My father told me years ago that there were three kinds of people in the world. The first kind were people who learned from watching others make mistakes and then internalized someone else’s misfortunes and avoided them at all costs. Kind of like walking down the road and seeing road kill that resembles a close friend, one would think twice about proceeding down that road. The second kind were people who learned from their own mistakes, who let life be a teacher, kind of like when a child touches a hot stove and learns to temper impulses before touching a stove again. And lastly there are people who never learn at all!
I love the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was originally copyrighted in 1939 and is now in its fourth edition. The first 164 pages of this 570 something page book has never changed over the years. These 164 pages are known as the basic text. They are the real meat and potatoes of how to get and stay sober from alcoholism. Powerful stuff! Every word on every page also applies to sex and love addiction.
On page 24 there is an entire italicized paragraph that reads in part: “We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.”
In AA meetings across the land you’ll hear old timers say that the reason they keep going to meetings is to remember why they have to keep going to meetings! Addicts get amnesia. Having addicts work on remembering their “Kodak” moment is essential for them to never doing it again, considering that addicts have a habit of not learning from their own mistakes and that amnesia comes way too easy.
It is no different for sex and love addicts. I have heard countless stories of the insanity of this addiction and the ease in which people forget. Denial is an essential component of this dis-ease. We in NMS work really hard to break down the denial system that tell people who do know right from wrong that it’s ok to do bad behavior.
In the second year of the program I have each man write in his own words and in his own style an account of his Kodak moment. The exact moment in time when he realized that the gig was up and he was going to have to do something in order to change. It is a very sobering moment, but it’s also one that needs to be remembered. To begin again, one must know where one ended!
This is a journey from shame to grace. The power of choice can be restored, and for all of us who trudge this road of happy destiny. You will find peace.