Not recovering 

Then Recovery Nation said:  Examine your addiction and the role(s) that it has played in your life to date. Look across your life span and identify the progression of the addiction, the sustainment of it, the absence of it and/or the stifling of it. Look at the major transitions that you have experienced (childhood to prepubescent teen; prepubescent teen through teenager; teenager through young adulthood; young adulthood through adulthood; explore also any major traumas that you have endured (parental divorce, sexual abuse, moving to a new school or neighborhood, etc.) and identify the role that addiction (or the rituals that eventually developed into an addiction) played in helping you through that time period. Your goal is to develop a fluid understanding of just how these patterns progressed from early sparks (harmless fantasy, etc.) to an eventual wildfire (e.g. addiction).

Jon Marsh, I just can’t see how to apply this exercise to my situation. I don’t believe my adultery and lying came from addiction. They came from many selfish, amoral, yet conscious decisions I actively made.

Merriam-Webster says the medical definition of “addiction” is:  compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.

After over four years of complete and total abstinence from porn, masturbation, and adultery, I have not experienced even one instance of withdrawal. I have no cravings. It’s not like my wife’s relationship with cola or my one-time relationship with tobacco.

The DSM-5 does not recognize sex addiction.

I have been grateful for Recovery Nation‘s focus on values, and I have used it to organize my thoughts about recovery. But, I just can’t fit a square peg into a round hole; I can’t discuss addiction when I don’t believe it applies to me. I believe that many, but not all, sex addicts are not really addicts. Many are just using the label to avoid admitting they were selfish and amoral.

Now that I think about it, I’m becoming less satisfied with the term “recovery” too. I’m not recovering from some ailment. Rather, I’m learning to be less self-centered and to count my blessings. And, I’m practicing empathy, friendship, and integrity, with an aim to turn those good practices into good habits. I’m not recovering. I’m working on developing morals, values, and integrity.

That said, I will continue working on the Recovery Workshop. Much of it has helped me. But, I’m just going to honestly note when some exercises don’t seem relevant to me.


2 thoughts on “Not recovering 

  1. There is a song, pre d-day, that MC used to love. It was called “The Impression that I Get” by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Somehow, I wonder if that relates here???

    If one feels their life had no traumatic events, no major transitions growing up, then what? We all have seen his description of his mother and being raised to both value everything the LDS church teaches, while being simultaneously taught to despise organized religion of any kind, especially the LDS religious community that controls so much of life in his home town. We truly believe that MC’s mother suffers from OCD to such a degree that it interferes with her ability to function around others in her daily life. Being raised in this way, isn’t that trauma? Just random thoughts.


    1. There is something about the idea of my early life seeming too uneventful that strikes a chord for me. I’m not sure whether or how that relates to adultery and dishonesty. Maybe I created my own perceived problems in some sick attempt to add color to my life. That would fit with my habit of not counting my blessings.


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