By: Carol Juergensen Sheets, LCSW, PCC, CSAT
When one decides to recover from sexual addiction it can feel like you have lost your best friend. You grieve the time you spent with your addiction and the exhilarating rush you received while increasing the intensity of your desires. More than likely you have spent years with this addiction and you did so in secrecy. This can make the relationship seem even more special because it was a secret that was solely yours. Whenever you had free time you could not wait to partake in it and the cravings and urges reminded you of how important that bond was.
But the truth of the matter is that you forgot how bad this compulsion really was. You forgot that this relationship stole precious time from you and your family, friends and loved ones. You stayed in denial about the fact that this activity sabotaged your self esteem and contributed to your self loathing and self hate. It stole your authenticity so that you could not be the person that you wanted to be.
You also ignored the fact that this disorder progresses exponentially. The initial rush no longer gives you that same high so you progressed to adding behaviors to your life that are even more shameful and disheartening. Perhaps that meant that you used drugs or alcohol to make the sex feel more exhilarating. You may have used poppers before chronically masturbating to make the intensity greater. You may have started on an internet site looking for hook-ups, and then you moved to chat rooms, and anonymous sex in parks, hotels or bath houses. The disease always gets worse and an addict can never really control it. It no longer is your best friend......instead it feels more like the demon inside of you that is tearing your life apart and stealing your soul!
Giving It Up Hurts
Part of the denial that you stay in is only thinking of the good times when thinking about your relationship with your "old friend." When sex addicts make the decision to recover from sex addiction they long for the medicinal aspects of the addiction but they forget the true state of their being while actively using. They forget the chronic state of lying and secrecy that had to maintain to keep the addiction alive. They forgot the consequences of their behaviors which may have included robbing the family savings, losing a job, being discovered over and over again, watching your partner cry, losing sleep, injuring yourself through masturbation, sexually transmitted diseases and loss of family experiences and relationships. The reality of this illness means that there are so many things that may have occurred from the addiction.
Every sex addict has experienced loss as a result of their addiction. Have lost your family as you know it. Or your profession or your job? Have lost your fortune, your income and your life savings?
Giving up your best friend is an illusion but it still hurts. You cannot recover without intensive work. You need a committee to support you through this process. Finding a certified sexual addictions counselor, some intensive treatment, 12 step meetings, and a sponsor are all part of that committee. This is a disorder of isolation and you can't do it alone. There are people out there who can guide you through this process if you fearless have the courage to say no more!
Carol Juergensen Sheets, LCSW, PCC, CSAT, is currently in private practice in Indianapolis, IN. She speaks nationally on mental health issues and is featured in several local magazines. She currently has an internet radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com/sexhelpwithcarolthecoach and does regular television segments focusing on life skills to improve one’s potential. You can read her blogs at www.carolthecoach.com.