12 goalsI got the idea for No More Secrets  from my own life experience. When my life fell apart from an addiction that just would not quit, I was blessed to be swooped up into the loving arms of legendary basketball coach and NBA player John Lucas. John’s own struggles with addiction and his subsequent recovery had led him to create the first treatment program for professional athletes and people from the basketball world. His program was the forerunner for all the professional player assistance programs that exist today in every major sport. Even before I decided to enter treatment in March 1991, John was bringing people to me who I had known through the basketball world who shared their stories of experience, strength and hope with me in hopes that I would become just willing enough to try recovery. By the grace of God I did. That was over two decades ago, one day at a time.

John’s program went way beyond just going to treatment for thirty days. It was a full continuum of care which included a residential half-way house, daily group meetings, basketball workouts, one on one counseling and going to 12 step meetings. For me being immersed in that recovery community created a safe venue for me to heal and it saved my life. I believed John’s model was transferable when I set up shop in 1999 in Redmond Washington.

As John was escorting me into his hospital based treatment program he said to me words that have stuck with me ever since: “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” It’s been my mantra ever since.

University of Houston researcher and author Dr. Brené Brown says in her book the “Gift Of Imperfection,” that the definition of shame is the fear of disconnection, and Dr. Patrick Carnes writes in his 1983 seminal book on sexual addiction, ‘’Out of the Shadows,” that one of the sex addict’s four core beliefs is that ‘no one would love me if they knew me.’ Using all this as an operational system I set out to create a community that deals with excruciating vulnerability.

Our first group started in 2002. We had two attorneys, a neurosurgeon, two high school teachers, a PhD in computer science, a real-estate broker, two software developers, and a high ranking state employee who had gotten caught looking at adult pornography on the job and was on administrative leave. Two of the ten were never married, two were in the process of being divorced by their wives because of their sexual behavior, and the rest were in a state of panic to save their marriages and family. As their world was crashing down around them they said what every man in that situation says to his very angry spouse: I’m sorry, I promise I’ll never do it again and please don’t leave me. It is an almost universal response. The collateral victims of this illness were the eleven children connected to these men. As Dr. Brown also says, “stories are data with a soul.”

Over the course of the past eleven years NMS has had over 175 men sit in our circles. Their behaviors have been wide in nature. I deal with sex and love addicted men and their families. We have had 16 different groups during this period and I have guided countless men into a life of recovery while preserving many marriages and families.

My role is clear; it is to mentor each man to help himself. To assist them to find that voice of what is good that already exists inside of them so that they can lead a life of integrity, honesty, transparency with morals and good judgment. I believe that every wife should be living in an affair proof marriage whether that “other” is pornography or another person. I tell each man who sits with me that at the of the day they all suffer from an intimacy disorder and in order to heal this they need to heal it in the company of men. They need to learn to not harm themselves or anyone else. They need to learn to say what they mean and mean what they say and finally how to be sane, safe and sober from all addictive distractions. I believe that it does in fact take a village to raise an addict and that NMS is that village. When people ask me what I do for a living I respond: I build community for people whose antidote for profound loneness is to isolate. All I can offer is a chance and a choice.

Jay Parker
Recovery Coach & Consultant

No More Secrets is a non-discriminatory program, everyone is welcome regardless of their sexual orientation.