Keith Ablow has written a great book about our tendency to minimize, deny, or otherwise try to hide from the pain of our past. It’s a great book for people in recovery, because it encourages people to face the reality of their pain, and therefore to heal from it. Many people get stuck in their recovery, continuing patterns of relapse, because they haven’t dealt with the soul wounds that drive their addiction. In early life, they turned to sex or chemicals or food to help them cope with their pain … and in adulthood, when those old wounds get triggered, they reach for the old solutions.
The book is so good that I’m going to include some quotes here. He opens the book with the following:
“The origins of delf-deception run deep inside us. Continue reading Living the Truth
People respond to an addictive substance or behavior because it improves their sense of well-being for a short time. But over time the addiction helps less and less on each occasion of acting out, and one’s overall sense of well-being deteriorates. The forecast for well-being for an addict is always bad. Eventually the peak of a person’s “high” is a worse state of being than when they started the addiction, and the high only staves off the negative effects of withdrawal. David C. Bissette has created the following charts, that illustrate the sense of well-being on the divergent paths of progressive addiction and recovery. Check out this chart: Continue reading Addiction and recovery over time
The topic that generates the most discussion – and anxiety – in our workshops is that of disclosure. Sex addicts who are in relationships need to come clean with their partners, but they are afraid that doing so will cost them the relationship. Knowing this, many addicts disclose the truth of their activities to their partners in stages. We call this “the installment plan” of disclosure, and it’s an exceedingly bad idea. Many wives I talk to are frustrated and confused because their husbands had used the “installment plan,” and they worry that they still don’t have the full story. “I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop,” they say. “I always wonder if there’s something more that he’s been holding back from me.”
Continue reading Disclosure of extra-marital sexual activity to spouses
There is a fine line between being a kind, giving person, and being codependent. We used to think that codependents existed only in conjunction with someone else’s addiction – but it is now understood as a problem in its own right. Also note that most sex addicts are also codependent themselves! Continue reading Top 10 signs you are codependent
I love the role of recovery coach. Recovery coaching works over the phone, so it’s available for people literally all over the world. It works in conjunction with – not in competition with – therapy, recovery groups, workshops, and in-patient treatment. In fact, I beleive it should be required as part of the aftercare for workshop attendees and in-patient treatment centers. The experience of “re-entry” from the intensive, supportive, and relatively artificial environments of workshops and treatment centers is jarring and unsettling. Rates of relapse can be drastically reduced if people have access to expert coaching to help them navigate the transitions and shifts required for successful recovery.Â Â Continue reading Recovery Coaching is an important approach in addiction treatment
Just ran across a great article in the New Scientist online journal. It talks about current research being done on the “soft addictions” (addiction to behaviors, such as gambling or sex, as opposed to chemicals). It’s a great article, and I’m going to quote it at length here, and offer some of my own commentary.
Several studies of the brain and behaviour back the idea that there’s very little biological difference between what goes on in the head of a gambling addict and that of a crack addict. A growing number of researchers believe that the same processes lie behind all addictions, behavioural or chemical, whether it’s gambling or shopping, computer gaming, love, work, exercise, pornography, eating or sex. Continue reading Why your brain is primed for addiction