This week it was reported that Tiger Woods potentially would check himself out of a sex addiction treatment program. There is a long list of celebrities that have completed in-patient in a sex rehab. There is a prevalence of sex addiction in our society as noted by the cultural preoccupation with how sex is reflected in TV, magazines, radio, news, and movies. The probability is infidelity triples in celebrity sports relationships due to the countless opportunities that are offered to an athlete to cheat. It is important to note, NOT EVERY PERSON THAT CHEATS IS A SEX ADDICT, BUT EVERY SEX ADDICT IS PRONE TO CHEATING.
WHAT IS SEX ADDICTION?
Sexual addiction is a persistent and escalating pattern or patterns of sexual behaviors acted out despite increasingly negative consequences to self or others. The sex addict is willing to sacrifice what they cherish most in order to preserve and continue their unhealthy behavior. The sex addict has learned to rely on sex for comfort from pain, nurturing, or relief from stress, etc. the way an alcoholic relies on alcohol, or a drug addict on drugs.
WARNING SIGNS THAT PUT INDIVIDUALS AT RISK:
a.Coping with stress by using sex to relieve tension
b.Determination to find ways to maximize sexual behavior opportunities
c.Concerns, disappointments, or guilt about sexual behavior
d. Losing sensitivity and compassion for how actions hurt self and others
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE TREATMENT PROCESS?
a. Admit there is a problem and that they want to get help for it.
b. Get to know the addicts true belief system and impaired thinking. The treatment process must develop a feedback system that keeps reality in focus (After all a sex addict will have distorted reality).
c. 90 days abstinence period from acting out behaviors and avoiding things that would trigger them to the behavior.
d. Accountability system in place including a sponsor.
e. Support group
f. Individual counseling
g. Couple counseling (if applicable)
It is very important that couples learn from the Tiger Wood’s drama by reexamining their relationships and put boundaries in place to protect their relationship by learning how to be emotionally intimate with each other. Sex addiction is also known as an intimacy disorder, which basically means the addict feels that no one will take care of his needs; he does not know how to share on an intimate, honest level with others. The sex addict is not connected with who he is so in turn he cannot truly care about others for more than what he can get from them. The sex addict has emptiness inside for various reasons and instead of finding healthy ways to deal with it; they go the selfish route and try to get quick fixes to cover the pain.
The good news is that even though it might feel hopeless, there is hope! No, it won’t be easy but even though this is an addiction that one has to be very intentional about the rest of their life, through counseling, strong boundaries and a willingness to learn new ways to deal with their pain, they can find the true intimacy they have always desired. Once they have learned this for themselves, they can in turn have healthy intimate relationships with others where feelings are mutually shared and cared about. There is hope and healing for couples that have been affected by this devastated addiction. Individuals can truly find freedom from the prison that they have put themselves in and relationships can be restored.
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Author: Janie Lacy