Specializing in Family Counseling, Men's Issues, & Trauma

A New Kind of Sex Addict: Technology’s Role in Shaping Impulsive Behavior

Porn Addiction and Impulse Control

In the past, sexual addiction was often linked with issues of trauma (example: childhood sexual or physical abuse).  The typical addict was a man who had a history including such difficult issues and was living in an ongoing trauma cycle (create a trauma cycle).  However, as with many issues, sexual addiction has evolved as society has changed.  The chief driver of this shift is technology.  Never before in history has this much information been available so readily.  Quite literally, an individual with a smart phone or other device can access content of any kind at the touch of a button.  The stats are staggering, and point to an extraordinary pursuit of sexual material online.  The man struggling with sexual addiction is no longer only the individual with a traumatic past.  Instead, he is the very embodiment of an impulse control problem.

In a clinical context, we define an impulse as a sudden, perhaps strong desire to perform some kind of action.  These may be carried-out, or the person may filter them, actively deciding upon those he will act on and others which will not be allowed to occur.  In other words, he is taking action to manage or control his impulses.  In the case the “new sex addict,” his impulses are sexual, and his ability to manage of these is steadily decaying.

Impulse + Behavior= Impulsive Behavior/Impulse Control Problems         Short-Term Enjoyment

Impulse +Thought+ Alternate Behavior= Self-Control/Discipline                    Integrity

addiction

The path to sexual content, and in reality, the pleasurable experience of sexual arousal becomes well worn.  Without realizing it, the “new addict” has utilized this arousal to cope with various aspects of life which are difficult for him.  The addictive behavior get woven into the fabric of his life and like a thread, touches many aspects of his existence never intended.  The dependence on sexual arousal to cope with issues like career stress, marital troubles, parenting, and other demands of life works to “retard” the man’s growth.  Rather than endurance and perseverance which lead to the creation of character, the man begins digressing, steadily becoming more impulsive or childlike.  God’s plan is courageous triumph.  The “new addict” has left its pursuit, for sin’s empty course.

christian counselingOver 1,400 families in southwest Missouri trust the counselors of The Relationship Center to serve their counseling needs. With more than 14,000 hours of therapy in the last 5 years alone TRC counselors have the experience that can make the difference. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $75-$125 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here to Learn More About Counseling at The Relationship Center

What is Sexual Addiction?

What is Sexual Addiction?

Sexual addiction can best be understood in two parts.  These are “sex” and “addiction.”  The first of these, sex, includes the cognitive, emotional, relational, and physical expression of sexuality.  It is not limited to the act of sexual intercourse, but includes all variations of sexual expression, thoughts, emotional components, and relationship dynamics.

Sex Addiction and Avoidance

The second component is addiction.  Addiction pathology is similar, in many ways, regardless of the object of the addiction.  In this case, sex is the object.  Addiction is a form of pathological avoidance of reality.  It is an issue of escape.  Perhaps you have spoken to someone who is addicted and experienced the frustration attempting to get them to see and acknowledge reality.  It’s like the are living in another world.  Addiction, often times, originates as a means of escaping the loneliness, hurt, sadness and fear.    Addicts are committed to their avoidance.  They will expend considerable effort to maintain this system, despite its destructive impact on both them and others.

The sexually addicted individual utilizes sex as a means of destructive escape.  Sex is no longer a part of a healthy, marital relationship, as God designed it to be.  Instead, the addict becomes obsessively focused on increasing the arousal and intensity of sexual behaviors, at the expense of intimacy.  Sex addicts compulsively seek out and obtain sexual gratification in harmful ways.  They may utilize pornography, prostitution, anonymous encounters, swinging groups, voyeurism, and compulsive masturbation, to name a few.

christian counselingOver 1,400 families in southwest Missouri trust the counselors of The Relationship Center to serve their counseling needs. With more than 14,000 hours of therapy in the last 5 years alone TRC counselors have the experience that can make the difference. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $75-$125 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here to Learn More About Counseling at The Relationship Center

Who am I/Who did I marry?: Dysfunctional Board Meeting- Understanding the Sex Addict’s confusing behavior.

Understanding the man who engages in sexually addictive behavior can be difficult and confusing.  It’s made even more difficult, as he doesn’t understand himself.  Once the discovery of illicit sexual behavior is made, the conversation might go something like this:

Imagine this scenario:  A wife, filled with hurt, fear, and anger, reaches out to the husband who she just found out betrayed her.  Her world has just been completely turned upside down.  Many of the things she held to be true were lies.  Those pillars holding up what is left of her world may or may not be true.  It’s almost unbearable living in such a state of uncertainty.  Worst of all, the woman she sees in the mirror was fooled.  Can she even trust herself anymore?  Sitting down with the man she thought she knew, the wife begins the conversation.

Understanding Sexual Addiction in Men

Infidelity and Sex Addiction in Men

Wife- “How long has this been going on?”She needs to assess the damage.  Just how long has she been lied to?  How many memories will have a dark shadow cast over them?  What in her life with him has been real?

Wife- “Why did you do it?”– There must be a reason.  She desperately wants one, but what reason would be good enough?  Still, it’s the question she feels she must ask.

How will he respond?  It depends on who she is speaking to, or more specifically, what part.  Addictive, destructive behavior has hidden repercussions for the individual.  Primary among these is one individual being split or broken apart into numerous pieces.  Picture within the addict a conference room with a large table and chairs for many individuals to come sit at.  Now imagine different individuals filling the seats, each with a different job or role for the man.  The parts have come together to discuss their points of view and what each sees as the best course of action for the man, based on their perspective.  Let’s meet some of these individuals:

  • The Protector
  • The Righteous One
  • The Sexual Deviant
  • The Lonely Child
  • The Good Provider/Father

These are a few common parts or components of sexually addicted males.  While not a comprehensive list, it offers both the addict and the loved one a useful construct for understanding the addiction.  Notice above the term “dysfunctional” being used to describe the meeting.  While each of these parts is at the same meeting, their jobs and desires are in conflict with one another.  Their agenda’s do not work well together and compete, leaving the addict and loved ones with the question “Which one of these is really him/me?”  The answer, “all of them.”  As mentioned above, addiction fosters a destructive pattern of turning not only on others but oneself.

To learn more about each part, keep reading.

The Protector:  As the name suggests, his primary responsibility is safety and protection.  He determines the level of access other individuals have to the addict, based on his risk assessment.  The protector, in a sense, is like the gatekeeper one must go through to actually get to know the person, but he does more than this.  The protector is a trusted advisor, guiding the man on who is to be let in and how far.  Indeed, even the man’s responsiveness to the environment around him is influenced by the protector, who screens and edits his words and display of emotion.  The protector, given the nature of his job, is very risk averse, always encouraging less information and expression.

Wives resent the distance he maintains, blocking an intimate relationship with her husband.  Like a cold administrator, aloof and emotionally detached, the protector enforces the policy of secrecy and emotional detachment, without regard for the hurt his causes loved ones, and, tragically, the man who is desperately lonely and hurting behind the protective walls.

His responses are markedly vague and provide limited insight.  He maintains emotional control as he gives edited “press releases”, carefully choosing his words and phrasing.  Her questions are like those of an inquisitive reporter to him.  Quickly he leaves a wife feeling angry and powerless, aware of just how far away she is from the man she married.  She may rage against him, her words crashing like waves against his battle hardened defenses.  She attempts to get him to lower his walls, but is speaking to him in a language he doesn’t understand.  He is a protector, and protectors faithfully guard those things entrusted to their care.  She likely won’t succeed in breaching his defenses, and even if she does, this will be perceived as a defeat.  It’s a battle lost rather than an accepted invitation to finally be honest.

 

 

The Righteous One:  The part maintaining an often ignored moral compass.  Those who love the addict wonder if this part even exists anymore.  Shame and guilt, however, are the hallmarks of his presence, though he may be buried deep inside at times.  He motivates the addict to hide his behavior, as these emotions are extremely painful.

The Righteous One proclaims how the addict should behave and points out his moral failings.  He is quick to point out to the other parts, in moments of despair and failure, that if they simply had listened to him, all would be well.  During times of deep shame, the Righteous One speaks to loved ones, telling them of deep sorrow and a commitment to change.  He asserts that he is who the addict truly is, the other parts are sin which will be disposed of in due time.

Though initially compelling, the Righteous One’s speeches ring hollow over time and even become a source of anger and resentment for loved ones, as he seems to be a messenger of false hope spreading hurtful lies, making promises to be broken.  The seduction of his message is as powerful as it is easy to understand.  The man’s wife is confused, lost, and her fear is overwhelming.  The Righteous One is the part who provides clarity with a message seeming to be truth, but truth is not simply a matter of words, it is a matter of motive flowing from the condition of the heart.  The Righteous One is as much a part of the problem as any other, though he presents as the solution.  He responds with great conviction, even tears.  What the man has done is sin, outside of God’s plan for marriage.  He knows this now and is disgusted with his actions.  Excuses are rejected, he is a sinner in need of forgiveness.  Again, much of this sounds right, and can be part of productive first steps in healing.  Motive, coming out of the condition of the heart, however, will be made clear in time.

In responding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we repent of our sins and are forgiven.  Christ took the punishment for our sins on the cross and no action on our part is required for our salvation.  However, the work of reconciliation and refinement is often not complete.  In other words, Christ’s death on the cross made the way for salvation in a moment, but sanctification is a process.  This truth is not recognized by the addict.

All too often, The Righteous One facilitates the action of avoidance, central to addictive behavior.  Avoidance is the process by which a person stays away from core hurts or wounds, which are an underlying driver of their destructive behavior.  In other words, if the addict asks others for forgiveness and repents before God, he gets to be done with the problem.  It’s a truly amazing outcome for a man who does not even know what the problem is.

In his mind, the damage is now covered with Christ’s blood, and reconciliation is perceived not as necessary.  Attempts by others, including his spouse to really understand and work through the wounds are seen as condemnation from the enemy.  The Righteous One will use Biblical truth as a tool in the avoidant process. This part contributes to the destructive behavior as much as any other.

 

The Sexual Deviant:  Here is the part thought to be the real problem.  He is the one the others believe acts-out, creating the messes they must later clean-up.  The sexual deviant looks at pornography, masturbates, meets with escorts, goes cruising and the list goes on and on.  He is the identified cancer in the room, which the other parts believe must be destroyed.  Of course, as in movies, life is easier with a villain, one who causes the pain, can be fought, and eventually defeated.

Most wives will never speak to this part directly or hear from him.  Your husband’s sexual partners/computer have, however.  Sitting in the shadows, The Sexual Deviant holds the memories of excitement and enjoyment stemming from the illicit sinful behavior.  Though other parts come forward to speak disdainfully of what has happened, this part cherishes the experiences.  Vilified and misunderstood, he is the one targeted for exile.  It has the appearance of logic.

Getting rid of him seems like it would end the destruction.  However, as a therapist having worked with many men on sexually addictive issues, I have come to more fully understand his role.  Without solicitation, working with man after man, speaking to this part reveals his true function, as caretaker.  Without hesitation, The Sexual Deviant reveals he is the only one who takes care of the man, ensuring his needs get met.  His role points to the deep loneliness and hurt residing within.

The deviant is like a leg which has been broken.  Its purpose is to aid the person is walking, but fractured, it can no longer do its job well or without great pain.  Broken legs are not amputated, they are casted and healed, allowing them, once again, to do their job well.

 

Sex Addiction in Men

The Lonely Child:  Quiet, withdrawn, and often not at the table but in a corner of the room, is the lonely child.  He is guarded vigilantly by The Protector and access to him is rarely, if ever granted.  The child is perceived as defenseless and vulnerable.   Possible harm to the child cannot be risked, so a tragic deal is struck.  The Protector will ensure that no harm occurs, but the child must remain alone, safely locked away.  He cannot be injured directly, but sadly, cannot be cared for by anyone apart from the other broken parts.

 

Hidden deep inside, The Lonely Child will likely not join into this conversation.  He is ineffectively cared for by The Sexual Deviant.  All the inadequacy, fear, and deep loneliness is soothed with sex or other compulsive behavior.  The child is like an emaciated infant, who is fed infrequently by  an inept caretakers, filling his bottle with what will not satisfy.  The addict is disconnected from this part, not even willing or able to acknowledge his existence.  Doing so would leave the man in need of others, something he is deeply hesitant to do.

 

The Good Provider/Father:  Kept away from the sexually destructive behaviors, this part is the addict’s anchor or tie to the fantasy reality he has created.  However deprived or selfish his other behaviors and attitudes may be, he is still a good provider/husband/father.  To ensure the harmful behaviors can continue, the addict will over identify with this part, reassuring himself and attempting to correct others in their belief there is a problem.  Believing this part’s argument often leaves others feeling confused and “crazy,” as he tells them not to believe their own eyes.

Justification and minimization of destructive behaviors are the hallmark of his presence.  In other words, he uses perverse reasoning to make his actions seem permissible and attempts to downplay what he has done.

He is the link to a healthier world which the man has left.  The part maintains a residence in “the light” allowing other parts of the man to exist in darkness.  He creates confusion for a wife.  Wasn’t this the man she married, the one who works hard and is committed to his family.  She feels deceived, as this has been a cover, and in a sense, it has.  He may have this “sexual issue”, but he works hard to take care of his wife and children.  When home, he takes time with the children and is involved in their activities.  If they want something, he does everything he can to provide it.  A lot of hard working men indulge at times, and so what if he has.  He is not perfect and his should not expect him to be.  Can’t she be thankful for all she has.

Working with men as a therapist, I have found the entire addictive system begins to come crashing down around the man when these roles of provider or father are violated.  More specifically, when behaviors, the man always pledged to keep away from his children/family/work come into those worlds (ex: children find his pornography in the house or on the computer, the man brings a prostitute into the home, cruising for porn on a work computer, pursuing sexual relationships with co-workers).

Perhaps he is on the verge of losing his job or has spent a great deal of money on sex and his role as provider is in jeopardy.  It is at this point, the man responds like any drowning person.  Things have escalated beyond his control.  He is desperate and broken, having become something he told himself he would never be.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with a sexual addiction, there is hope.  At The Relationship Center, our counselors specialize in helping men with these issues and their spouses/families.  Contact us today to speak directly with a counselor.  We would be happy to answer your questions.

 

The “good Christian” with a Porn and Sex Addiction Problem

Your church is full of men who struggle with pornography and masturbation.  Statistics tell us the issue is absolutely rampant, and perhaps one of the most critical issues facing today’s church.  Perhaps you can relate with Gabe’s story.

Porn Addiction in Christian Men

 

Gabe: “The Good Boy & Porn”-

Gabe  grew-up in a Christian home with both parents present.  The family went to church together, read the Bible, and prayed at meal times.  Mom and dad made sure he and his siblings were taken care of in a stable environment.  In fact, looking back, stability was a primary focus for the family.  Each person knew their role and worked diligently to fulfill it.  It played out in daily interactions like a well-choreographed dance.  Conflict was not something Gabe remembers, not because his family was perfect, but because it didn’t happen.  It was the kind of family most people would hope for, and that is what confuses Gabe.  For his part, Gabe was a friendly kid, a bit introverted and socially awkward at times, but well liked.

 

Starting in high school, he began looking at pornography and masturbating.  At first it was once in a while then becoming more frequent.  Each time he felt tremendous guilt and shame.  He would pray and seek God to help him let go of this behavior.  The path down to the alter at his church was well-worn, as Gabe brought his secret sin to God again and again.    There were was a significant, emotionally charged moment in youth group, where teens were asked to write down on paper the sins they had been struggling with, and then symbolically throw them into a fire barrel, where the flames consumed them.

 

Gabe did well for a time, but then, fell again, finding himself back doing what he despised.  He guarded the secret more closely than ever, feeling a bit trapped and jaded.  He wanted desperately to be free, but it hurt too much to let himself get his hopes up that change was possible.  Now, as a young man out on his own in the work world, he masturbates while looking at porn and can’t stop.  He wants deliverance, after all, he can’t get married and still be doing this, or maybe having a wife will make the problem go away.  It’s overwhelming and Gabe is losing hope things can change.

 

Are you Gabe?… God will help…help sometimes looks like a professional counselor.  The Relationship Center is a Biblically Based, Clinically Proven Counseling Center specializing in helping men with pornography and sexual issues.  Contact us today to get started on your journey.  


christian counselingOver 1,400 families in southwest Missouri trust the counselors of The Relationship Center to serve their counseling needs. With more than 14,000 hours of therapy in the last 5 years alone TRC counselors have the experience that can make the difference. We specialize in Biblically Christian and Clinically Proven Counseling provided by Licensed Professionals. Session fees range from $75-$125 and we have payment plans & scholarships to meet every budget. Have more questions? Click Here to Learn More About Counseling at The Relationship Center

The High Performer with a Secret Life | Portraits of Porn & Sex Addiction

Are you among the strong, proud men who struggle with sexual addiction?   In contrast to the typical picture of addiction, the “high-functioning” sex addict is a man of significant accomplishment, often holding a position of prominence in his community.  He has very powerful motives for keeping his secret hidden.

Sex Addiction in Successful Men

John:The High Performer with a Secret Life”

John is a hard-working, hard driving man who has always known the value of being diligent in his career.  Growing-up, John did while others talked.  Nothing comes easy in life, and John is fine with that, he likes a challenge.  Friends, teachers, and John’s parents always said he was going to do great things, they could just tell.  He worked hard in school and started his career from the bottom.  Along the way, he met and married his beautiful wife, and the two had children.  Now, he is well established in his career and financially successful.

From the outside, people admire and respect John, but they don’t know.   John started looking at porn to make it through the long work days and get some relief from the constant pressure.  It gave him something to look forward to and let him relax.  After all, John reminded himself, he deserved a reward now and then.  On business trips and when entertaining clients, John began frequenting strip clubs.  The rush from the girl’s attention was great, leaving him feeling powerful and in control.  Meanwhile, his family doesn’t see him much, but he provides a comfortable life for them so they shouldn’t complain.

John and his wife have  an almost business like marriage arrangement.  He earns the money, she manages the home and children.  Conflicts between the two are not resolved.  As an excellent businessman, John has learned to pacify his wife, without addressing real issues or making changes.  John’s behavior escalates.  He begins having sexual relationships with exotic dancers who perform at the clubs he frequents.  Sometimes money changes hands, other times, he can get sex for free.  Moving further along this path, John convinces himself he is living the life most men only dream of.  It’s yet another, in a long line of life successes.  John accomplishes what others can only wish for.

He feels powerful and in control.  Its as seductive as the sex.  The fantasy begins to change, though, as some of the girls John has been with are asking for money with greater regularity.  At first he is happy to oblige, it’s a small price to pay to keep things quiet.  However, the demands escalate and the girls become more belligerent.  The control John reveled in is now slipping out of his hands.  Ultimatums are given on a regular basis, provide this much money or his wife or work will find out.  Either of these could destroy the world John has worked so hard to create.  John is no longer the strong man, in control of his own destiny, as he once was.  John is trapped, an inmate of the prison his built, kept isolated by the guards he hired to satiate his sexual appetite.

Are you John?

If John sounds way too familiar, you probably have a sex addiction. That’s the bad news. The good news is there’s help for you.  The Relationship Center provides competent, professional care for men struggling with sexual addictions.  

 

More Women Say They’re Addicted to Porn

female-porn-addiction-testA survey by Today’s Christian Women found one in six women says she struggles with a pornography addiction.

by Joanna Small, KSPR News Reporter and Photographer10:07 p.m. CST, November 29, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — More women are addicted to pornography, and experts are blaming the internet.  They say it’s leveled the playing field — so to speak — between the sexes.

There is still a certain amount of shame associated with women watching pornography.  That’s why psychologists and researchers believe for women the easy, anonymous access to porn via the internet is such an appealing alternative to going out and buying it.  Unfortunately they also say some women are abusing that in alarmingly high numbers.

Video: Counselor says problem is harder to discuss for women than men.

Most of the time Angela’s computer activities are pretty mundane.  A little Facebook, a little email, but every so often when the mood strikes her she does something some people call dirty.

“I’ll watch porn.”

Never more than a few times a week, some times not for weeks at a time.  But Angela is part of a growing demographic.  You might think almost all people watching porn on the internet are men.  Think again; while 70 percent are, a new study says 30 percent of people looking at porn online are women.

That equates to nearly 9.5 million women a month, which is not a problem in and of itself, depending on your beliefs.  What experts say is a problem is how many are addicted.

“I think it’s much harder for women to talk about,” said sex addiction counselor Shaun Lotter.

He knows it’s out there, though.  In a survey by Today’s Christian Woman one in six women said she struggles with addiction to pornography, particularly online pornography.

“It’s free, it’s anonymous and you can have it whenever you want.  The only difference you see with women is it’s less than just body parts, it’s more about relationships,” said Lotter.

Angela can relate to that.

“I like it to be realistic.  I want there to be an intimate connection.  I don’t need a story; I just want it to be people legitimately having a good time when they’re doing it.”

She readily admits she has a good time when she’s watching it.  She also knows when to stop watching.

“Most of the time I don’t watch porn,” Angela said.

Lotter tells us usually a sexual addiction or an addiction to porn is not a person’s sole issue.  He says someone suffering from that kind of addiction almost always has others or has difficulty with intimacy because of some kind of abandonment in the past.

He also says there are a handful of warning signs that watching pornography has turned from just a behavior into an addictive behavior.  He says if your habit interferes with your relationships, if you continue to “up your tolerance” for what you find acceptable, and if you know it’s destructive but you do it anyway there’s a good chance you’re an addict.

Sexual Addictions & Trauma- Treating one, not the other

Effective treatment of sexual addictions involves addressing both the addiction AND the underlying trauma.  It is true, one may be treated in lieu of the other.  A person may resolve much of their past trauma and still struggle with compulsive, addictive behaviors.  Additionally, they may cease the specific sexually addictive behaviors, which brought them into treatment, while maintaining their trauma wounds and propensity to self-sooth compulsively in other areas of their life.  They become the classic “dry drunk,” meaning, I still have the issues, I just don’t use sex to deal with them anymore.

I have found, depending on the nature of the trauma, ceasing the addictive behavior becomes the “easy” part of recovery, if there is such a thing.  The individual’s trauma, fueling underlying feelings of fear, hurt, loneliness and other emotions difficult for them to handle is the truly difficult work.  It may be a tongue and cheek statement, but I have mused with many clients that quitting the “sex” part of the addiction was the easy part, to have them smile and agree fully.

Trauma & Sexual Addiction: Why Does Trauma Matter?

For many individuals struggling with a sexual addiction, trauma is a fact of life.  The majority of sexually addicted clients I see have significant, unresolved trauma in their past.  The research also supports this reality, showing that sexual addicts are very frequently trauma survivors.  Surviving is exactly what they are doing, too.  The wounds are still there, but significant energy is expended to numb or distance oneself from the pain.  Often times, this has been going on for so long, the addicted person really doesn’t connect emotionally with the trauma any longer.  They really “feel” like it’s not a big deal.  However, the evidence manifested by the existence of their addiction is clear.  The trauma was and remains significant.

The addiction becomes the identified “problem” and the trauma is something secondary which doesn’t need to be dealt with.  It is legitimate to point to the addiction and its consequences as a problem, but let’s define this further.

The sexual addict has two problems:

1st– The presenting problem is the addiction itself, which disrupts their ability to function and maintain healthy relationships.  It was the original mechanism through which the individual deal with their wounding. 

2nd–  Is the underlying trauma/wounding, which necessitated the creation of various avoidance mechanisms, including the sexual addiction, to abbreviate or dull the pain.

In a sense, avoidance in the form of addiction is the vehicle used to survive.  Over time, it develops into a problem of its own, often being the red flag which declares the person needs help.

Getting in My Own Way

Pornography and Sexual Addictions are rooted in shame and secrecy.  Overcoming involves letting go of many of the old ways of operating, and as with any kind of change, even good change, it’s difficult.  Let’s use the example of computer software and hardware.  Out physical being, body and mind are the hardware, the CPU of sorts in how we operate.  The way in which we view ourselves and the world around us, as well as the way in which we interact with our environment comprise our software or programming.  Many Pornography and Sexual Addicts have programming that reads like this:

 

  • I am simply a private person and difficult to get to know.
  • My emotional and relational needs are unimportant.
  • Emotions are irrational.
  • My problems are complicated and unsolvable.
  • Others cannot understand or help me.
  • I don’t have needs, other than those for money, prestige, and sexual gratification.
  • I must limit the amount of information others know about me.
  • My presentation with others should be guarded, limiting their access to me.
  • I can simply stop “acting out” and this will solve my problems. 

 

Programming such as this is the problem.  It pushes for the cessation of sexual “problem” behaviors while leaving the addictive structures in place.  This kind of thinking, which prizes intellectual prowess and logic, operates under the highly irrational belief that one can change without changing.  Paramount in treatment in a badly needed software upgrade.  Let’s reinterpret the programming in a more accurate and truly rational light:

 

I am simply a private person and difficult to get to know.— I keep others from getting close to me/I am alone.

My emotional and relational needs are unimportant.— I don’t know how to get my needs met or am afraid to.

Emotions are irrational.— I am disconnected from my own emotions.

My problems are complicated or unsolvable.— I am special/unique, not like others people.

Others cannot understand or help me.— I am alone/unreachable.

I don’t have needs, other than those for money, prestige, and sexual gratification.— I don’t have a deep understanding of who I am or what I need.  I am empty.

I must limit the amount of information others know about me.— I am hiding.

My presentation with others should be guarded, limiting their access to me.— I am terrified of intimacy.

I can simply stop “acting out” and this will solve my problems.— I am overwhelmed by reality.

 

One of the biggest obstacles for addicts in treatment is the man or woman they see in the mirror each day.  The addict has bonded/attached to the object of their obsession (sex), leaving them blinded or unable to feel what they really need.  Their thinking is a stumbling block to their overcoming addiction.  In fact, if we could harness the energy they place into maintaining this dysfunctional and destructive system, recovery could begin.  Thankfully, the person in the mirror can also be a tremendous ally.  Treatment, powerful, life-changing work, is found in dealing with my propensity to continually get in my own way.  These behaviors are my map to understanding and overcoming my core issues.