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September 07 • My Catalog of Sin

Day 791

I have identified some 'slippage' in my recovery. I have acknowledged it to myself, but I do not want to write it down, and I'm not sure why I resist doing that unless that means I'll have to do something about it.

In short, it has to do with my eyes. I don't want to do anything inappropriate, I'm not creating new fantasies, and it seems harmless. Still, I'm pretty sure it qualifies as a slippery slope and something I'll probably need to add to my middle circle.

When I was in sixth grade, my friend and I had this game we'd play that we knew was wrong, but it was also harmless, so we laughed our way through it and dared each other to keep turning the pages. No, we were not passing around a Playboy magazine; we were into the Sears catalog. We would dance our way through the women's clothing pages, especially the lingerie section, and then we'd take turns identifying the most attractive or compelling lady on each page.

What I've been doing now seems all too familiar to that, except I'm lots older, and that memory still seems like a kid's game. Instead of a catalog, it's social media, and when I see a female name I don't recognize, I click on it to see how attractive she might be. That's all. Honest. But the problem is it feels a lot like a compulsion. I tell myself I'm not going to do that, even if just for safety's sake, and then I do it again moments later.

I've done some reading on the brain's pleasure centers and how they can influence the smallest of decisions for what seems like the smallest of reasons. After reading and researching, I still don't understand it, except that it is a biochemical response to stimulation, and different people have pleasure center's that respond to different things and some more potent than others. When it becomes compulsive and destructive is when we start talking about addictions.

I want to believe it is no more than what our society has celebrated in movies and songs as 'Girl Watching.' And then I become afraid that this is exactly what it is, and that the more harmless we can make it seem, the more addicted we get to that little rush, that brief moment. One leads to another and to another, then to bolder behaviors because the catalog is no longer enough.

I'm not a doctor, I'm not an expert, and I don't know whether that pleasure center stuff is true. What I do know is that it rings true for me; that's what it feels like in my head. I don't feel turned-on by these sights or tempted in any way, except to look and keep on looking. It just feels good. And I know that the more I do it, the more my mind slips into territories that I know are so very dangerous for me.

I've been telling my Higher Power about more and more of these 'harmless' infringements against myself. I've shared some in meetings and with sponsors. Now I'm sharing it with me. I hope I'm a good listener.



I'm the cat that got the cream

Haven't got a girl but I can dream

Haven't got a girl but I can wish

So I'll take me down to Main street

And that's where I select my imaginary dish

–Dean Martin, “Standing on the Corner”



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