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October 15 • TEDed Again

Day 829

Those damn Ted Talks!

I don't listen to a lot of Ted Talks, mostly because they are such the fad, and I feed my image of uniqueness by trying to avoid those things that everyone else is doing. I also resist them because I don't think I can handle drinking from a firehose. I get enough moments of ah-ah and inspiration from the garden gulper of my 12 Step meetings; I can only do so much introspection as an audience member being seduced by a skilled orator with amazing life experiences. Blah blah blah.

Obviously, I watched a Ted Talk this morning. I didn't mean to, but one of my kids had posted this thing from some lady named Nora McInerny. I know nothing about her beyond what I just heard, and I hope she doesn't mind being included in a post about sexual addiction, but she spoke some truth that is haunting me, revelations that she learned at the fountain of misery.

The context for me is trying to live with the shame of being a sex addict. I think I'm doing pretty good recovering from the shame of my behaviors that led me to the 12 Step program and a whole world of new friends, but... I am still ashamed of being a sex addict, and I still recoil at the idea presented in The Promises that the time will ever come when I will...

"...not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it."

And I'm certain that I will never be able to be thankful that I am a sex addict, as I've heard several people who are deep into their recovery and long-lasting sobriety claim to be.

Let's get back to Nora.

Ms. McInerny is an attractive lady with a minivan full of kids. She presents well, and something is compelling about her story and how she tells it with that petri dish wisdom of experience, pain, and joy. Her life was great until her husband, Aaron, died six years ago. I need to quote the rest of what she said that spoke so dramatically to me:

"So, when I say that 'Aaron is...' it is because Aaron still is. He's present for me in the work that I do, in the child that we had together, in these three other children that I'm raising, who never met him...but are only in my life because I had Aaron, and because I lost Aaron. He's present in my marriage to Matthew, because Aaron's life and love and death made me the person that Matthew wanted to marry. So, I've not moved on from Aaron, I've moved forward with him..."

As I re-watched this section several times, I began replacing her husband's name with "my grief about being an addict," trying to find the poker she used to punch my recovery buttons. The last time I watched the video, I replaced his name with 'my addiction' and immediately started writing this.

I certainly do not mean any disrespect to Aaron. I'd like to think that this is one more stone on the virtual memorial carin being built because he is still 'present' in Nora's life.

I have already acknowledged that I hate myself less and even love myself more than I ever did prior to facing my sexual addiction.

Is my addiction gone? Of course not. Is it being used to make me a better person who might become better able to make life better for someone else? It suddenly seems possible.

I've been close to this point before, but this seems next-level stuff.

Can I truly be sorry about the things I've done and times I've hurt people, and still embrace the me that incorporates those experiences, not to mention being able to not feel shame at being an addict? That all seems like a tall order, but it does connect some more dots for me.

I'm also aware that the regret keeps me in the past, and I know that's not where I need or want to be. Some of this is the result of what we do in recovery, and some is the goal. Maybe sorting that out will bring more clarity.

None of this parsing will change the facts of what I've done, nor the truth of what I need to do. The journey from and toward those realities will help me stay sober, so today, I will stay on this journey and on the wagon.



And each day I learn just a little bit more

I don't know why but I do know what for

If we're all going somewhere let's get there soon

Oh this song's got no title just words and a tune

–Elton John, ”This Song Has No Title"



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