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Sex Addiction Help, 3 and 5 Day Intensives, 719-278-3708, Douglas Weiss, Ph.D.

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Research Update

“Results of the study supported the premise that recovery from sexual addiction is facilitated by the use of therapy, educational experiences, behavioral boundaries, and twelve step programs. The predominant recovery related theme was that recovery was possible primarily through active participation in twelve step programs.”

Milam, Bonnie (1990) Sexual Addiction: Boundaries, Didactic Education, Twelve Step Programs, Psychotherapy Issues and Treatment Strategies and Recovery. (dissertation) United States International University.

Practical Exercises and Step Talk

Excerpts From: 101 Practical Exercises for Sexual Addiction Recovery by Weiss  e-Book It! (Available through Heart to Heart Counseling Center $39.95)

 EXERCISE # 35 IDENTIFYING & COMMUNICATING FEELINGS

Any addict has difficulty with identifying feelings. If an addict has a feeling, he generally fixes it by taking a drink, drug, sex or some other way of medicating his feelings.

Most sex addicts have not received any training in the area of feelings from their family of origin. Feelings are a skill that you can develop and acquire levels of mastery once you are trained. This is similar to growing up and not learning how to maintain a car. It doesn’t mean that you are less intelligent or worthwhile because you can’t fix a car. You would be simply untrained. If you were to take a class on car maintenance, you would probably be a good mechanic. The difference is that the skills you may have been exposed to and learned make you more skilled.

Expressing feelings, in sexual addiction recovery, is very important for several reasons. Some are mentioned below.

1. In your acting out days, if you had a feeling, you probably would not know what it was. But if you masturbated or acted out in some way, the feeling would go away. In this process, you may not have learned to identify feelings and hence could not meet your own real needs.

2. In early recovery between the third to sixth week of abstinence from your acting out behaviors, (including masturbation for most sex addicts) you may begin to start recognizing feelings. This feels almost like a thawing out of emotions. It is best to have already begun to identify your feelings so that they don’t confuse or overwhelm you and activate the cycle (feel –> act out –> feeling disappears). In recovery, you get to feel without acting out.

3. If you can identify your feelings, you may better know how to handle or manage these feelings so as to prevent relapses.

4. If a cycle or relapse occurs, you may be able to track down what emotion(s) preceded this and move forward in your recovery.

5. Mastering your feelings can allow more intimacy into your life.

In the first month or so of your recovery, the feelings identification exercise may be one of the harder exercises in this book. The discipline you put into this exercise will have lifelong benefits in every area of your life including relationships, parenting, work, recovery, spirituality, and your social life. It may also save you from financial mistakes because your intuition will become more active in your decision making process.

The feelings exercise is simple. Fill in the blanks. An example is given below.

1. I feel (feeling word) when ______________________. (present tense)

2. I first remember feeling (same feeling word) when _________________. (past tense)

EXAMPLE:

1. I feel Calm when I am on the lake in a boat with a friend.

2. I first remember feeling calm when I was 10 years old, I had my own bedroom where I played with a race car set.

The goal here is to have experiences. In computer terms, an addict has an emotional database, but this database has no file names so you can’t access the files nor can you utilize this data. This exercise, if you do two or more feelings exercises daily for a month to six weeks, will make your road in recovery a lot smoother. Those who do this in their recovery development early, never regret it later. Those who don’t do this exercise, always regret it. So, I strongly encourage you to take the time to do this exercise today and for the next several weeks.

A list of feelings that you can utilize for your feeling exercises is located in the book 101 Practical Exercises. The list is in alphabetical order. You can pick out your feelings randomly in any manner you choose.

When sharing your feelings, it is important to maintain eye contact with the person you are sharing them with. This eye contact, may feel uncomfortable at first, but will eventually become comfortable to you. This is part of the benefit of this exercise.

Excerpts From: Steps of Hope: A Twelve Step Guide for Sex Addiction Recovery by Weiss  e-Book It!  (Available through Heart to Heart Counseling Center, $14.95)

 STEP TWO “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

SANITY

List the behavior and attitudes which became insane during your sexual addiction that you would like your greater Power to restore.

1.____________________________________

2.____________________________________

3.____________________________________

4.____________________________________

5.____________________________________

6.____________________________________

7.____________________________________

8.____________________________________

How will you know when these attitudes or behaviors are restored?

1.____________________________________

2.____________________________________

3.____________________________________

4.____________________________________

5.____________________________________

6.____________________________________

7.____________________________________

8.____________________________________

In your own words, write what you believe to be the principle(s) of Step Two.

______________________________________

______________________________________

On a scale from 1-10, rate yourself on Step Two. 1.    2.     3.     4.     5.     6.     7.     8.     9.     10.

Why? ___________________________________

________________________________________

Research Update

“This study surveyed 248 counselors…A combination of individual and group therapy was most often suggested. Strategies most often recommended for treatment of sexual addiction included cognitive restructuring, defining behavioral boundaries, empathy, positive self talk, and recognizing and avoiding high-risk situations.”  Swisher, Sally (1995) Therapeutic Interventions recommended for treatment of Sexual Addiction/Compulsivity. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity the Journal of Treatment and Prevention 2(1) 31.

Practical Exercises and Step Talk

Excerpts From: 101 Practical Exercises for Sexual Addiction Recovery by Weiss e-Book It! (Available through Heart to Heart Counseling Center $39.95)

EXERCISE # 33 USING CHECK IN TIMES

Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, in the sex addiction recovery movement, there are several different groups you can attend. These 12 step support groups vary slightly in name and in practice. To make it more complicated, these groups are even a little different from each other from state to state.

The “check in” time is one thing that is common in most all twelve step meetings. The check in time is usually held at the end of the meeting. Those who wish to utilize check in time break off into groups of 2 or 3 people. This is where you get “current” or honest about how you are really doing.

If there have been fantasies or behaviors that you have been involved in with your sex addiction, this is the time that you would get honest about it. Check ins have helped many addicts keep from going back into acting out behaviors. This level of honesty can only get and keep you closer to your goal of recovery. If your group does not employ a check in time, you can start this with one other person so you can gain the benefit of this exercise. In the early part of your recovery, check in at every meeting you go to. This will save you some struggles with your addiction and make your recovery go much smoother.

Excerpts From: Steps of Hope: A Twelve Step Guide for Sex Addiction Recovery by Weiss e-Book It! (Available through Heart to Heart Counseling Center, $14.95)

STEP TWO “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

RESTORE

In what way would your greater Power have to restore you in the following areas of your life?

Relationship to yourself:_________________________________________________________________

Your Future:___________________________________________________________________________

Marriage/Significant Relationship:_________________________________________________________

 

By Douglas Weiss