July 24th, 2013
04:13 PM ET
Opinion by Craig Gross, Special to CNN
(CNN) - There are still a lot of details to come out, but here’s one thing we know about Anthony Weiner: He is not a punch line; he is an addict.
I would assume Weiner has always had an uphill battle against being the butt of someone’s joke, just by the nature of his last name. Immaturity has always reigned supreme, and now in the days of Internet memes and Twitter zingers, Weiner seemed ready-made for a scandal.
And yet he managed to get elected to Congress and once had a respectable appearance on "The Daily Show." He was on the rise, a politician ascending.
And then he got busted by the media for tweeting pictures of parts that should remain private to random women.
Shamed and chagrined, Weiner resigned and promised to get better. Things were looking up again for him when he entered the race to become the next mayor of New York, and he assured everyone that all his sexting and scandals were in the past.
And now, “Carlos Danger.”
That is, apparently, one of the pseudonyms Weiner used last summer when he engaged in an illicit sexting relationship with a 22-year-old woman.
These are not the actions of a clown.
This is not something to make fun of.
This is a serious, family-wrecking, soul-crushing, career-destroying addiction.
Here’s what I would hope for Anthony Weiner: I would hope that he’d take himself out of the public eye, get back into counseling and put some concrete boundaries in place regarding his technology use.
And most important, I want him to get accountable.
As the leader of XXXchurch.com, I work with a lot of sex addicts - people who can’t stop using porn or people who feel trapped in making it - and the biggest key to breaking out of the cycle of addiction is accountability.
Accountability is not prevention. You know the term “yes men,” when people - especially politicians like Weiner - surround themselves with others who will just automatically agree with them?
Most people think of accountability as surrounding yourself with a group of “no men,” who will always tell you what you can’t do.
That’s not it at all. Accountability is about having people around you whom you are intentionally open and honest with, people who will consistently challenge you to live up to the standards you’ve set for yourself. It’s about helping you to make good choices and live a freer, richer life.
I’m not going to point a mocking finger at Anthony Weiner. I can’t pass judgment on how he got to this point, because I don’t know him.
But I can say that being accountable to others is not just a way of battling your addictive demons; it’s a way of putting a positive spin on your life to create times where you don’t hear the demons at all.
There are millions of us working through some kind of something. For some, it’s drugs. For others, it’s alcohol. For still others, it’s an eating disorder or trying to quit smoking or being in financial disarray.
For Anthony Weiner, it’s “Carlos Danger” and all that symbolizes.
Whatever you’re working through, don’t do it alone.
You don’t have to.
Craig Gross is founder of XXXChurch and author of “Open: What Happens When You Get Real, Get Honest, and Get Accountable.” The views expressed in this column are solely those of Gross.
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