top of page

May 14 • Grading My Three Circles

Day 675

When I read something today about the Three Circles as promoted by Sex Addicts Anonymous, I was reminded that I've not seriously reviewed mine since I committed them to a JPEG over a year ago. I can't even remember more than a few of the items I would have put in my middle circle, that space where I identified behaviors that would most likely point me in wrong directions that could easily take me into the inner circle of my addiction. I'm writing this opening paragraph before I pull out my visual reference, hoping that this will give me the courage to finish this grading entry with specificity. Here goes...

  • Gaming: I haven't played video chess or any sort of escape solo gaming in about eighteen months. The only exception was one round of Galaga in my brother-in-law's basement on an antique machine that just had to be played. Maybe two rounds. B-

  • Bar Visits: Zero. A+

  • Searching maps for sex-oriented businesses like massage parlors: Zero. A+

  • Allowing Fantasies: My mind can pop into the world of what-ifs easily and often, but I continue to work hard at not lingering there. I have affirmations, prayers, even song lyrics that I recite in those moments, and so far, I'm freer of these invaders than I've been since I was a kid. B+

  • Masturbation: When I first went into recovery, I bought into the justification that this solo behavior was acceptable as a function of physical and mental health. Then I realized that I couldn't get happy without a deep dive into my fantasy world. It's been nineteen months since I lost that 'Contest.' A-

  • Unabated sexualizing: This has merged with the 'Allowing Fantasies' item, and the answer is the same. B+

  • Pornography: Intentional use or viewing of pornography has not happened in more than 600 days, but I have experienced titillation from the unexpected scene in a movie or incidental/accidental image that pops up in a web browser innocently. I've not yet been triggered by any of it, which shocks me. B+

  • Hiding/Isolation: Then, there's that. I haven't found the boundary line yet, but I'm sure I spend too much time on the wrong side of it. However, it is also part of my introverted personality, and I'm learning to not beat myself up over it, so I'm okay with the progress made. C+

  • Lying: Crap. My failures here have been so much less than in the past, but it's such an essential item, I can't take a pass. The search for rigorous honesty in all things continues. C

  • Conflict Avoidance through Passive Aggressiveness: This was a major separate thing a couple of years ago, but it's hard to sort this apart from lying. I am much better than I used to be, but far further from where I want to be. C

  • Alcohol: I haven't had a sip, except for communion at a church that uses the real stuff. But my red flag here is how much I miss it, and how good the sound of 'a little too much' on a Saturday night still sounds. B+

  • Flirting: I think I've made a lot of progress here, but probably not as much as I believe, and certainly less than my wife thinks. Working on it. B

Done! I don't know how I feel about that little exercise right now. Some of it was painfully reminiscent of what I've done, and some of it I could get self-righteous about real quick. And then there are the things that came to mind that aren't on the list. Reviews are good. Next time we pull out the Circles, we'll look at the outside ring to see how I'm doing on the good things to do. And just for the record, NO incidents from my inner circle; thought I should mention that.




bottom of page