As I vacationed at the beach this past week, I had the opportunity to see National Geographic Explorer Photo Journalist Brian Skerry give a presentation entitled “Ocean Soul”. Mr. Skerry drew us into his world of inspiration with a boyhood photo of himself when he was about 6 or 7 years of age. He shared his boyhood dream when the ocean first captured his imagination. He proceeded to tell us with words and his poignant images the oceanic world that has captivated his dreams and his life’s work which has spanned the globe with National Geographic Explorations.
At the end of this dramatic photo story he was asked “Which photo is your favorite?”
He said that he has two favorites. One is a photo of his assistant standing on the floor of the sub-arctic ocean region underneath a huge Right whale larger than a school bus (over 45 feet long and weighing over 70 tons). It was such an incredible historic photo that the making of the photo became a Youtube.com phenomenon. His second favorite is that of a shark trapped off the coast of Japan in a commercial fishing net. The shark had expired in that commercial net. The positioning of the giant shark looked flayed as if it was a crucifix. The image was haunting to Mr. Skerry. He felt both pictures told a story that he hopes his photo journalism can tell with a message he hopes to get out with his work. He hopes that people will understand the sea can be scary, but it can be a place of wonderment and liberty. The sea, while at times frightening, can be freeing. He related his wish to help people understand that we need to do what we can to help life, educate, and effect change.
My thoughts about sex addiction treatment and this very blog contain similar messages that I hope to convey about sex addiction and recovery. I wish that I could have the photo images of people who struggle with addiction to share in the way Mr. Skerry related his messages of marine life. I wish that I could show the image of the person who first comes to me scared to venture into the fearful waters of their addictive behaviors. Sometimes a therapist knows that death stare of a person who has lost their soul to addiction. Michael Fassbender’s character in the movie “Shame” so poignantly portrayed that vacant death stare, the emptiness of a soul robbed of life in pursuit of gluttony that does not pay off. I have seen that stare walk into my office many times.
I wish I could also relate the photos of people after they venture into the once-fearful and decidedly murky waters of recovery. Mr. Skerry described the sea as “liberating”. This world is a very different world vibrant and teeming with life force. The sea is not a fearful place but one of freedom for him. The same could be said for the “Waters of Recovery”. I wish I could show the joyful faces when one gets on board for the journey of work which gives freedom from the snares of addiction. When one enters sobriety it can be as fearful as the ocean depths but an attitude of curiosity and open wonderment can help one adjust and acclimate. The living waters can be redemptive if one has a curiosity to enter the murky depths primed for exploration. Recovery has its own soulful experience. Dive in! I have seen the images of proof in my office.