Shame, apologies, amends

For years, I was deeply ashamed. I believed my desires were shameful, contemptuous. I desperately struggled to suppress those desires. And ultimately, I ended up acting them out.

And in the end, I was ashamed of the wrong things.

I believed that I was a bad person because I wanted to be ministered to sexually, because I wanted my cock to receive endless attention, because I had a nearly infinite appetite for sex, for sexual variety, for women.

This was wrong.

I did many things for which I feel profound regret, and many of them were inspired by that deep sense of shame. But in the end, there is no shame in desire.

If there is anything for me to be ashamed of, it is that I behaved selfishly, stupidly. That I acted on my desires, rather than observe them. (Not all desires are best un-fulfilled, but some are.) And that I deceived not just myself, but those I love.

I had a close friend with whom I worked. Our story is long, and painful. For me and for him. Though we are civil today, he hasn’t really spoken to me in several years now.

Recently, he confessed to me the utter depth of his anger at me. He is angry because, without going into details, I wronged him twice: once, when, several years before the end of my march through the tunnel of addiction and despair, he asked me, point blank, if I had an addiction problem, and I replied, “No.” And then again, when I, to his mind, abandoned him professionally.

I don’t think he had anything in mind, don’t think he was giving voice to a suspicion when he asked me that question. Rather, I think he was doing what people in law and finance call “due diligence.” He was about to embark on a new professional relationship with me (we were former colleagues, and remained good friends), and he simply wanted to tick a box – “N. isn’t an addict. OK.”

Now I don’t recall his asking this question, I don’t recall answering it. But I’m sure he did, and I’m sure I did.

How do I apologize for this? How do I say, “I’m sorry I was blind, deceived, deluded”? Or is apology the wrong construct? Isn’t what I need to do, really, to make amends?

Isn’t a lie an untruth told willfully?

What is a self-deception broadcast widely?


  1. Don’t you think the first step before you are able to make amends would be to apologize? If this conversation in which he expressed his anger was recent, it could be an indication that the door remains slightly open between the two of you.

    As you’ve described the situation, I’m not surprised by the years of not speaking. It would be quite difficult for someone in his situation to come to a point of forgiveness (if ever), without hearing these words.

    You show profound self reflection in this post, N. Speaking to him about it would certainly allow him to understand a fuller truth than simply the side of the story he knows, and that which he’s tried to fill in.

    It sounds like you’re open to it… perhaps it’s time to see if he is.



    1. Oh, I’ve apologized more times than you could imagine. Left, right, sideways.

      And I’ve actually TALKED with him about all this before. It’s only just now, though, that he’s owned up to this very specific sense of a wound. He previously had described himself as feeling broadly betrayed, in a way that I actually found a bit hard to grasp. I now understand better just how he feels wounded, just why: he feels I explicitly lied to him, and he’s angry. I get that.

      I think our friendship will recover. It’s been three and a half years since the rupture began. I suspect we’ve got another rough 12-18 months ahead of us. But I’m confident we’ll be friends again.

      Alas, these things can’t be rushed.

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