Category Archives: Sexaholics

Compulsive Sexual Behavior and Sex Addiction – Listen to Your Instincts

May 26, 2017 by

I find when working with clients, almost all of them can pinpoint an instance when they just “knew” that their compulsive sexual behavior had become a serious problem. Whether it was paid sex, an affair, a one night stand, or compulsive masturbation, their inner, healthy voice was literally screaming things like, “This is no longer okay for me,” “I don’t what to act this way any longer,” “I think I need to stop this,” or “The last time this happened, I got in trouble.”

Despite the inner voice pep talk, their willingness or ability to stop the behavior fell far short of the need and desire to feel the dopamine rush of their addiction.

Rationalizing and Denying Sex Addiction

The problems erupt when the healthy voice, or what I like to call healthy shame, is overridden. When this happens, we don’t trust the healthy voice or flat out can’t hear it. The healthy voice is Rationalizing and denying sexual addiction as a result of shame ad guilt is common.drowned out by rationalization and denial – the litany of continuous lies that sex addicts tell themselves: “I won’t get caught again,” “I will do it differently this time,” or “It’s not really that bad,” etc.

There is psychic pain and neurosis, known as “cognitive dissonance” that occurs when we don’t listen to our inner voice of reason. It’s the inner clash of the many conflicting ideas swirling around in our head making it impossible to know which one to believe. In this state we feel depressed, anxious, and numb without knowing the cause. As a result, the bad behavior starts again, intensifying each time, and the cycle repeats itself. The line is crossed again and again until, suddenly, an important event is missed, a loved one finds out, or a job is lost. These bigger consequences bring on the “awakening”. A moment of crisis and clarity has arrived.

The Path to Awareness, Acceptance and Recovery from Sexual Addiction

The moment of crisis is actually a lifesaving moment. Usually when we’re in crisis, we’re motivated to act. We start to listen to that voice of reason we’ve been repressing or ignoring. At some point, the voice may say, “Well maybe it is time to get help,” “Maybe that therapist was right after all,” and “I have a problem with my sex and love life, and it is destroying my life.”

One of the benefits of sexual addiction recovery is that we no longer have to spend our valuable psychic energy denying the truth about our lives and situations. We can confront the demons and learn to understand the root causes of our obsession and compulsive sexual behavior. We can learn to trust again, to let go of destructive beliefs, to hope and to heal. The pain can be lifted.

Your Instincts about Sex Addiction Are On Target – Listen to Them

If you’re in crisis, and that inner voice is telling you that you have an issue with sex addiction, listen to it! Level with a trusted friend, go to an addiction recovery meeting, or call a certified sex addiction therapist for help. You can stop the pain and reclaim a healthy lifestyle.

I encourage you to keep taking the “next right action” towards a healthy lifestyle. I know I wasted much valuable time not taking action for myself when I knew what I needed to do!

Get on the path to recovery and stop the pain. Call New York Pathways today at 212-244-4447.

I Have A Disease?

If you have come to terms with the reality that you have a sexual addiction then yes, you have a disease. Take a breath. It’s not as bad as you think, and taking the first steps to treat your disease will start you on a path of recovery.

Like any disease, addiction is progressive and will get worse without treatment. Addiction will also affect the addict’s quality of life and ability to function at home, at work, and in the community. Addiction doesn’t discriminate by population, gender, region, or socioeconomics. It knows no boundaries. Like cancer cells which reproduce and infect good cells, the rituals of addiction, specifically sexual addiction, create a dominant space for addictive behavior to grow. The more the addict engages in pornography, masturbation, phone sex, cruising, affairs, sexual fetishes, and other forms of sexual addiction, the more the need grows for the addict to make room in his life for addiction at the expense of other areas of his life.

Just as there are certain symptoms that characterize diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and asthma, the disease of addiction also has recognizable symptoms: denial, family and/or relationship chaos, isolation and secrecy, grandiosity, low self-esteem, ritualization or fine-tuning behaviors, etc. Sadly, unlike cancer and other medical diseases, one of the symptoms of the disease of addiction is the desire NOT to be cured. The addict will often go to great lengths to hide and deny the disease, refusing to acknowledge the existence of the disease and refusing to get help.

Untreated addiction, like other untreated diseases, gets progressively worse until the addict seeks treatment, bottoms out, ends up in jail or even dies.

Here’s the part you’ve been waiting for. It is possible to stop the progression of the disease of sexual addiction. Interrupting the disease cycle with therapy and 12-step participation will help you to take back the space you have given to your addiction. Your addiction has robbed you of time. Your obsessive behavior has controlled your hours and days until you are defined by your compulsions. Filling that space with healthy behaviors will help you redefine who you are.

Viewing addiction through the disease model is also helpful to the family member, spouse, or significant other who has been affected by the addict’s behavior. It helps to define the addict as someone who is sick, not someone who is bad. This is a vitally important piece to healing, especially when healing from sex addiction which is fraught with shame and judgment. If a diabetic needs a healthier diet and insulin every day, so too does the addict need treatment and 12-Step group participation.

It can be upsetting to think of yourself as someone with a disease. Part of recovery, whether from addiction or cancer or diabetes, is accepting that something unhealthy has taken you over. Like treatments for other diseases, once treatment for sex addiction begins, most addicts will begin to see positive effects. Once accepted, your disease will diminish every time you participate in getting better.

Where Do I Begin?

Coming to that moment of truth about your sexual addiction is monumental. It’s the kind of moment that finds you on the edge of acceptance, or it’s the kind of moment that so fills you with shame that you want to run away. Don’t run. At New York Pathways we are well aware of your feelings right now. We know that the pain of revealing what you have done, with total truthfulness, can be terrifying. But if you have finally gotten to the truth about your sexual acting out then there really isn’t any turning back. It has been said that the truth sets us free. What truth really does is screw up our addictions. No longer can we partake in past behaviors without that nagging voice of truth screaming at us.

Taking your internal conflict and turning it into action is the next step. Find a group of people who suffer from sexual addiction, ones who are on the road to sexual sobriety. Use the group, and its healthiest members, as your guide to freedom from the addiction that is ruling your life.

The best groups are the ones that adhere to the disease model  of addiction and the 12 Step model of recovery. The following is a  list of some of the groups recommended by New York Pathways.

SLAA – Sex and Love Addiction Anonymous: In SLAA, you and a sponsor – someone who has been where you are – will define what is and is not sober behavior. In our experience, SLAA is the place for you if you are addicted to a person or to the idea of being in love.

SAA – Sex Addicts Anonymous: SAA uses three circles to help you define what is 1) Acting out behavior, 2) Tools to assist you in moving away from acting out behavior, and 3) Top line behavior which ensures better sexual health. SAA believes the three circles will help you achieve better mental, physical, spiritual, and sexual health.

SRA – Sexual Recovery Anonymous: SRA has a more stringent definition of sobriety. It defines sobriety as no masturbation, and no sex outside of a mutually committed relationship.

SA – Sexaholics Anonymous: SA employs a similar definition of sobriety as SRA: no masturbation and no sex out side of marriage.  SA believes that marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman. SA is the most conservative of the recovery groups.

SCA – Sexual Compulsives Anonymous: SCA is open to all sexual orientations. Through the help of a sponsor you will develop a sobriety plan to move you towards health.

Some things to keep in mind are that you don’t have to be in a relationship in order to act out sexually, or in order to seek recovery. The reason we urge you to find a recovery group is because the group experience in invaluable. It will help come out of isolation and feeling alone, and it will allow you to share your experiences in a safe environment. Recovery groups aren’t full of old men in trench coats. They are full of people like you and me, from all socio-economic backgrounds and races, with a spectrum of beliefs and ideologies. Addiction knows no boundaries. Neither does recovery.

For more information about these groups and links to their sites, go here http://www.newyorkpathways.com/selfhelp.html

Bearing the reality of your sex addiction doesn’t have to be done alone. It shouldn’t be done alone. Get out of your own way by turning your fears into action. There is a group out there waiting to welcome you.