The Outer Circle – Part 2

We’re headed into the holiday season here in the States, which is a challenging time for all of us, addicts and “normies” alike. So it’s a good time to be writing part 2 of my post on the outer circle because 90% of the trouble we ALL have is due to poor self care.

Breaking the outer circle down into sections is, in my opinion, the only way to go. After listening to Patrick Carnes on the cd my therapist gave me when I was in treatment, I was able to divide and conquer my outer circle by coming up with 3 or 4 activities to put in each section.

  1. Spirituality
  2. Passion
  3. Nurturing
  4. Sensuality
  5. Self Image
  6. Self Definition
  7. Comfort
  8. Knowledge
  9. Relationship
  10. Partnership
  11. Non-genital Sex
  12. Genital Sex


  1. I’m really interested in these circles, but my computer won’t pick up one of your pictures and I’m confused about what exactly they are. What is the therapy modality they’re a part of? Could you post a little more about where to find information? Thanks! And glad things are going well for you.

    • The three circles are explained at length in the SAA Green Book. SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) is one of the 12-step fellowships that focuses on sexual addiction. Therapists also use the three circles as a tool. I don’t know that it’s a part of any therapy modality; although Patrick Carnes discusses it in his books and most CSA’s that I know of use it as a recovery tool.

  2. What appeals to me about the list is that the outer circle is as much about attitude as it is activity. It reminds me of the Castaneda quote, “Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.”

    It’s like we have to learn how to redefine “happiness,” or what the heart wants. When I reconnected with what my heart wanted, my inner circle behaviors seemed to be “of no use.”

    The kicker, or irony, is that as my recovery progressed, those inner circle behaviors became boring and unsatisfying, while the outer circle started filling up with activities that gave me peace, and even joy. And they were definitely related to, for instance, your top three on the list. Those sections became what was important, and the related activities evolved naturally, sometimes things I’d never even tried before.

    It’s like I left “Cleveland” (a metaphor, sorry!), and found something more profound to do then go the the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Does that make sense?

  3. Hi JB,

    Actually, I don’t abstain from sex. One of the difficulties of sex addiction is that quite often, acting out sex and healthy sex looks exactly the same. And unfortunately, compulsively NOT having sex isn’t particularly healthy either.

    As for the atheism, it’s not really a position I take. It’s more a reality that I see. And once seen, it can’t be unseen.

    Thanks for reading the blog! It’s so nice to know that there are other human beings out there and that I’m not just talking to myself!

  4. Hi GentlePath,

    I came across your blog on google. I read a little of your blog and just want to say that it’s commendable of you to abstain from sex. I’m curious to know why you’re an atheist, though. I’ve been on both sides of the fence, but I found it intellectually and emotionally unsatisfying to take the leap for atheism. In a sense, it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation that can drive a person mad.

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