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September 29 • Selfing Secrets

Day 813

I am still careful about what I share in 12 Step meetings. I try to be rigorously honest, and I am doing better overall than I was a year ago, but it's still hard to trust all those addicts to keep my darkest secrets.

How arrogant is that!?

Maybe there are other reasons I withhold information about my addiction, reasons I do not yet understand. But maybe I'm still a cowardly addict at heart. That is not a slam against myself as much as it is an observation. Not allowing me to make that observation would be another step toward denying it, and I'm trying to stop lying to myself as well as to everyone else.

Lying is not the issue, but I do tend to leave out details that might be pertinent. For example, I would not list pornography as one of my baseline behaviors for months into my recovery. It wasn't because I wasn't a user, but compared to the other things I was doing it was small potatoes. Then, as I worked on my First Step, I began understanding the role porn played in my life as a child and how I embraced the internet as a source of porn later in life. It was huge. But I had already staked my place in recovery as 'not one of those guys' so how could I change that without looking like I was lying to start with. In the first place, that's the wrong thing for me to worry about, yet I do.

I still have trouble using the 'M' word in any of my shares. That particular act of acting out on myself influenced everything in my life, from my choice of hotels, to when I would take showers, to the ubiquitous fantasies I would choose to indulge in all day long. But I can't get myself to talk about that in meetings, groups, therapy, or anywhere else. I know I justified it. I believed that it was harmless long into recovery, but the more I wrestled with why I am here, the more I realized that 'M'ing (I can't even freaking spell it) was a major part of my addiction for decades. So why can't I share this as openly as many of the other guys can? I don't know, but I bet I will learn if I keep working the program and trusting the process. I don't even know whether I need to share this part of my secret, but the pattern has been that the more I justify my silence on any issue, the more there is that I need to deal with surrounding that issue.

I do not feel the immediate need to turn the volume up on this silence, but I do recognize the need to keep it on the list of things to give voice to at some point.



Far away in a silent land

Secret thoughts are hard to bear

Remember me, you'll understand

Emotions we can never share

–Bob Dylan, “Tell Ol' Bill"



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