Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Hallway

A funny (?) thing happened at this year's Unity Conference, a 12-step recovery gathering for sex addicts (SA) and those impacted by living with or having lived with a sexually addicted or compulsive individual (S-Anon).  The hotel where the event was held also booked another major conference.  That in itself is not note-worthy, except that the other conference was an international ballroom dancing competition.

The halls that led to our breakout rooms were filled with men and women in incredibly skimpy attire--not the ballroom dancing gowns I remember!  Even the public restrooms and lobby were filled with competitors with lots and lots of exposed skin, tight-fitting clothing and exaggerated make-up.  It created a minefield of danger for our conference attendees.

But an amazing thing happened.  Men and women working hard to recover from a progressive disease took extraordinary measures to maintain their sobriety in the face of this unexpected challenge.  They found other ways to get to the breakout rooms; they avoided The Hallway at all costs.  It was inconvenient and even silly to go outside the hotel and walk all the way around it to get to a door leading directly into the desired room.  But they did.

And I learned an important lesson:  a man or woman in recovery will do all they can to stay away from The Hallway of temptation.  For you see a relapse or slip in sex addiction does not mean a momentary lustful thought, a small window of porn viewing, masturbation or one visit to a strip club.  It can and often does lead to a binge of out-of-control behavior.  For those of us who do not struggle with an addiction, this may seem extreme or foreign but for those who second-by-second contend with this monstrous disease know it as their reality 24/7.

Staying away from The Hallway means that the person in recovery won't:
  • underestimate the severity and complexity of his disease or over-estimate his ability to control it.
  • minimize the power of temptation or inflate his ability to resist.
  • deny that The Hallway exists or deceive himself into believing that it is safe for him to enter.
So hats off to all those brave men and women who daily choose the long way around rather than risking the dangers of The Hallway.  Theirs is a courageous, gut-wrenching battle with huge implications for failure.  I'm grateful for the opportunity of knowing brave hearts who daily prove that addiction can be beaten with vigilance, courage and a tenacious commitment to staying out of The Hallway.

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