In the world of twelve-step programs, there's a ubiquitous construct: the "inner addict." The inner addict is a sort of alter ego, a misanthropic, narcissistic Mr. Hyde to our better, more welcome sense of ourselves as a benevolent Dr. Jekyll. The "inner addict" is the source of all the insanity, the lies, the self-deception, of which we are capable. For instance, my inner addict had me genuinely convinced that I wasn't a CPOS, but instead, was an enlightened, if sexually frustrated, man, seeking to improve and discover myself for the benefit of my wife.
It doesn't take a lot of hindsight or perspective to see that it is simply insane for anyone to imagine that decisions they make that involve adultery, expenditure of vast sums of money and time, and near-constant deception and obsession simply can't be in service of a healthy marriage. And yet… and yet… I genuinely believed that lie. My inner addict was convincing.