In the course of sexual addiction recovery, many individuals will find that their journey is filled with successes and struggles. Thus is the norm for many addiction recovery programs – with the deeply-ingrained behaviors being incredibly difficult for many to overcome without hard work and suffering. If those suffering from sexual addiction can see past the temporary pain to the long-term victory, they will be more likely to avoid activities and responses that can make their path more treacherous.
Unfortunately, many sex addicts will experience a variety of responses to the hard process of healing. If you or someone you know is traveling down the long road to healing from a sexual addiction, here are some common responses that may arise:
The most common response, especially early in the process, is leading a double life with their family and counselors. As part of the early stages of self-denial, the individual likely realizes that they must give up their life of addiction, but find their temptations, environment, and routines lead them down familiar paths.
Many times, the addict thinks that their actions are hidden, while those who live and interact with them daily are aware of their behaviors. Even the tiniest slip – while not unexpected – can be overlooked by someone who feels that their experience with therapy and recovery has “healed” them before they have truly overcome their addiction. Not only can this behavior lead to an ever-increasing encroaching of their sexual addiction, but it can make it more difficult for others to have sympathy for the addict.
Many individuals working their way through a sexual addiction recovery process may respond in frustration and anger to their newfound restrictions that manifests in rebellion. In rebellious responses, the individual may seek to escape the difficult healing process by stating that the expectations are too difficult, evil, or simply unnecessary for them. In some instances, addicts will begin to blame their spouse, family, or therapists for their struggles to make progress.
One response that is incredibly dangerous and difficult to overcome is known as self-sabotage. This response during the journey to recovery can arise when the sex addict finds themselves engaging in activites or with other individuals who the addict can blame for relapse rather than take responsibility for their actions. Depending on the situation, the addict may surround themselves with peers who find their diagnosis or treatment program useless, which can hinder their ability to heal.
In many circumstances, individuals in active recovery from sexual addiction can find themselves acting out, and when confronted, will try to “play the victim.” In this response, addicts will often shift the blame for the actions away from their therapist-recommended responses, and instead point to their environment or various triggers as the reason for their relapse.
This is understandable, as the deeply-ingrained mental impacts of long-term sexual addiction and exposure to stimuli can cause everyday interactions to become sexualized into fantasy. Sex addicts may have difficulty explaining their feelings or reasons behind their response, and can turn to anger or frustration quickly. While some may see this as an active attempt to dodge responsibility, it is important to realize that the issues that linger with sexual addiction can hide just below the subconscious.
Taking the stance of the victim means blaming someone or something for the situation and thus feeling hopeless and/or helpless. I have found that these “victims” will make frequent use of words like “challenging” and “triggering” which suggest that they are the innocent victim of their circumstances.
In the journey to healing from sexual addiction, there will be more than a few times when the addict slips up, acts out, or gives into their addictive temptation. This is absolutely normal, and to be expected in the process of healing.
While it is okay to not be okay, it’s not okay to stay there. The team at Novus Mindful Life is experienced in working with individuals across the spectrum of sexual addiction, and know the signs of responses turning from the expected to the damaging. Through proven methods of care and therapy, those suffering from sexual addiction can work toward an effective and consistent plan of recovery that includes ways to react and respond to negative responses.
If you or someone you know is suffering from sexual addiction, and you would like to learn more about the therapy options available through Novus Mindful Life’s sex addiction program, contact our team today. Our trained and experienced counselors are standing by to help you find hope.
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