Sex Addicts Hitting Bottom
How does an addict get to the place when he is ready to do whatever it takes to recover from his addiction? My answer to this question is “when he is experiencing more pain from the addiction than reward or pleasure.” When sex addicts hit bottom, they are ready to accept help and seek sexual addiction counseling and recovery.
Sexual Addiction Purpose: Numb & Medicate
Addiction serves the purpose of numbing and medicating the addict’s pain and it also keeps the addict going in his world that often offers hopelessness. Overtime, the Addict experiences tolerance and needs “more, better, and different.” Meaning, the addiction doesn’t work as well, has diminishing returns, and the addict tries to increase the drug (riskier sex, stronger alcohol or drugs, more food, etc.). As he does increase the addiction, hitting bottom comes closer.
We Admit That Our Lives Are Unmanageable
Dr. Patrick Carnes writes, “A moment comes for every addict when the consequences are so great or the pain is so bad that the addict admits life is out of control because of his or her sexual behavior.” The moment may be public embarrassment such as an arrest or being exposed by an affair partner. The well known businessman is arrested for solicitation of a prostitute or the minister that is having an affair with a parishioner is caught by his wife in his unfaithfulness.
We have all read news accounts recently of celebrities have their sexual behaviors broadcast for the world to see. Many Sex Addicts read these news stories and shutter at the reality that his sexual behaviors could be discovered and have the same public exposure.
Pain Of Addiction Outweighs Benefits
The pain of the addiction could come when the spouse of the sex addict discovers evidence of his betrayal. This is what often brings men into my counseling office seeking help for their out-of-control sexual addiction. It could also come when you have to tell yet another lie that you almost believe yourself or when the money you have spent on the last prostitute equals the amount for the new shoes your child needs. Or it could be when you make business travel decisions not on the basis of company interests, but rather to accommodate the affair that you are having with a company client.
Initially, the sex addict will often try to make personal vows to “never do it again.” “This time I really, really want to stop.” Even though the sex addict truly wants to stop, the vows are made hollow by echoes of the prior vows and resolutions to stop in his past. Often the sex addict thinks that his cure is simply a desire to stop all sexual actions and thoughts. Thinking to himself, “If I can just stop viewing porn or having affairs or meeting with prostitutes, then I will be cured.” As Dr. Carnes writes, “thinking that by giving up their sexuality they would be able to work, to love, and to enjoy themselves like other people.”
Acceptance Is The Recovery Key
The problem of sexual addiction can be compared to a person with diabetes. The person with diabetes still desires to consume sugary foods but his digestive system can no longer process the sugar. There is no way around it, he must accept his condition and change his lifestyle or suffer the consequences of ignoring the experts’ direction for living with diabetes. The person with sexual addiction must come to a place where his denial (“I don’t have a problem”) is broken and the reality that his life is unmanageable, uncontrollable, can’t be stopped, and it is hurting those around him and himself.
No Freedom Without Surrender
The Sex Addict must come to a place that he finally admits that he can’t stop this addiction on his own and he needs help. Yet simply knowing and admitting we were powerless over the addiction still doesn’t help until we finally surrender trying to do it on our own. Surrender means admitting that the addiction is too powerful and the addict must reach out for others to come along side of him.
The Sexaholics Anonymous book states, “It’s as though we can’t see the full extent of the power of our sexaholism has over us without first making a start at sharing it in the fellowship. Then we begin to see and disclosure more as we become part of the progressive honesty and self-disclosure of other.” (p. 86)
Sexual Addiction Counseling
As a sexual addiction counselor, I fully understand the difficulty of seeking help for sexual addiction. When a client comes into his first counseling session, I create a space of safety, acceptance, grace, and peace. A place where he can finally tell the truth of his secret and shame-filled life. I communicate the message, “I get it.” “I accept you.” “Your addiction doesn’t define who you are.” I provide hope that the addict can work recovery, heal from past trauma and wounds, begin to live a life of integrity, and finally be fully free of the addiction.
If you are struggling with sexual addictive behaviors and have finally come to a place of being ready to do whatever it takes to recover. Please don’t wait another day to contact me and setup a counseling session to begin your journey of healing and wholeness. You can contact me at 303-933-5800 or through our contact form