Recovery from Sexual Addiction
People joke a lot about Sexual Addictions, but the truth is far from anything you'd ever want to have. This is about people who face destruction every day. They risk everything they have and all they are for the sake of a sexual addiction. This is about obsessive compulsive thoughts about sex which take away the real comfort or enjoyment. It's an addiction that's difficult to face up to because of the stigma attached to it. Who wants to admit they've got a problem with the same thing that lands others in jail?
The answer is: Very brave individuals who are willing to go to any lengths to find the help they need!
Sex addicts come from all walks of life. They are professionals and executives, ministers, therapists, politicians, doctors, and blue collar workers. In his book "Don’t Call It Love" Dr. Patrick Carnes notes that most were abused as children – sexually, physically, or emotionally – and saw addictive behavior firsthand in their early lives. Most grapple with other addictions as well, but their fiercest battle is with the most astoundingly prevalent "secret" disorder: sexual addiction.
Make no mistakes about it: Sexual addiction has nothing to do with love. It’s about the constant overwhelming need and drive to have sex that involves sacrificing just about everything a person holds sacred. The difficulties of facing the addiction not only have a terrible effect on the addict themselves, but also on their families. Addiction is a family disease, and despite any measures the addict may take to conceal their behavior the addiction affects all family members from youngest to oldest.
One wife of a sex addict recounted her experience that although she was unaware of what her husband was actually doing in the midst of his addiction, she couldn’t help feeling both used and neglected at the same time. The sex life the couple had at home was marked by his insatiable fantasies leaving her feeling inadequate whenever they actually had sex. But, the problems extended to the children as well because of the fathers constant absence from the home while he pursued his all consuming obsession with sex. Neglected and feeling abandoned by the fathers behavior the family becomes dysfunctional, and copes in the best way it can by denying the problem: Complicating any possible solution until they become able to face the problem head-on.
In this case, the husband sought help for himself through therapy and Twelve-Step Recovery while the wife joined a group for the partners of sex-addicts: S-Anon. In the time since she’s become involved she says her experience has opened her eyes to the insidious ways his addiction affected her and the children. Without meaning to, the partners of sex addicts become unwilling accomplices in hiding the behavior from others: At the same time they become obsessed with controlling the sex addicts’ behavior.
10 Red Flags Of Sex Addiction (from "Don't Call It Love" By Patrick Carnes):
10 Red Flags Of Sex Addiction
Some examples from a recovering co-addicts statement of powerlessness:
Dr. Carnes notes that when you look at what goes on in a relationship with a sex addict, you really have to wonder why a person would keep doing such things. What the co-addict shares with the sex addict is preoccupation. Sex addicts spend almost all their time being preoccupied with sex, whether or not they are acting out. Co-addiction is also an obsessive solution. As long as co-addicts obsess, the do not have to deal with their own feelings, limits, or flaws. They do not have to face themselves.
The sex addict facing up to a problem has to overcome their own denial in order to find help. It’s only when problems of sexual addiction are discussed openly that a person can understand that they are not alone. That understanding can help them to reach out to the resources that are available.
The first group to treat sexual addiction using the 12 Steps of Recovery was Sex Addicts Anonymous. It was founded in Minneapolis by a group of recovering alcoholics who felt they needed more help in dealing with sexual issues than they were getting from AA.
There have also been breakthroughs in treating sexual addiction with drugs, most notably a treatment involving the use antidepressants. One of the side effects common to drug Zoloft is a decrease in the libido. Less well known is the drug Depo-Provera in helping men suffering from sexual addictions. The drug has a name that’s been linked to the emasculating term "chemical castration" in the legal world. In fact, it’s been used by women as an alternative to "the pill" as birth control. In men it has the effect of diminishing the sex drive.
I found a doctor who enthusiastically raves about it’s virtues in "being able to put the sex drive on hold…even on holiday"
Sex addicts have a habit of showing up in the legal system because of the dangerous, often illegal acts they engage in. The point of therapy with Depo-Provera is to reduce the sex drive to a controllable level of comfort. Get rid of unwanted sexual thoughts, and allow the person to function without the distraction of "the addictive drive". The reports include a man who credits his successful marriage and career to "finally being able to break free from the crazy thoughts that I lived with for all those years" - This after many years in prison for sexual assault and murder.
What’s most important to understand for anyone in dealing with sexual addictions is that you are not alone -- help is available! Here’s a list of web-contacts and phone numbers that may be of help:
& LOVE ADDICTS ANONYMOUS
(THEY DEFINE SOBRIETY AS: Recovery comes through breaking the pattern of addictive relationships and avoiding sex except in a committed and continuing relationship)
SEX ADDICTS ANONYMOUS
(THEY DEFINE SOBRIETY AS: Abstinence as avoiding compulsive and destructive sexual behavior)
SEXUAL COMPULSIVES ANONYMOUS
(THEY DEFINE SOBRIETY AS: Members are encouraged to develop a sexual recovery plan, and to define sexual sobriety for themselves)
SEXAHOLICS ANONYMOUS (SA)
(THEY DEFINE SOBRIETY AS: No sex with self and no sex outside of marriage)
*There are no websites promoting the use of Depo-Provera for treatment of Sexual Addictions. Information contained here comes from discussions of the subject on People Helping People.
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