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June 27 • Which Guy Am I?

Day 719

It is often more challenging to write on days when I'm feeling good and my addict seems to be keeping his distance (socially or otherwise). I suppose that is normal since a disproportionate percentage of the world's art — from music to acting to paintings — is produced by people shrouded in the darkness of their presents or pasts.

Is that true? Does most art, maybe even most greatness, emanate from people who are hurting more than the rest of us? The more I learn about addiction and depression, and art for that matter, the more I think that the differences are illuminated by the people who have found the strength or courage or even desperation to let their stories be known through their art forms.

I think we all have stories of pain and brokenness, but not everyone has the need or finds the means to express it. Some of them do okay without going public, some live in horrible pain with public humiliations, and some of us start regular meetings with, "My name is Johnny, and I'm a sex addict." I don't really know what the percentages are of troubled people with an artistic release.

Another thing that is hard to do when I'm feeling good and in control (despite what might be true) is minding my own business. The better I feel — the more distance between my smiling face and the last time smiles seemed extinct — the more I want to 'fix' people like me. Step 12 and the twelfth tradition of SAA says that's what we're supposed to do, doesn't it? We are to find ways through our experiences to save the world, aren't we?

There's this one guy, in particular, that is struggling a lot right now. It's everything I can do not to call him several times a day or show up on his doorstep when he doesn't answer. His inner circle weakness is porn, and he talks openly about wondering whether the struggle against his addiction is really any better than just giving in to his urges. After all, it is 'just' porn; it's not unfaithfulness or disease-risking or anything threatening other people.

I wish I'd had the program when I was his age and saying the same things. I wish I could tell him what a shit-load of pain he is headed for if he gives in to his addict. I wish he would listen to me so I could fix him.

But he cannot; he doesn't know which of the many voices he should pay attention to right now, those in his head or those all around him offering advice. And neither can I accomplish my wrench and hammer tricks; he's the only one with the tools, or the ability to get the tools, that will reach his core.

I'll never forget the first time I asked a friend in the program to be my sponsor.

"I will not," was the response, "because I don't think you are serious about recovery."

At first, I thought it was totally insightful to my state of mind because I knew he was right, and of course, everything is about me anyway. But that's not what was most significant in that moment. This guy modeled for me the truth of where recovery must happen. It isn't in the wise control of a sponsor or well-intentioned shares of a fellow addict. He resisted the temptation to allow our friendship to require him to cross that line, which would have been good for neither of us.

That's the only thing I can worry about today.

No, that's not true. I do worry about my friend, and about a lot of people I've met and many more I have not met, that are caught in the jaws of sexual addiction. But I can only be ready to help when they are prepared to be painfully honest and work a program. I must continue walking my own line, and not worry about crossing theirs.

And if that guy is reading this... Don't presume I'm talking to you, or even about you. Your story is not that unique, just like mine.



But there's something about the act of searching

Someone to resonate with when I am hurting

Someone who can see the man behind the curtain

And in the end it's just me, lonely, that's for certain

–Anthony Amorim, “All My Favorite Bands Use Long Song Titles So I Will Too”



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