Help. Hope. Healing.

A Matter of Courtesy

By Rex Goode


One of the features of a sexual addiction, and probably any addiction, is difficulty with clear thinking. When addiction reigns, thoughts are unpredictable and often not grounded in truth. That is one of the reasons that the twelve steps refer to restoring a person to sanity.

This impaired thinking must then necessarily lead to impaired behavior and perceptions. One example of this is the mindset related to use of time and freedom. As with most addict impaired thinking, everything lives in the extremes.

Regarding the use of time and freedom, it has been a long tradition in our home that everyone who lives in the home is required to keep everyone else apprised of their whereabouts. If I’m going to the store, I let someone at the house know that’s what I’m doing. If, while I’m at the store, I discover that that store doesn’t have what I needed, I let someone know I’m going to another store and will be later than I first estimated.

After work, I either come straight home or I call my wife and tell her where I’ll be. Now this has nothing to do with my sexual addiction. It’s a matter of courtesy and she does the same.

There’s no checking up, no lack of trust behind this practice. I’ve been surprised to learn that other families don’t do this. I’ve been especially surprised when husbands don’t think they have any responsibility for letting their wives know where they’ll be and when they can be expected home.

Mind you, I’m not talking about a lack of freedom here. When I tell my wife where I’ll be, it’s a statement, not a request for permission. 

My adult children still under my roof also know this is a requirement for living there. They also understand that it isn’t a lack of trust. It’s courteous and thoughtful to people who might be waiting for you for whatever reason.

It should also be understood that we’re not so strict about this that we have to file detailed itineraries. In our jobs, my wife and I are both out with clients all over the city. We give a general idea of where we’ll be and our best estimate for when we’ll be home. When I’m done with my clients and heading home, I call her and let her know. She does the same.

So, why even mention this when talking about sex addiction? As I said, living in the extremes is a hallmark of sexual addiction. At one extreme is the man or woman who never gives a thought to when people at home might be expecting him. He wants his freedom and feels it’s unfair to be asked to inhibit that freedom by checking in at home. At the other end is the spouse who demands to know where he is every moment and bases her feelings of security on knowing and believing these reports. Neither extreme is healthy or helpful for addict or spouse.

As with all recovery, striving for balance between the extremes of impaired thinking should be every addict’s goal. Sit down as a couple and even as a family and talk about how to show proper respect and courtesy regarding use of time and freedom.

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One Response to “A Matter of Courtesy”

  1. Springs Of Water » The Infamous They said:

    […] Make it a policy to always let each other know where you’re going to be. I describe this in A Matter of Courtesy. […]

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