Spiritual Sexual Addiction Recovery
For someone struggling with sexual addiction, the sexual fantasy or sexual behavior was the original “solution” to the real underlying problem that is at the core of the addict’s life. What the sex addict found in the beginning is that the addiction “worked.” Meaning, the behaviors or fantasy numbed, medicated, and blocked the pain that came out of the real problem. Yet overtime, the addict becomes “tolerated” to the original level of sexual fantasy or behaviors and that leads to wanting or needing “more, better, and different.”
What “worked” in his youth, no longer works. He now needs to increase the risk, the levels of sexual behaviors, and/or the levels of fantasy. The sex addict loses control and begins to act against his own will. The addict is now captive to a force stronger than himself. Some recovering sex addicts refer to this “force” as their lower power. The sex addict is similar to the alcoholic in that trying to stop or limit the addiction leads to despair. The partner of the sex addict is often used as the “solution” but essentially is just another “drug” to medicated the sex addict’s pain.
When the man who struggles with sexual addiction enters into treatment and recovery. He begins to see aspects of his sexual addiction having to do with his attitude, beliefs, thoughts, choices, behaviors, and especially in his spiritual self. He learns that the addiction is not simply a physical or mental issue but also strongly linked to his spirit…the core of who he is as a person. Therefore, he learns that recovery must include a spiritual solution. I often reassure the individual that spiritual solution doesn’t necessarily involve a religious solution. Many of my clients would describe themselves as religious while still acting out behaviors in the addiction. Therefore, the man desiring to recover from sexual addiction doesn’t need a religious path as much as he will need a spiritual path.
In the addiction, many addicts describe the sexual high as producing a false spiritual high (pleasure, release, and satisfaction). The false spiritual experience leads to wanting more of it, something different in the next experience, and a better high. The sexual high draws the addict into a decision to persist in what he believes as wrong. What the addict doesn’t realize is that he is reaping the penalty for the wrong choices. The wrong choices bring the opposite of what he seeks…life, love, acceptance, and joy. The sex addict continues to falsely believe that the next one will save him, then he will “stop” the madness. Yet the consequences of the last indulge of the addiction results in his inability to stop. What he needs to find in recovery is a Higher Power that is greater than the lower power of the addiction. This Higher Power restores him to sanity.