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September 09 • Public vs Private

Day 793

Sometimes I wonder whether I have the right to be anonymous in my recovery from sexual addiction. I think that question comes from two places that are still very unsettled.

"Hey everybody, it's me. I'm a sex addict in recovery, and I'm here to help."

Breaking this down, I suspect that any motivation that comes out of my slithering shame should not be trusted. Shame is more likely to begat more shame than it is to provide relief from itself. I've seen that play out too many times already through distorted desires and lies that linger.

As for the ego-driver, it seems like every time I get caught up in thinking I'm all that and I can change the world or at least the room, I hurt someone. Not on purpose, but my ability to walk in other people's shoes — to see the dangers to the very lives I'm trying to offer protection and care — goes out the window.

For me to 'humble' myself with public disclosures in the interest of reaching other addicts, I would also be causing irreparable harm to people that I would unwittingly be drawing into my quagmire. From co-workers to neighbors, a wide net of suspicion would be cast over every woman in my life with whispers of whether she was one of my victims, partners, or other un-innocent participants in my addictive life of wrongs.

How much of that is clear thinking and how much of that is excuse-making, I do not know with certainty. But once I stand up and say 'look at me' to anyone who will listen, I cannot undo whatever comes next. Sometimes that risk is worthwhile, and other times it's just stupid.

For now, I will trust the program and the wisdom of decades of fellow addicts, and remain anonymous in my recovery, except in those instances where no further harm will be done. I've been open with my family and a couple of close friends. Some of that has been for accountability and some because there were legitimate needs to know.

It is not like me to walk carefully through minefields, and I have the scars to show for that. I hope this approach to my recovery is born of the new skills and values I am learning from the program and my new friends.



Everyday is so wonderful

Then suddenly

It's hard to breathe

Now and then I get insecure

From all the pain

I'm so ashamed

–Christina Aguilera, “Beautiful”



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