly if I knew this guy from my 12 Step meetings, I told her that if I did, I could not confirm that, which she accepted. I wonder whether I would have answered the same if it was just a random guy I met in line at Walmart and wanted to hear him preach. I probably would have said something snarky about "...not everyone I know is a sex addict. Jeeze..."

After church was over, I asked this preacher if I could share in general terms how I knew him, just because I felt like I was skating on the thin ice of not being able to give my wife straight answers. He graciously agreed, but it is a flag to me that the more comfortable I am in the program and with my new friends, that I need to be better prepared with truthful answers that do not put my fellow addicts in jeopardy.

It's a strange problem. I appreciate the efforts of others to protect the anonymity of all of us, so I'm pleased to have this relatively safe incident remind me of my commitment to this key concept — the 12th Tradition — that protects those of us in the program, and those who are not yet in the program.



Do you know, who's that guy, who's all alone?

Do you care enough to see? He's in pain and misery...

Do you care to see?

Do you know, who's that guy, who's all alone?

–Millencolin, “The Ballad”



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