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April 13 • Porn Hunter

Day 644 For more than 640 days, I have been sober from sexually acting out. I haven't had a drink — a gateway to much of my misbehaviors — in more than 550 days. I even stopped playing video games 544 days ago, eliminating one of my primary sources of isolation. Yay, rah.

After all that, I still have secrets. Far, far fewer than 600 days ago, but if it's true that I am as sick as my secrets are thick, then I cannot claim to be healthy, not yet.

I think of these remaining hideouts of my soul, almost all of which are from my childhood, as more of a dry cough than a raging illness. Of course, that's apparently one of the first signs of the COVID virus. Am I allowing these potholes on Recovery Road to linger because I do not have the courage to share them, or am I just too lazy to do the work?

It feels more like embarrassment over the seemingly silly things I did. I've convinced myself over the years that everyone was doing the same things, so I still think in those terms. And who wants to waste their time hearing silly things when there are so many more important things to talk about and work out?

My untold stories are filled with hours spent in a rotating routine of magazine racks and bookstores looking for the photos to thrill me and the erotic tales to feed my frenzy. I've never told anyone about finding a racy ' True Detective ' magazine in one of our cars once and how often after that, I would go through our house looking for any trace of erotica, always believing that where there was a little, there must be a lot more. I also found the stashes of porn in my friends' houses, usually after snooping in places I shouldn't be snooping. All that time, I maintained my righteousness by not paying for any of it; if it was free on the shelf or found stuffed between mattresses, then it must have been okay for me to use and escape into those special places.

Like any fatal illness, sexual addiction seems to begin with no warning, except for the first warning. I'd like to think I've moved on from those earliest compulsivities. But it's a little revealing to acknowledge that those secrets I've released rarely come back to my mind. Those secrets I still hoard, whether from decades ago or more recent, are frequent visitors to that place where my shadow still sleeps. Are there healthy secrets? I'd like to think so, but I doubt it more and more everyday. – JR

April 13 • Porn Hunter
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